Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ice Cream Sundays - {avocado} - focus on photography week

Every year, I like to have a "focus on photography week" here in this space, and this is the week!  I wanted to incorporate the photography aspect into my regular Ice Cream Sundays, so here's a little behind-the-scenes look at one of my photoshoots.

First, the ice cream.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm going through David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop "Julie and Julia" style.  And the green ice creams are my equivalent to Julie Powell's aspics.  I'm a little afraid of them, to be honest, and have been putting them off.  But, my local grocery store was having a pretty good sale on avocados recently, so I had to jump on the chance to make avocado ice cream.  I was trying to get pumped up about it by reminding myself about the $1 per avocado.

One thing about this ice cream: it smells like avocado as soon as you open the container.  Some may find that off-putting.  Another thing to know is that it really tastes like avocados.  That may also be off-putting.  If you love avocados and enjoy them both savory and sweet, this is a great ice cream.  For me, I love avocados in guacamole and burritos, but I have a hard time getting excited about them as dessert.  Once, when I went through a raw-foods diet phase, I made chocolate pudding that was essentially avocados mushed up with cocoa.  Eating it was a real mind game: if you could fool yourself into believing it was chocolate pudding, it was pretty good.  If you happened to get a whiff of avocado, or remember what the pudding was made of,  it made you want to retch.  But I digress........

As for the photography, I wanted to try to capture the green color of the ice cream, since for me, that was its best feature.  I found a green-rimmed bowl and a green placemat that I thought might look good:

 Once my props were all set up, it was time to scoop the ice cream.  But this is a very hard ice cream, so I had to wait.  I figured I'd take a few shots while I was waiting:

After shooting for a few minutes, I realized that getting an accurate color was a challenge - the ice cream was looking too brown.  I switched lenses, angles and played with the white balance.  Out of all my initial shots, I liked this one the best.  This is probably the one that I would have posted on the blog:

In the book, there is a "perfect pairing" recipe for an Avocado Licuado con Leche milkshake.  I definitely wanted to try that to see if I could get some decent shots, and also to see if avocado ice cream could transform itself into something I would be excited about.

I liked the lighting here, but wasn't crazy about the napkin I had in the background (color-wise or wrinkle-wise).  I wanted to see if I liked it better with a different background:

I liked the rust color against the green, but I thought the shot was kind of boring (and still wrinkly).  To give it one last try, I tried a "perfect mess" shot, which, frankly, I can never seem to pull off.  With me, it's just mess!

Time to clean up and drink the milkshake, both a bit reluctantly:

A day or so after the photoshoot, I remembered that DD has a shirt that has the saying "Green is Cool" on it.  I thought this might be a neat thing to incorporate into the avocado ice cream shots, so I set out to do another photoshoot.  For no other reason than I liked the milkshake more than the ice cream, I made another milkshake for shooting.  Then, I added a re-usable straw (vs. putting another lime in it), had DD put on the shirt and we headed outside.  First, a shot of the shake only:

I like the green grass with the green shake and the out-of-focus straw.  Next, to try to get a good shot with the shirt.  It's much more difficult with little models because they don't always hold still where you set them.  DD complained that her hand was getting cold.  And her shirt was being uncooperative (can you tell that not much ironing happens around here?):

I offered the milkshake to DD for her hard work, but she declined!


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