For us, as soon as Christmas is over, the countdown starts to the arrival of the Spring Equinox.
The first months of the year are very long, indeed extremely long: we observe daily the little signs around us, every minute of light gained adds another beat to our hearts.
Here, spring arrives in small steps, it makes us wait and makes itself wanted and nature follows it slowly but surely in its gradual awakening.
Silent buds on the bare branches begin to form flower heads, tiny at first; you can just glimpse the green that softens the cold, bare branches of winter.
Light, beautiful and flooding light, that lengthens the days and allows us to take photographs even during the week.
Extended afternoons and clear air. Life, photographs and recipes are interwoven on our table; vegetables and fabulous fruit feed our imagination and our desire for something tasty but light comes to the fore.
When the first strawberries arrive on the market, we simply cannot say no; we buy them continuously, even just for their red colour, so vibrant and full of energy.
Usually, before eating them, we take a few pictures, we just can’t resist: we set up the tripod and choose carefully a set that will show them off best, which in our case is a white background, even if it is often not the easiest to manage.
Throughout the day, the sunlight changes a lot, taking on warm hues at dawn and dusk or dominant yellows indoors, dominant blues in the mid-afternoon and in the shade. Through this, a white piece of paper appears white to the human eye, even if it is not, at whatever hour of the day. The visual system recognises it as such and sees it as white, but the lens of a reflex camera doesn’t have this ‘memory’ and for this reason, it is important to tell the camera which are the dominant colours that it must exclude in order to to achieve the desired tone.
To be honest, the white balance can be done with a photo editing program in post-production but there are a few ways of preparing for it already, before clicking the shutter.
Sometimes you can simply use the automatic balance, which can be a good solution, though never perfect in any circumstances.
A ‘fast’ method of setting up the camera is to take a photo without ‘under or over exposing’ of an 18% grey balance board (available in any photography shop), then go to the camera menu, find the dedicated function and memorise the customised white colour.
If you don’t have grey balance board, you can take a picture of a white wall and set up the camera as explained above.
A different method that you can also use is to regulate the temperature in degrees Kelvin. Directly from the internal menu of your camera, you can select the temperature of the desired colour based on the light that you have at that moment.
Put simply, colour temperature has been defined on a Kelvin scale – light around 5000 k has no predominant colour, whereas from 3000 to 9000 k, the light spectrum will contain predominant colours that go from orange to blue. An increase in colour temperature creates a colder tone. Try out several shots using different parameters to find the right setting.
A must on our plates this season are white, green and even purple asparagus. We eat them all: thick ones, thin ones, bitter wild ones, we love them all.
We prepare them in all sorts of ways and we never get tired of eating them.
A few days ago, we tried them in a ‘spring roll’ recipe with broad beans, barley, saffron and sesame seeds. Amazing!
The purple ones, on the other hand, became the models for a photo shoot and, as prima donnas, they behaved impeccably.
When we take this sort of picture, we pay a lot of attention to the colour combinations, trying to achieve an overall pleasing result that also has the desired effect. This aspect is also important in our recipe preparation, almost as much as the flavour combination.
It’s well known that the eye has a leading role when it comes to food and, as good food bloggers, we just cannot do without.
Spring reawakens the senses, the desire to discover, to photograph, to create and to be amazed.
We were waiting for it and, once again, we weren’t disappointed!
Fico e Uva
About us: Sara: a mother juggling two little girls (Vittoria, five, full of spice, and Caterina, a year and a half of pure energy), home and work; a food addict who loves to write, to dream and to travel.
Paolo: dad and other half of the blog, keen photographer and budding sommelier.
Known as @ficoeuva, we’ve been blogging since 2008. At our house, there simply isn’t the time to get bored, but everything is done with a smile!!
In our daily lives we both work in a bank, but in our free time we love to cook, manage our blog and always discover new experiences.
A blog we like to describe as family-run, where everyone makes a contribution; Babette the dachshund included.