Atelier Crenn gallery added

Atelier Crenn

I posted photos from Jon’s and my fifth anniversary dinner today in the Atelier Crenn gallery!  The restaurant, located in the Marina district of San Francisco, is owned and run by Chef Dominique Crenn.  Her tasting menu is a poem, where each line of the poem represents a different course.  The food was delicious and uniquely presented, sometimes disguised as things one might find in the forest.  Atelier Crenn earned two Michelin stars in the 2013 Bay Area Michelin Guide.

This was my second time shooting in a restaurant with my new, full-frame D600.  The ability to shoot in low light on the D600 was really tested this time.  It was dark!  Exposures were nowhere near ideal at f/1.8, around 1/30th, and ISO 6400.  I think this might be the darkest restaurant I’d ever tried to shoot in!  That said, I felt the D600’s focus was accurate and the ISO 6400 images cleaned up nicely in Lightroom.  So far, this full-frame camera upgrade is working out well!

The first time I used my D600 in a restaurant, at Cyrus, I used the 24mm f/1.4 which I’d come to love as a food lens on my D300s.  While the 24mm wide-angle was great for restaurant interior shots, it was a bit wide for close-ups of food.  This time I thought I’d try the 50mm f/1.8 which would be a closer field of view to the 35mm f/1.8 I’d used on a crop sensor for so many years.  The 50mm focal length worked fine, but it’s just a little awkward in a restaurant given that the minimum focal distance is just under 18”.  Sitting close to the table, I find I have to lean back or push food away from me at the table.  It’s just not ideal.

So I’m in a situation where I don’t think I have a great restaurant food lens for a full-frame sensor.  35mm seems like it’d be a great focal length.  Unfortunately the Nikon 35mm f/1.4 is $1800 and honestly, I don’t want that wide of an aperture for food most of the time.  Nikon has an older 35mm f/2, but it’s just not as sharp as their newer lenses, and I don’t want to buy something that old at this point.  The f/2 aperture is headed in the right direction though, making the lens lighter, smaller, and cheaper than an f/1.4 version while still plenty bright.  Canon actually has what I think would be a perfect food lens: a 35mm f/2 with vibration reduction.  The VR would be much appreciated in dark restaurants allowing me to have slightly longer shutter speeds and not only rely on large apertures and high ISOs to get a proper exposure.  If Nikon makes one of these it’d go to the top of my wish list right away!  Something like this doesn’t seem completely out of the question either.  Nikon has new f/1.8 versions of their popular f/1.4 primes in each focal length except 35mm.  It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw a new 35mm soon.  The big questions are what would be the maximum aperture (somewhere between f/1.8-f/2.8) and whether or not the lens would have VR.

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  1. Benjamin Nwaneampeh says:

    Jason…these are really good. The exposure of the images is spot on. very good composition. Your food photography is really good. Love it. Well done 🙂

    1. Jason says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Benjamin!

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