Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oscar and Cooper

When I first saw that Oscar and Cooper had followed me on twitter, even before they were open, I was quite keen to check them out. Why? 

They've got a cute little bulldog on their logo! I'm a sucker for dogs. Any reason will do right? 

Brad and I quite like brunching around Prahran on the weekend. It's not usually too hard to find a park, and there's always a liveliness to the area that I like. I suppose it's also my old stomping grounds since I used to go to the Swinburne Prahran campus on the corner of High Street and Chapel Street. I used to wonder past Greville Street a couple of times a week to get to uni, so it will therefore always have a soft spot in my heart and I still love it, even as it changes and evolves, which it has been doing quite a bit this past year especially.

Prior to it's current reincarnation, I remember this corner shop being brightly covered in graffiti, with tigers or something. That's kinda hip and stuff after all right?

But now with Oscar and Cooper in residence (kind of sounds like a cop show or something doesn't it?), it's done a complete turn around and covered all that up with some fresh black paint. Inside, with it's bare brick walls, spurts of greenery and slick white tabletops, it's just…so Prahran. So Prahran. 

Our visit to Oscar and Cooper was a while ago, so my memories of the food have faded a bit, but I do remember leaving with smiles and a lightness to my step, which I assume means I enjoyed myself.

Latte for Brad (naturally).

Delicious soy chai lattes, with beautifully textured milk, I think I might have had two because I liked them so much, and regretted it later when I ended up being very very full. Oops.

I can never decide whether I love or hate a menu that makes me want to try everything. I'm fickle enough as is already!

Brad went with the Oscar's benedict, on potato roesti, poached eggs, berkshire bacon, smashed avocado and hollandaise. Um. Yum?! And yum it was! 

Perfectly cooked eggs (cue egg porn), crispy and crunchy roesti and well…it's heaven. I loved the addition of avocado, slightly different. 

For me, it was the baked eggs with spicy tomato sauce, house baked beans, mushrooms, corn and manchego cheese that stole my heart. Corn, mushrooms, two of my favourite breakfast veggies! At Oscar and Cooper, their baked eggs had that nice equilibrium between being over cooked and too saucy, it was really just right and I would totally be back for these eggs. 

Overall, I love this new addition to Greville Street (although this is just based off one visit) and am looking forward to coming back and trying out more. I'm kinda wondering how I didn't try the corn fritters last time...

Oscar and Cooper
160 Greville Street

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Hungree Photography - Thoughts on Composition

Ah, I am terrible aren't I? After posting my last post on photography, which was in April this year, I had all intents on doing more photography posts…but then you keep eating out…and then you get caught in the undertow of a backlog of posts to get up. Then there's that life thing. 

But I shouldn't be making excuses! 

In my last photography related post, one question did come up about something I touched on very briefly, which I thought I might elaborate on a little more. What is the rule of thirds? Which I have decided to expand on, and talk about composition in general. 

(I loved shooting this concept but wish I had more sequins still...MOAR!)

A year or two ago, I did some portrait photography sessions, both as a model and a photographer and it was always interesting to see what photos people ended up with of the same subject, and how some stood out to me as being 'better' shots, even though the setup for the most part was the same. Of course 'better' is all pretty subjective, but hear me out here.

Whilst many elements are involved in making a good picture (light, colour etc.), one of my focuses is on composition. Composition is basically how you frame or arrange the subject of your image in the photo, ideally, this would be to make your photo look as appealing as possible to most people's eyes. Now I don't know all the science and why the magic grid I will discuss later works and stuff…but it just works. Y'know? And it's not just for food photography, or even just photography, but for all things that need to look visually pleasing.

I think for me, I've spent a lot of my life immersing myself in visual graphic stuff (as I've always just kind of assumed I'm not so academically gifted), so drawing, communication and multimedia design, and as such composition comes to me quite naturally. Some people will have a knack for it, but some will need to consciously take the time to practice until it becomes so natural. It's like driving, you don't have to think about how you drive a car, you just do it kind of subconsciously. 

So here a couple of points I would give if someone were to ask me for some tips. As I've always said, I'm no expert and I'm always personally trying to improve and feel like my photos tend to get a bit same same since I'm so comfortable in my formulas, but it's better to share than not right? 

I'll try to relate a couple of tips more specifically to food photos as well, although it really can be applied to anything, and I've tried to gather all sorts of pictures to demonstrate my points...although admittedly, it was kind of hard to look for or make 'bad' examples as I feel like I'm so naturally concious of it. Or maybe I'm just really not that modest. Or something. Y'know.


What is the rule of thirds? 

It's pretty simple.

