Sunday Night Snack Shots Week 5: Pumpkin Salad

Sunday Night Snack Shots
Week 5: Pumpkin Salad


Last week we got down and dirty with four types of Jeon. This week, it’s a Halloween treat. Six months early.

The first edition of our Korean Cookbook, The Ubiquitous Kimchi, is on digital bookshelves now. Included are more than 50 recipes and 200 original photos not published here, there or anywhere. Make sure you try the bibimbap.

The Ubiquitous Kimchi @

Pumpkin Salad. 호박 샐러드

Makes 6 servings


– 24 ounces pumpkin flesh

– 1 small sweet potato, cubed

– 1 1/2 celery stalk, diced

– 1/2 green onion, chopped

– 1 medium carrot, diced

– 4 tbsp. mayonnaise

– 1/2 tbsp. sugar

– 1 tbsp. salt

– handful of raisins (don’t be shy!)

– 1 tbsp. almond flakes

– 1 ounce walnuts, chopped



1. Steam the pumpkin flesh and sweet potato in a rice cooker. Remove before the flesh becomes mushy.

2. Add the cooked flesh, mayonnaise, sugar and salt to a blender and blend. Keep it somewhat chunky.

3. Add the mix to a bowl and add celery, carrot, onion and raisins. 

4. Serve warm or chilled overnight. Garnish with almond flakes and walnuts.


Shooting Pumpkin Salad

Tools: SB-80DX (x2), SB-28, air impact light stands (x2), flash gel kit, Flashwaves Triggers, small softbox, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 micro lens, silver reflector

  The Christmas lights (and Christmas tree) have been sitting near the front door for a few months now, begging to be tossed into the street or put to good use. We got two birds stoned at once, here.

I started off by slapping the trusty black felt onto our white hallway wall. Gaffer’s tape is the key to life. Then I gelled the SB-28 and fired a few test frames – adjusting for wind and distance – until I had the colour and gradient I wanted. The one crummy thing about working with gels is that you need the strobes to be on low power (generally) to remain totally saturated. That means shooting with a large aperture which can reduce your DOF or a high ISO, which can introduce grain. There are a few ways around this, though, that we’ll talk about another time.


Building the light, step by step.

After the background we set about arranging our food and layering in the light; I could have used a c-stand for this one, but I made do with a small softbox. Not quit the same; the light would have been more dramatic from directly overhead in this shot, but we made do.

I wasn’t getting enough light to the food so I dropped in a second light on ultra low power and shot it through a reflective umbrella. Originally I had this done with grids and gobos but the light just wasn’t cooperating so we went with the larger sources. Finally we added a touch of foam core just out of the frame to bounce light and fill the unpleasant shadows.


Lastly, we dropped the background and hung the lights. The only thing missing was the x-mass sweaters. And pants. I never wear pants in the kitchen.



Flashtown: Sindorim Station

I had it in my head that action in the Seoul Strobist Club had been lacking. We hadn’t had a proper group shoot since September, the chatter was at an all time low and people’s cameras were hibernating along with them.

I had the bright idea to get out and do a workshop. At Sindorim Station. In December. On the coldest day of the year.

I’ve had better plans.

Despite my complaining (I did a lot of complaining) the day ran smoothly. We did a little beginner flash work as a crash refresher for some of the rusty folk who showed up before moving on to more advanced colder techniques up on the platform. I have to give our fantastic model Cassie a lot of credit here; she braved the cold like a trooper. I would have wound myself into a ball and cried in that cold.

Part 1: Headshots

Cassie Wells. All fun and games until we went outside.

We took the less is more approach with our portraits; a single softbox as key camera left and a reflective umbrella camera right throwing rim/hair light back on our model. Shot with a large aperture to blur the background and make life on the strobes a little easier.

Nick Plott. E-sports superstar.

Nick needed a few new headshots done, so I was happy to give him a hand. We didn’t get around to anything more creative than the plain background stuff this time ’round, but there’s always tomorrow. Simple 3-light set here; key in a softbox high left, reflective behind and to the right for rim, and a little bit of fill from a gold reflector from below. Simple Simon said the Pie Man.

We started simple. Headshots in the Colosseum department store. What we didn’t do was lock our cameras down at f/8, juice the flashes through white umbrellas and have our model stare into the camera. That’s Strobist 101 stuff. We went large aperture, dramatic lighting angles and worked on composing decent headshots when the background isn’t offering a whole lot of anything. The guys put together some nice stuff from what I saw, so drop by the Seoul Strobist Club and have a look see.

Part 2: Filling The Ambient Outdoors

We got silly and moved aboveground for part two of the workshop. We had some amazing light thanks to the setting sun between the westbound tracks and we used it to our advantage. We created a couple of drastically different looks using a single strobe each time; we went to the high key for a light, chilly look then came back with dramatic, darker light letting the sun act as a huge rim/wrap light for our model.

The power of the fill.

Same location, same model, same ambient light conditions. What changed from one to the other? The fill light. In the top frame we used a single diffused strobe, very close camera right, which allowed us to lower the ambient exposure to give the scene a dark, moody tone. In the second frame we went to the high key and used all that nice diffuse ambient bouncing off the buildings surrounding the station. And the reflector helped, of course. But it goes to show that sometimes simplicity is the key and you don’t need to roll out a half dozen lights to melt every frame.

We finished in the bitter cold trying to work out long exposure portraits, but the sun was working against us and it was just too chilly to wait for it to drop. Plus we wanted to get some galbi into our bellies. The whole day was a way to get everyone pumped about The Metro Project so I’ll be revisiting the long exposure train portrait in the weeks to come. After some time on the beach, of course.

This is not exactly what I had in mind when we started doing long-ish exposure shots with a train backdrop. So I’ll spare you the commentary here and just add this as a reminder of what could have been… I wear my shame on my sleeve.

– Flash