Flying Hamburger

The classic “Flying Hamburger”… 
 I’ve been wanting to prefect this technique for quite some time and finally got it done. Not too bad for a first attempt.
Special thanks to Executive Chef Bruce Tisler for preparing & styling this Gourmet Hamburger right here in the studio at Photography & Video Productions with minimal kitchen facilities.
Nikon D800 camera through Nikkor 200mm macro F/4 Manual focus lens and custom built LED studio lighting. Post production compositing with Adobe Photoshop CC



Production Notes:

Two suspension methods were used, Glass & Wire rigs both had advantages and draw-backs.

Obviously liquid elements, like sauces can not be hung from wires. The glass seamed to be the best solution for this issue and required some extra work in post to remove reflections of each item staged this way. Perhaps by using polarization this could be minimized in future shoots. However, I did not wish to re-adjust my exposure to compensate for the light loss of using filtration during this test shoot.

I felt the wire rig needed to be able to articulate to chive as many different angles as possible during the shoot with minimal strike and reset time. The clamp solution configured at a 90º angle provided full rotation and tension control in the stage area. 

By bracing of the two C-stands at the top with a cross bar, it prevented the stands from changing their relative distance from each other during the shoot. This insured the wire staging area was more stable and maintained consistent tension. There was still significate bouncing of some items placed on the stage that took just a little time to dampen out and become still enough to shoot at longer shutter speeds. The system worked quite well and will be developed to include multiple layers in future shoots. 



Changing out the wire for glass was easily done by extending the clamps out from the C-Stands on each side with rigging hardware to accommodate the smaller size of the the Glass.    



All-in-all it went as good as could be expected and I believe this shoot was a great proof of concept test that will lead to using this technique in a verity of ways with numerous possibilities to add a fun illustrative quality to whatever the client may request. Again many thanks to Executive Chef Bruce Tisler for all the help and culinary advise.  


©2021 Eric James Swearingen



Lighting Effects Test

Normally I use Studio strobes when producing the majority of my food photography. However when a client needs Video the modeling lamps in my strobe lights are not quite bright enough to get the best results.


So all the light modifiers I would normally use to control those lights are unusable as well, making it quite a challenge to adapt the techniques to the LED system I am currently developing for video use.

Colour balance is critical to food imaging in order to accurately depict the items. I have selected 5000º Kelvin LED lights as the most practical base colour temperature calibration and this seems to work in most all locations, provided that there is not an over abundance of ambient light and matches the colour of sun light making it blend better when there are windows nearby to the shooting set up. Also this reduces production costs in that expensive specialized Bi-colour LED panels are not required. Standard off the shelf LED are far easier to acquire and modify plus a verity of beam widths are available making for even more light focus control.      

More experiments in lighting to come.

©2021 Eric James Swearingen



Project Pineapple

Get your popcorn ready…
The long awaited premiere of the Pineapple Project is finally here!
Over two months of continuous Time-Lapse Digital Cinema Filming went in to this 4K edit. All timelapse image acquisition was done using a GoPro Hero 4 Camera with Vivitar close-up filters. Lighting was achieved using off the shelf 5000º and color (Green & Blue) LED lamps. 
GoPro cameras will not focus on close objects under 24″ or so, but by using the Vivitar close-up filters, I was able to get in tight on the subject. 
The editing was done on my newly built  supercomputer in 4K resolution using Adobe Premiere Pro CC.   


Some behind the scenes images & production notes.

The project was shot in the greenhouse right behind my studio. Filming began on August 15th 2020 when I first noticed that the pineapple was producing a flower. I had recently been experimenting with a Hydroponic system and used the General Hydroponics® nutrients to help all my other plants and the pineapple to grow. 

 The Pineapple plant had been growing for many years and was originally started by cutting the top off of a store bought pineapple and water rooting it until it got established enough to plant into a 5 gallon container with good draining mulch & soil. 

The GoPro Hero 4 with C200 Aluminium case has a 37mm thread fitting over the lens and with a 37-58mm adapter, I was able to place the Vivitar 58mm Close-Up Filters on the camera to get the focus inside of the normal 24 inch range limitation. When stacking multiple filters, some vignetting occurred because of the super wide angle lens that is stock on the GoPro cameras. I was able to reduce this effect by resizing the raster in post production and zooming in just a bit with little degradation to image quality.

When I first began shooting, I realized that I would need lighting during the night to be able to maintain shooting 24 hour a day and keep a contiguous image stream for the edit. I quickly set up an LED light with a 5000º K color temperature to match my daylight exposures. Then to spice things up just a bit more, I introduced some color to the background by using two 15 Watt PAR38 LEDs of Blue & Green. This made the night portion of the shooting more visually interesting.  

After the first week of filming while checking my dailies, I notice that I had a real insect issue going on in the greenhouse during the night scenes. At first I was very annoyed. I wanted to keep things organic in there and not use pesticides, so I just went with it. The bugs began to add an element to the edit as things progressed they became supporting characters in the production.

It was amazing to see what new critters would show up each night of filming and then figure out how to best use them in the edit.