Imagine a grid like the one on the image above, on your viewfinder or image, so that you have a 3x3 grid. Where the lines cross, should be where the feature or focal point of your photograph is, or at the very least, it should be sitting along one of the lines. As I said, I don't know exactly the science behind it, but it creates a more pleasant tension in the photo for the eye to follow. As a bit of an artsy fartsy person, I feel like it gives the photo more room to breathe, when a photo is dead centre, it often feels like it has nowhere to go and feels a bit stuffy. Of course there are exceptions to the rule and there are many beautiful shots which are dead centre, but the rule of thirds almost never fails when used. Or as far as I know...

Here's me attempting to make a bad example for you. Not the best example, but in the first shot, the bite in the burrito is centered. It's awkward. To me anyway. It wouldn't be sitting on any of the lines in the grid.  And I know to most of you, you're thinking "But you should put the whole burrito in the image!", but believe me, I've seen some people, that when shooting, are so focussed on one aspect that they tend to forget everything else in the photo. Boggles my mind.

But anyway, move the bite mark over a little bit...and there we go! Much easier to look at and more engaging with the viewer...and guess what, if I drew a grid on that, you'd find it be on one of the rule of third lines!

Again, not the best example and for some people, the top image may look better, but for me, I don't know which snail shell to look at. In the second picture, I'm immediately drawn to the one at the very front, since it's right in the intersection of two of the lines.


Well okay, don't take my advice then! No one asked you to! I know you don't love me! ;____; 

Ahem. If you do want a photo where you're shooting the object right in the middle of the frame, I'd suggest playing up symmetry. It generally keeps the photo a lot neater and easier for the eye to follow and offers less distractions and interruptions.


I tend to shoot wide, so I have the option to crop the image (especially since I shoot in RAW), and make my composition later. Got to love the options that post-processing give you. But even when I do shoot wide, I'm still watching where everything's placed!

(The above two photos did not come from the same picture. But I hope you get what I mean anyway though.)


I touched on this on the rule of thirds, but let the food in your image 'breathe'. I like, personally adore negative space, which is just empty space or background, usually above the dish or to the side, which isn't filled with things for the eye to look at, which means the eye is more drawn to the main subject. It just opens up the photo overall.

There are many ways you can let your image 'breathe', and again, it relates back to the rule of thirds. Put the plate, or protein on your plate on one of the lines, and it will almost instantly have breathing room and generally be a bit softer and easier to look at.

As you can see for portrait type shots, I tend to let the dish sit on the lower third line. To me, it just generally seems more luxurious and soothing on the eyes. We naturally read pages from top to bottom, so why not images? You may as well finish the image on a sexy looking note, rather than starting with something nice and ending with nothing, no?

But having said that, you may as well try it out anyway and see what you like! I'm just giving you guys my preferences.  My photos tend to use the same formula, but it's hard to go past something that's worked so well for so long right?


Once you've picked your focal point and found a nice spot for it, keep an eye out for flowing elements. When I'm eating out, this can be the cutlery, the sauce smear on a plate etc. You want it to all have a nice 'alignment' and if it can be aligned with the rule of thirds…even better!

I've developed a bit of a habit when shooting coffee cups, to make sure that the spoon is around the side of the cup, it gives it a nice angle rather than if it was behind the cup. (Refer to earlier coffee photo to see what I like...)


If you're using a DSLR and have a fondness for shallow apertures like me, don't get lazy with your focal point. Make sure that the point that is most focussed, is near an intersection of the grid of a third line. Otherwise it just has a tendency to look a bit messy. I love playing with this as it can change the mood of a photo completely!


I'm a fan of asymmetry in general. It's actually pretty easy to do this using the rule of thirds grid too. 

Try this little exercise first actually. If I tell you to make a frame with your fingers, like you're an artist sizing up your model, you (should) instinctively put your fingers something like this...

Ta-dah! Frame! Grid! Admittedly not the best photo (which I haven't managed to take with proper composition), but I hope you get what you mean.

So just do the same with your photos. Look for frames in the objects you're shooting.

See here? Asymmetry, the areas I want people to focus on are opposite each other diagonally!


Wait, but didn't I say earlier something about obeying the magic rule of thirds...rule? 

Well yah, this is true, but you're never going to learn unless you try taking lots of photos in lots of different ways. If you have lots of angles and framings of the same subject, then you can get an idea of what works and what doesn't work. If you only stick to following the rules, you won't really see the flipside right? And again, what makes a 'good' photo is incredibly subjective, so build up your own style over time. 

I could really keep going on and find more examples and attempt to awkwardly explain how I frame my shots, but you're probably bored of reading my hurry up grab your camera and go shoot!

Anything else photography related you think I should talk about? Would love to hear your ideas!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Canberra Human Brochure Snippet

I was invited to join the Human Brochure campaign by Porter Novelli PR. My trip was complimentary, like all the other humans.

