Quest for the Perfect Dunk…

If you are looking for basketball pointers, you will have to look elsewhere…  I’m afraid you are reading the wrong blog!  My quest for the perfect dunk involves milk and cookies (well, blondies).

In my post yesterday, I touched briefly on my respect for professional photographers, food photographers in particular.  I have always enjoyed photography.  I come by it honestly…  My dad has always had a strong interest in photography, and it has rubbed off on me. When I took a photography class in high school, he let me use his SLR (no, not D-SLR, we used film back in those days) and helped me ace the course. At the time I was considering a major in English or Journalism.  If you know me at all, you know that I wound up with a double major in Math and Computer Science (hold the nerd/geek jokes, please).  The funny thing is, while I work in IT, my current job primarily involves writing. That has nothing to do with photography, though.

The point is, as I started my food blog in January, I had no idea how much I would rediscover my interest in photography.  The more I write and shoot food photos, the more I love it.  Many mornings I can be found in our sunroom, with the new white parchment-like blinds pulled (diffused light… it works), conducting a “photo shoot” before I start working for the day.  While I do think that my photos have greatly improved from when I started in January, I still have a lot to learn.  I am always impressed when I look at the photos that other bloggers and food photographers take.  There’s some seriously amazing stuff out there!

I would love to learn more about photography, and I would like to look into taking some classes (after all, I need to learn what all of the settings on my D-SLR do). In the meantime, I just go with trial and error, trying to learn from my mistakes along the way.  My AM photo shoot for my Peanut Butter Blondies recipe was a perfect example of the trial and error approach. I started out alone, trying to get a dunk picture using a tripod and the auto-timer on my camera.  It didn’t go so well, but I rewarded my efforts with cookies and milk for breakfast. I waited until lunchtime, and then I recruited my hubby to be the dunker so that I could focus on the picture taking.

At first, I instructed him to simply hold the cookie and dunk it in the milk. I used the continuous shooting setting on my camera to take multiple pictures of each dunk.  The dunking method, however, wasn’t producing the splash that I wanted.

After my disappointment with the lack of splash while dunking the cookie, it occurred to me that dropping the cookie into the glass might produce slightly better results.  So, I instructed my husband to simply drop the cookie into the glass. He gave me an unsure look, and I’m pretty sure he was thinking, “Are you out of your mind, wife?”  After all, I am a clean freak and would normally frown upon such antics.  After I reassured him that it would be OK, “all for the sake of the perfect dunk photo,” we gave it a try.  The results were better, but still not quite what I was going for. So, we decided to attempt the cookie drop one last time, from a slightly higher altitude…

The higher starting point of the cookie allowed it to pick up more speed on the way down, providing more momentum, and therefore displacing much more milk from the glass (simple physics…  I said I was a math major, right?).  In simpler terms… the perfect dunk (or, drop)! It was so much fun, I didn’t even mind cleaning up all of the milk on the table (and the wall, and the chairs, and the floor).

23 Responses to Quest for the Perfect Dunk…

  1. You take wonderful pics. Just keep playing around with taking photos. You’ll eventually find the right moment when you get your perfect shot. ;-)

  2. When I first read your post title, I was about to volunteer in your quest for the perfect drunk….lol

    I really enjoyed this post Jen. It helps the rest of us who are such lousy photographers see that those of you who are gifted actually do struggle sometimes too. And… what fun with all that milk splashing!

  3. Haha, what a cute post… I love to dunk my oreo cookies, but haven’t done so in a loooong time (only because Oreos aren’t so healthy for ya). Bummer! BTW, your final dunk picture looks like a masterpiece!

  4. Your second-to-last picture is just fantastic!
    I, too, am a techy (so says my degree and job title) but so much more enjoy the baking/cooking and food photography.

    Great post – glad to find your blog :)

  5. I LOVE this entry! I love the photo part myself. but unfortunately I don’t have enough natural light (and my camera and best lens just recently broke. – has been hell for me!), so I use artificial light, and I hate the results, probably because I don’t use it properly.

    With that said, I think all the dunking photos came out perfect..clear..sharp, color just right etc. Love the milk explosion and definitely LOVE the peanut butter blondies! However, I’m not a dunker, as I need the ‘bite’ – so that’s one kind of photo you’ll never see on my blog LOL

  6. I also started my blog this past January and re-discovered my love of photography. I’m a big fan of the trial by error method, which drives my photographer husband up the wall. It may be the single time in our relationship that I just want to figure it out and he wants me to read directions…

  7. This is too funny. I always wanted to try getting that perfect milk dunking shot, or the water droplet shot. Maybe today’s the day I will…I just got a macro lens so I want to play around with that.
    But on a smaller scale than yours. I’m a clean freak too and don’t want to clean up the kind of mess I’d make! :P

  8. Your photos turned out really well. I am impressed with your ambition–a photo shoot before you leave for work in the am–that’s dedication!