The project began to take shape after the first month of filming. I had chosen the music by Stingray called “The Nude Party” because I thought it had a really good surfer vibe and would be fun to edit to the beat, with  plenty of nice breaks for scene changes. 

Also, in my mind surfing and pineapple somehow go together.
As the project progressed,  I was able to plan out my next scene with the right cinematic dynamics trying desperately not to duplicate previous shots. Turns out there are only so many ways to shoot a pineapple. Plus I was limited to only the one camera for each sequence and only one focal length. I decided that in order to break out of that restriction, I’d have to sacrifice some resolution and crop into the image area to provided some variety in the edit. By enhancing the sharpness in these cropped images I think turned out pretty okay. Once I had broken free of maintaining full resolution, adding tracking, panning & zoom into most scenes gave it more motion along with the illusion of the pineapple growing larger by zooming in slightly on each shot.  

So the only thing left was an ending. Not wanting to wait another two months for Pauline Pineapple to reach full maturity, I decided to finish up the project with a stunt double and purchased Paul Pineapple at the local Smart & Final.

Besides, if I screwed up the cut I could just get another one and try again. Honestly, I was tired of filming and needed my camera for other projects. 

This whole thing started as a “Let’s see what happens” test of long duration time-lapse capabilities and something to do during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown. 

So, that’s about it. Hope everyone enjoys this little flick. I had some fun and learned a thing or two on the journey. 


©2020 Eric James Swearingen









4 Seasons Cafe

Located in Tehachapi, CA. The 4 Seasons Cafe is inspired by the “land of 4 seasons”.  Along with the changing Seasons, they plan some seasonal additions to the menu as well. The 4 Seasons Cafe offers an eclectic mix of favorite items like Appetizers, salads, sandwiches, rice bowls and their fabulous BANH MI Vietnamese sub sandwiches. 

Cowboy Caviar

A delicious dip with Black Bean, black-eyed peas, red bell pepper, corn, avocado, onion, cilantro, parsley and tomatoes with Tortilla chips.



Asian Crunch Salad

Quinoa, edamame, red onions, red bell pepper, romaine lettuce, carrots, cilantro, cucumber, cabbage, cashew nuts, crispy noodles, with Ginger Peanut dressing

Shrimp Tempura Salad

Crispy Shrimp Tempura, romaine, tomato, red onion, cucumber, mandarin oranges w/ Orange Creme Dressing

Mango Chicken

Mango, Avocado, chicken, romaine lettuce, sliced almond, tomato, red onion, cucumber, hard-boiled egg,w/ Homemade Honey Mustard Lemon Dressing

Tuna Egg Salad

Asian style Tuna salad, Avocado, boiled Egg, Romaine Lettuce, cucumber, cilantro, bell pepper, tomato, red & green onion, ginger w/ lime Dressing.


4 Seasons
Banh Mi

BBQ Red Pork, Pork roll, pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, cucumber, jalapeno

Lemongrass Chicken
Banh Mi

Grilled Chicken, pickled daikon & carrots, cilantro, cucumber, and jalapeno

Lemongrass Chicken
Banh Mi

Marinated Pork slices, pickled daikon & carrots, cilantro, cucumber, and jalapeno

Banh Mi

Fried Tofu, pickled daikon & carrots, cilantro, cucumber, and jalapeno

Rice Bowls

Hainan Chicken

Rotisserie Chicken, Garlic and Ginger Rice, cucumber, pickled carrot & Daikon, cilantro. W/ Mild Ginger & Garlic Sauce.

Chubby Pork Belly Bowl

Marinated Pork Belly, Jasmine rice, steamed Chinese broccoli, basil, pickled carrot & Daikon, cilantro, onion, over-easy egg.

Beef Bulgogi Bowl

Beef Bulgogi over steamed rice, Kimchi, pickled carrot & Daikon, sesame seed, cucumber, onions, cilantro, fried egg.

Ultimate Crab fried rice

Premium Jumbo Crab Fried rice with egg, green onion, tomato and cucumber.


Original Chicken Sandwich

Delicious buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with coleslaw, pickle and our zesty house sauce.

Spicy Chicken Sandwich

Spicy Crispy Chicken sandwich with coleslaw and our homemade spicy mayo and pickle.

Pork Sandwich

Asian Style Pulled Pork, cole slaw, pickled carrots and daikon, cilantro.

4 Seasons Cafe


160 West Tehachapi Blvd.
Tehachapi, CA 93561



Featured as # 1 in “The 5 Best Bakersfield Food Photographers”

Since it’s launching in 2014, has seen over 3 million people attend a gathering in there locations. PeerSpace is a network and online directory of rental venues providing short term work places, meeting offices & production studios in numerous locations around the world. Think of it as the “Airbnb” of studio rentals locations. has a massive following throughout the industry and a ubiquitous presence on social media.  I am so very pleased to have been featured in their editorial “The 5 Best Bakersfield Food Photographers” . This is a tremendous honor and I look forward to the new business opportunities that will arise from this exposure. 