Hey guys! You might have noticed over the past weekend that I might have been filling up your twitter feed with "#humanbrochure" tweets/instagrams, whatever you might follow me on. I'm trying to cover it all!

I've basically spent the last couple of days in Canberra, where I was invited to join the first ever "Human Brochure" campaign, which is a rather fascinating campaign that ACT Tourism is running. 500 people over two's pretty ambitious! 

But it's been an absolutely packed out weekend of amazing (and hilarious) people, beautiful settings, great food, amazingly awesome wine and I'm frankly quite exhausted. I don't think eating and drinking has ever worn me out so much! So hopefully I'll catch up sharing my experiences over the next week or two! 

In the meantime, if you are curious do check out the Human Brochure website and see what the other 250 humans got up to over the weekend as well! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Prospect Espresso + The Whoopie Pie Bakery

I don't think I will ever get Brad to help me decide where to go for breakfast. We'll wake up, get cleaned up and I'll then spend 5 minutes rushing through my wishlist on urbanspoon, opening 20 tabs of different cafes, sift through menus and eventually come back with two or three potential options for that day.

And all I get from Brad when I propose eating options to him is a bit of a shrug, an 'I don't mind', and a fiddle with the iPhone. Abuse from me on how unhelpful he is, followed by a spontaneous decision and we're out for breakfast. 

This really is our 'where should we eat out' ritual. How do you guys decide where you're going for a meal with a friend or the SO (significant other)? 

On this particular Sunday, our usual process brought us to Prospect Espresso, which has been open just over a month now. Although if you weren't a regular in the area, you would be forgiven for thinking the place had been open for much longer, with the cosy little space completely full of laughter, coffee and happy diners. And cute turquoise coffee cups and saucers. Loooove. Crazy crockery lady here.

In a very simple, bright and understated interior, with a cheerful splash of yellow (which I couldn't help but notice straight away), I was just charmed, I couldn't help but smile in here! Always helps to have good looking staff too, but y'knooooow.

I love a concise but delicious looking menu. Somedays it's hard to pick because of this fact, with so many good looking choices and some days where it's just easy when one thing just kinda leaps out, clings to your face and waits until you order it. 

Lovely dark, robust looking latte for Brad and a delightful, sweet but spicy, easy to drink soy chai for me. Gosh these are cute saucers.

This is our Sunday ritual that I am in love with. 

Baked eggs with tomato relish, mushrooms, brioche and goats cheese for Brad. Oh delightful. Not too particularly saucy, well seasoned and just tasty. I loved the addition of the mushrooms, which is a little less common, which provided a delightful earthiness. The brioche was also so crumbly. Oh lord that was sexy bread. 

But really, I think my dish wins in the cute department. Bubble & squeak with smoked salmon, a poached egg, hollandaise, a little bit of spinach. So minimalist and almost kind of sculptural, I didn't really want to eat it! But then if I didn't eat it, I wouldn't have enjoyed the perfectly foodporny egg with the delicious, fluffy and soft bubble & squeak. All elements on the plate accompanied each other well without anything being too overwhelming. Oh so tasty. 

Whilst I loved the food at Prospect Espresso, as it is delicious and really quite a high quality breakfast, I did find it a little bit on the pricier side, for the portion sizes. Our dishes were $15 and $16, and whilst it was enough for me, Brad was hungry a lot faster than usual after our brunches and made the comment that if he had had my dish he would have needed more. Maybe not the place if your man is feeling hangry!

But still, if you're looking for something that titillates the taste buds, a little breakfast indulgence, with good coffee and cheery service, definitely pop by Prospect Espresso. Personally, I'd be more than happy to come back and try out their other breakfast goodies. We all need a treat every now and again right?

And speaking of treats...on the way back to the car I popped into the Whoopie Pie Bakery, having read about it the night before and then parking super close to know, it's...destiny!

And so I picked 3 mini whoopie pies, chocolate and peanut, red velvet and crushed tim tams,  with the intention to share them when I got home...but naturally, I ended up stuffing them all down my pie hole. But why wouldn't I? I know zip about how whoopie pies should be like (and am happy to be educated!), but I loved how fluffy and moist the cakes were, and of course, how sinful the creamy filling was, without being overly sweet. It didn't fall apart in your mouth and made for surprisingly neat and easy bites. Red velvet was my favourite...but don't take my word for it. You'll just have to try it yourself!

We also might have bought 4 litres of ice-cream this particular day. Ah Camberwell.

2a Prospect Hill
Camberwell, VIC 3124

Prospect Espresso on Urbanspoon

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700 Burke Road
Camberwell, VIC 3124

The Whoopie Pie Bakery on Urbanspoon

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