Fall is here. With the new season comes a variety of new foods. Let’s take a look at the Butternut Squash. I love squash roasted with butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Delicious. With squash season comes a problem though; shorter days. This means less time to shoot with natural light. Don’t worry, there is a solution though.
Here is another example of a diptych. The squash on the left is before roasting for an hour and 15minutes at 400F. The squash on the right is after roasting. Can you tell which was shot with window light and which was shot with a tungsten lamp? They look pretty similar, but if you look closely you can tell a difference. Look at the metal of the pan. Can you see that the one on the right is slightly lighter from top to bottom, and the image on the left has a bluish tint to it? These differences are caused by the different light sources and how they were set up.
When I shot the squash before cooking, there were full clouds in the sky.
Lets take a closer look at the squash using natural window light.
Notice the blue gray color of the slate and the metal dish. By the time the squash was done, it was too dark to shoot with natural light. The solution. Use an artificial light source! I decided to use a tungsten lamp. Here is a closer look of the finished squash with tungsten lighting.
Notice how the slate is now a whitish grey color and the metal pan has more white in it. Do you have an idea of why? Think about what is different between the two images.
Yes they have different light sources, but what makes the slate look different is the large white diffusion panel. With the panel located right next to the slate and pan, they reflect the white panel. While the slate and pan are not as reflective as a mirror, they still have reflective properties to them. In addition, the diffusion panel is being illuminated by the light source making the entire panel a light source! This gives us a very soft and diffused light source that the pan and slate will easily reflect.
Roasted Butternut Squash
1 medium sized Butternut Squash
4 tbsp butter(divided into 2 2 tbsp portions)
6 tbsp brown sugar(divided into 3 tbsp portion)
1 tsp cinnamon(divided into 2 1/2tsp portions)
dash of salt
Wash and thoroughly dry your squash. Cut the squash in half length wise. With a spoon, scoop out all the seeds and pulp leaving a smooth empty cavity in the bottom of the squash. In the empty cavity, place the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Repeat this process on the other half of the squash.
Place each squash portion in a baking dish. If your baking dish size and squash size allow, you may place both halves in the same dish.
Roast for an hour to an hour and 15minutes at 400 F. When a knife can very easily be inserted into the squash it is done. Remove from oven and let squash cool. Once cooled, dump the butter and sugar liquid into a large bowl. Scoop the cooked squash out of its skin and into the same bowl. Using a food mill or fork, mask the squash together.