Late last summer I was contacted to be part of a dream project to shoot portraits of some of Ottawa's best chefs as part of the Shepherds of Good Hope fundraising calendar. The project was a load of fun and I learned an enormous amount from the experience, from scheduling shooting times with busy chefs, to creating a story out of a single image, to working as a commercial photographer for the first time. The first of my three shoots was with Chef Michael Radford.
Michael Radford entered school intending to become a marine biologist. But it wasn't until he began working in the kitchen that he realized his true calling to become the head chef of two (and soon a third location) of Ottawa's top oyster houses, The Elmdale Tavern and Whalesbone.
When I first met Michael, I learned about his past as a DJ and instantly knew that I wanted to combine his passions for music and food into the image. He brought his turntable and a selection of records to the shoot, and came up with the genius idea to shuck oysters on his records. To mimic the mood and look of a DJ spinning records on stage, I killed most of the ambient light, and lit Michael on either side with two bare speedlights, one gelled blue and the other gelled red. To add a touch of fill to his face, I used a 1/2 CTO gel on a third speedlight, and covered it with my Rogue 40 deg grid. The resulting shot is what you see above.
The calendar is an 18 month calendar, and as I mentioned above, the proceeds of all calendar sales go to a great local charity. Why not pick one up for yourself, you'll not only be helping yourself be more organized, but you'll also be supporting a great cause. You can get yours by clicking here, and while you're at it grab one for a friend.