16/1/17 Butchery and Chefs

It was my Birthday last Monday. Happy Birthday to me etc etc. A major event on my calendar! Rather than spend the day sulking that I’m another year older (which someone once told me I’d done since I turned 30), I got out with camera in hand to Apley Farm shop in Shropshire to photograph a butchery course, featuring Bob, butcher extraordinare, three willing subjects and a predictably large amount of pork.

These courses are meat themed – lamb, pork and beef, so the theme was (you’ve guessed it) pork. And very interesting it was too, one thing I always go on about is how much you learn just standing behind a camera about the business you’re photographing. Bob and I have worked together setting up some great photos of the Apley Farm Shop products, he’s very creative which is a good combination, we have a good laugh while we’re producing some seriously good quality images so it’s something that I always look forward to when I know he’s going to be involved. Anyway, back to the evening! It really was quite fascinating watching a leg of pork being reduced to the right cuts. We had a conversation about the delicacies like cheeks that seem to be more popular in my native south (and tapas bars) than in the Midlands – surprising really, I first sampled pigs cheeks in a tapas bar in Newcastle and despite wrinkling my nose a bit at the thought of it, I was amazed at the taste and the texture, absolutely amazing.

So an hour passed by really quickly, I got some great shots without being too intrusive, enjoyed the very detailed tuition and also managed to nip over to the café and photograph the chef preparing a pork themed dinner as well, something I’ve meant to do for quite some time. Chefs are busy people, working to tight deadlines and they don’t like to stop for a photo when they’re in full flow, so it takes a bit of observation and understanding to get some good photos while trying not to be distracting.  Otherwise everything gets burnt and you have to make a hasty exit 🙂

By the way I don’t really sulk on my Birthday!


Bob (with the bow tie) giving some detailed instruction. Note the hacksaw – his advice was to always finish the job with a (sharp!) knife. Canon 5dMkIII, 24-70 2.8, off camera flash, balanced with ambient light.
Careful jointing of a leg. It was a lot bigger at the start! Canon 5dMkIII, 24-70 2.8, off camera flash balanced with ambient light.
Dan the chef, preparing a fantastic pork main course. Canon 5dMkIII, 24-70 2.8L, 1/160 @f5


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