If i were to hazard a guess I think you`ll all know pretty well by now that i`m quite a big fan of Chef Simon Rogan and his Lenclume restaurant in the Cumbrian village of Cartmel. I suppose i can even manage to call it my “local” seeing as though it`s only an hours drive away . Going from strength to strength in its 10th year of the business and currently standing at 10/10 in the Good food guide 2013 , 5 Rosettes in the AA guidebook Lenclume is finally getting the recognition it deserves with Michelin awarding the restaurant 2 stars in the 2013 guide.
During this visit i also finally managed to get a tour of the gardens off Chef Dan Cox. I was so impressed with the produce available at the moment throughout the gardens.It`s pretty cold up north in October and after a horrendous summer of constant rain i was pleasantly surprised at the amount and quality of herbs , flowers and vegetables in full bloom and fruit….it really is one hell of an operation going on there. They`re even doing research on chicken breeds and the correct diets just to get the perfect Egg yolk for one of their dishes. The whole Rogan operation is all coming together and boy is it looking great.
So i`m sure i`ve said almost all that i can say on the Lenclume food on my previous posts , everyone knows what i think of Rogans food so i`ll do something different this time…. Hows about – The trials and torment over my camera choice for food blogging ?
Over the past couple of years I`ve lost count of cameras and lenses that ive purchased for my geeky hobby of taking food related photographs , and obviously from the amount ive bought i still haven`t found the right one yet…or have i ?
My Panasonic Lumix LX5 has been my trusty pocket camera of choice over the last year or so and that`s been used for both my website photographs HERE and my Cumbriafoodie blog. This camera is currently running around £150 , an amazing bargain that wont break the bank. The new Panasonic Lumix LX7 has just been launched so i`ve gone out and bought one of those to use for my food blogging from now on….the quality is totally amazing as it`s fitted with Leica glass – it`s pin sharp. The LX7 is currently running at £330….Just go out and buy one , they`re amazing wee things. Tomatoes below were taken with the Lumix….point n shoot on food setting.
As for SLR`s , well I`ve also been struggling quite badly finding something i`m comfortable with . I tried a Canon 7D and a few different lenses but it wasn`t anywhere close to the Lumix LX5 for quality close ups so that one`s heading on holiday to ebay. In the last few months Nikon have launched an amazing new camera , The Nikon D800 and at 36 MP it processes images the size of a house end….if you need them that size. The D800 ( body only ) has now come down in price and is available for less than £2k on Amazon. Obviously you`ll need quality lenses to go with the camera so i`ve ended up buying a 24-70 Macro , a standard 50mm and a 105 Macro….and that`s my lot….No more purchases. Oh and i really must learn how to use this camera. It`s very technical and definitely not a little discreet point n shoot either. As for quality , well it`s tip top and the best of the best….If it`s used properly. Unfortunately so far my little Lumix is wiping the floor with the Nikon in terms of sheer quality close ups….so think carefully before you purchase…Does anyone need to spend over £300 when it takes photos like the ones below ? Fair enough for anything larger than internet or A3 / A4 quality then you`re going to need the higher resolution and quality lenses but for food blogging and general shooting then you just dont need to spend silly money on a camera.
The Panasonic Lumix LX7 ( Macro setting , Food setting )
The Nikon D800 ( Sigma 105mm Macro , spot focus, spot meter , sharpened )
Oyster Pebbles and a straight comparison between the Nikon, top and Lumix below.
Here`s a little look inside the pebble , Fresh Granny smith apple cubes in an Oyster cream. ( Lumix on Macro mode and food setting )…and yes , the camera actually does have a setting for food photography.
Butternut and Fresh Curds – First photo taken with the Nikon D800 , Second with the Lumix , ( note the loss of white highlight detail in the Lumix shot )
Smoked Eel with Ham fat. Nikon top , lumix below.
Squid and Chicken , Parfait , crispy chicken skin and Squid ink wafer..( Lumix )
Crispy Potato , Coddled Eggs, Nikon top , lumix below.
Cod `Yolk` , Sage cream , Radish , Salt and Vinegar. Nikon top , lumix below.
Westcombe Dumplings , Beetroot and Watercress. The first photo is what it looked like straight out of the Nikon with no editing. The second shot is a crop of the first and then photoshopped to bring out the beautiful colours.I really love this photo and probably my favourite of the session. The last shot was taken with the Lumix…quality close up on macro food setting.
Valley Venison , Charcoal oil , Mustard and Fennel. Nikon top , lumix below.
Grilled Prawns and Carrots , Broccoli Tops and Puffed Barley. First shot Nikon , second and third Lumix.
Jerusalem Artichoke , Lovage , English Truffles , Ragstone – Nikon , then Lumix.
Heritage Tomatoes in Rosehip , Smoked Marrow and Borage. Nikon then Lumix.
Plaice with sea asters , Mussels and Leeks. – Nikon then Lumix.
Reg`s Duck breast and Duck Sweetbreads , Turnip , Sweetcorn and Damson. – Very similar shots , Nikon first then Lumix below.
Chestnut cream , Apple , Woodruff. – Nikon then Lumix.
Blackberry with Plum , Malt and Stout. – Nikon , then Lumix.
Celery , Pear , Sweet Brackens. – Nikon then Lumix.
As always , All of the photos can be viewed HERE on my Flickr page.