Lighting Our True South African Spirit

Last week Tuesday smoke could be seen rising from our studio roof, swirling forcefully through the turbulent air. No, Flat Art Studios hadn’t installed a fireplace to fight off the winter chill nor invested in a wood fired oven, nor was the building on fire – we were having a midday braai – on our roof – in the raging wind.

Anke directs as Dawie shoots. Photo: JP Eybers

The windiest day Cape Town has had this season was perhaps not the ideal day for an idyllic braai but photographer Dawie Verwey and Food Editor Anke Roux were determined the Fresh Living September Heritage Day shoot was to go on. With pieces of ash dancing through the air above our heads and smoke permeating our hair and clothes we demonstrated true South African spirit by picking up the tongs, taking down the beers and firing up the flames.

The models: Caroline, Kirk and Drew relax off camera. Photo: JP Eybers

Our very own Kirk van Rooi donned a red body warmer and a huge smile and helped out as a male model on the shoot. Fresh Living’s Deputy Food Editor, Caroline Gardner was also there to join in the action. Anke was in charge of sourcing the models and as she describes, “in true magazine style we begged, borrowed and stole from friends and colleagues”. Despite almost being cooked over the flames that were pumped up for the shoot, the models had a great time. Anke did too, with her yelled instructions of “pretend we’ve won the World Cup or someone’s telling you a dirty joke; take a nice sip of beer, teeth I want to see teeth!”

Dawie mans the camera. Photo: JP Eybers

This was the first time we’ve ever used our studio’s roof as a location for a shoot and with its cityscape views and mountainous backdrop it made for a good choice. Being high up and quite exposed though, Dawie was faced with a number of challenges. “At midday the sun is direct and can be quite harsh, casting hard shadows so I had to be very careful with the placement and angles of the models and how they looked into the light, especially as the fierce wind meant we couldn’t use a scrim. Fortunately though in Winter the light isn’t as harsh and with studio flash units to fill in the shadows and correct angle use you can still create a nice affect,” he explains.

Dawie used a 35mm focal length on F1.4. “The Canon F1.4L is an amazingly sharp lens and at such a wide aperture you still get some background blur even though it’s a wide angle lens. This is the classic focal length for reportage shooting used by photojournalists since the beginning of the 35mm era. If you choose to shoot on aps-c size semos sensor, the equivalent focal length would be 24mm.

Photo: JP Eybers

In the end, we defeated the opposing weather conditions and the shoot and food turned out fantastic as always. Keep an eye out for this story coming out in the September issue of Fresh Living and check out our Facebook page for more behind the scenes pics!


About Flat Art Studios

We are a tight-knit group of photographers specializing in food photography in the Cape Town area.
This entry was posted in In and around the Studio, Shoots and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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