Southern Spices

May 9, 2017


So this setup took place while I was on a short break in my hometown of Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Chennai is known for its IT industry, brainy folk and, actor and demigod Rajnikanth.


Footnote aside, these pictures were taken on a particularly humid day with the heat bearing down on all of us at home at varying degrees. Having locked ourselves into the aircon rooms and me having endured this schedule for 5 days, I was ready to get out and do something outside of a temperature controlled enclosure.


Assembling the props was an easy task. The spice rack was located on a shelf above the kitchen sink. The only hurdle was the fiery commute between the two rooms where the spices and other kitchen items were kept, and the living room which was the designated shoot area. The light that made its way through the gaps in the floor length living room curtains was blinding as well as breathtaking and I wished I had other interesting items to photograph. But at midday and with Chennai’s infamous humidity in full swing, going outside to find things to shoot was out of the question.


Anyway the spice jars weren’t particularly impressive and came with some rather oversized bulb-like wooden caps so I decided to shoot without them. I emptied the jars of the existing spices to go with more color coordinated items. Shanti, our local help brought me cardamom, cloves, cinnamon leaves etc. to go in the now washed and polish-dried jars .


The glass panel base came off the wooden living room side table and formed the backdrop for the spices to be displayed. And a couple of Fab India bought wooden spoons were added to the composition to break up the monotony of the plain and rather boring spice jars.


From here on it was simply trying out different compositions at what could be considered an advanced level of difficulty since I lacked a tripod. This pretty much equalled me balancing on my toes/heels/knees while clicking - (some could have been intermediate level yoga poses I could have sworn) I also had to make a mental note of the frame, make minor adjustments to achieve the look I was going for and as well as randomly moving the props around round to get the result I liked.


To sum up the high ISO has given it the grainy, rustic feel that I’m happy with and the diffused light had brought out the colors of the spices with an intensity that you cannot replicate in artificial light.





ISO 4000





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