Dinner at Larnach Castle

Dunedin’s heritage buildings offer me such fantastic shoot locations. This job came with its own: Larnach Castle. The roll-out of the new dinner menu for guests starts with a tasting session for the staff, so it was a good opportunity to for them to call me in to get some shots of the newly decorated dining room with some warm bodies for their marketing material.

Beautifully decorated as it was, I new I’d need to augment the light. Shooting without some extra flash would either mean long exposures with motion blur on anyone who breathed; wide aperture and narrow depth of field or unacceptably high ISO noise. Even at ISO 800, the ambient lighting called for f/3.2 and 1/8th of a second, which is why the hand held test shot above looks so blurry. I also wanted to push a little extra illumination into the corners. Bring on the light stands and umbrellas!

Adding my own light made the existing room lighting irrelevant, so I added a little spot to the mix, just to help the painting on the far wall pop again.  

Exposure and lights set, food served, conversation flowing, all I needed to do was employ my secret weapon for getting relaxed smiles from a dinner group and frame up to tell the story of a fine meal in fabulous surroundings. 

I was done in less than an hour. I kind of wish I’d taken more time. The desert looked divine.


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