Jasper’s Happy Hour, Sangrias and the XZ-1

Three House Made Sangrias, Jasper's - Austin, Texas

Three House Made Sangrias, Jasper’s – Austin, Texas

I’m carrying around my Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot, more often these days. My main goal, to capture life. While I use my mirrorless Pens as a lightweight alternative to DSLRs during my photo oriented events, I don’t carry those cameras everyday. I find the XZ-1 a bit smaller and with the zoom lens, more versatile than my usual prime lens setup on the Olympus E-PM2.

On a recent Friday afternoon, a group of us decided to go to Happy Hour at Jasper’s, an upscale restaurant serving down home food. It’s been an unusually comfortable Austin spring and we sat outside — details captured courtesy of my XZ-1. Of course people do this kind of photography all the time with their smartphones. But, I’m sure you can tell that there is a noticeable quality difference. These photos are nice enough that I don’t have “pretty them up” with trendy insta-filter effects.

Happy Hour Pizza, Jasper's - Austin, Texas

Happy Hour Pizza, Jasper’s – Austin, Texas

Happy Hour Ribs, Jasper's - Austin, Texas

Happy Hour Ribs, Jasper’s – Austin, Texas

While I’ve casually shot food before, I’ve never liked the way they turned out. Ironically, I find doing urban landscapes in dark places easier than capturing food. I found out recently that part of the trick in food photography is to use a longer focal length. This has the effect of compressing the elements so that the different items on the plate don’t look too far apart from each other.

An Arial View of Sangria, Jasper's - Austin, Texas

An Arial View of Sangria, Jasper’s – Austin, Texas

I tend to shoot wide-angle primes so I wasn’t getting enough compression. The same goes for typical smartphones too. The XZ-1 has a zoom lens so I can now step back and zoom into the food. The pizza was shot at a 65mm equivalent and the ribs, 60mm. Of course, like all photography, good lighting is essential. Luckily, I was under a covered porch but also surrounded by bright, natural light.

Cute Dog at Happy Hour, Jasper's - Austin, Texas

Cute Dog at Happy Hour, Jasper’s – Austin, Texas

The Sangria was tasty and the dog was cute. As a bonus, I captured a decent view of the interior of Jasper’s on the way to the restroom. I locked the camera on ISO 100, braced it on a ledge and got a nice clean shot at 1/4 second. Not too bad for a point and shoot. Of course, I shot all my photos in RAW and did my post processing in Aperture 3.

Jasper's Interior - Austin, Texas

Jasper’s Interior – Austin, Texas

All photographs taken with my Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot.

Click on the photographs to see a larger image and hover over the photos to see the exposure detail. Multiply the focal length by 4.66 to get the 35mm equivalent

8 thoughts on “Jasper’s Happy Hour, Sangrias and the XZ-1

  1. Nice job. I’ve been using an LX5 for such things. But I recently purchased a NEX 5R and with the “pancake” 16-50 zoom it is a pretty small package. I am hoping it will be my “grab” camera … though I have to say the LX5 results are generally “good enough”. Hey, but I like experimenting!!

    Peter F.

  2. I’m not much for pictures of peoples’ food and drinks but these are nice shots for a point and shoot – certainly way, way better than smart phone Instagram shots. That Jasper’s Interior shot is exceptional. They should be buying that one from you for their web site.

  3. Andy, I like the shots. I use my LX 5, now LX 7, the same way for everyday shooting but I’m going to have try using your longer focal length trick the next time I shoot food.


  4. I just got this camera and I notice that I’m getting underexposed images. Is that your experience too? I just edit it on my computer but I was expecting it to be bright and sharp straight from the camera. =(

    1. codesarah, I added about 1/3 a stop of exposure compensation to brighten it a bit on most of these images. I won’t say it underexposes a lot but I do tend to increase the brightness more than I decrease it with this camera.

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