 I use the PeerSpace service when I require a studio space while away from my primary studio here in Bakersfield. It’s so very simple to find a facility that meets my needs and then to book that venue for my sessions. It can even be done from an iphone or ipad using their app (available for download at: The App Store). 

Thank you Liz Owen of PeerSpace for the nice email letting me know of this article. I look forward to my next out of town adventure where I’ll be needing a creative space. 



Laumiere Gourmet Fruits

Laumiere Gourmet Fruits is a food product and service company located in Bakersfield, CA., offering premium gourmet assortments.  Wholly committing to the provision of innovative upscale gift products that meet or exceed all customer requirements and well on their way to become a recognized global brand.

Laumiere Gourmet Fruits goal is always be to creative with products to reflect gift-givers choice across the world and translate them to high end offerings.

At the heart of Laumiere, is attention to quality, health, and wellbeing, and this resonates through everything they do. Laumiere Gourmet Fruits always thinks of the customer, imagined in the act of indulging in generous gift giving.

 Laumiere’s luxury boxes are perfect for use on all occasions; whether to celebrate engagements, weddings, graduations, or to say ‘thank you’ to a loved one. Choose from our luxurious corporate assortment of business gift boxes. With each pack full of nutritious, mouth-watering gourmet dried fruits and nuts.


Laumiere’s current product line consists of the following items, but changes with the seasons as the harvest yields new delectable choices.  

Marrons Glaces


Dates with Oranges


Apricots with Roasted Almonds


Figs with Caramelized Pecans

Laumiere is committed to providing products and services that exceed all customer requirements, as well as applicable standards and specifications. Laumiere will ensure a high level of customer satisfaction in a bid to foster long term commitments and productive customer relationships. 

For more information on Laumiere products, visit their website at

Laumiere Gourmet Fruits

3331 Pegasus Dr Ste 101, Bakersfield, CA 93308

(661) 218-9768



Photography Notes: This session was shot on in the studio using Paul C. Buff lights on a backlit product table. The camera was my trusty Nikon D800 using a Nikkor 200mm macro manual focus prime lens.


©2019 Eric James Swearingen



The Nyotaimori Experience


Started in 2005 here in the United States by Chef Mark Scharaga, the Nyotaimori Experience began offering naked sushi parties that created an International interest in this service. Today they offer Nyotaimori sushi events aka Naked Sushi services to most major cities around the world. The Nyotaimori Experience has done over 600 events and worked with ABC-TV,, Buzzfeed, Playboy and many other organizations. What truly sets them apart is the skill to create amazing world class sushi using only the finest quality ingredients.

Chef Mark Scharaga has been featured in numerous publications and media productions for the art of Nyotaimori and also received many awards for his culinary talent over the years.

The Japanese practice of Nyotaimori – serving sushi on a naked body – is said to have its origins in the samurai period in Japan.  It was a subculture to the geishas. It would take place in a geisha house as a celebration after a victorious battle.


In traditional Nyotaimori, the model is generally expected to lie still at all times and not talk with guests. The sushi is placed on sanitized leaves or garnishes on the model’s body to prevent skin-to-product contact and on sufficiently flat areas of the body acting as a serving tray for the guests. Nyotaimori is considered a traditional Japanese art form.

Usually champagne and sake is served at Nyotaimori events. Guests must be respectful and observe the strictest decorum. Talking with the models is highly discouraged. Inappropriate gestures or comments are not tolerated and diners can only pick up sushi with chopsticks.

The Nyotaimori Experience, is the catering service with the goal of providing nothing less than exceptional presentation. product & service. They also work with various other caterers and providing a variety of services as they are “The sushi experts!”

The Nyotaimori Experience is the catering service of choice for hosting truly unique special events; Bachelor Party, Bachelorette Party, Oscars Party, Grammy Award Party, Emmy Award Party, Cast Party, VIP Event, Wrap Party, Birthday, Anniversary, Yacht Event, and anything else where you truly want to leave an amazing impression on your guests.


For more information visit:


Photography Notes: This session was shot on location in Hollywood CA using both conventional studio lights along with one of my favorite techniques of “Light-Painting” (Covershot) where I empolied specially modified LED lights and Electroluminescent wires to produce the effect.

Space & Time was very limited at the venue, but we quickly adapted and made due to produced some interesting images. Special thanks to Chef Bruce Tisler for his assistance on this shoot.  



©2019 Eric James Swearingen



K.C. Steakhouse

In 2014 K.C. Steakhouse celebrated its 75th anniversary
of serving their fine dinning experience.
Located at 2515 “F” Street in Bakersfield, CA

Phone: (661) 322-9910


The interior decor is kind of Mid-Century Modern meets the old West, with a free-form dropped ceiling lit in a Vegas night club vibe from the 1950’s. A giant copper fireplace at one end of the venue dominates the room and patrons clamor to be seated next to it.  There are a few red leatherette booths that you would almost swear you saw Frank Sinatra & the boys seated having dinner with a few martinis.   And on the ceiling above to top it off, a few wagon-wheel chandeliers finishes this eclectic dinning decor.

The bar adjacent to the dinning area continues the free-form curve and the Wild West Mid Century Vegas theme where some of the best “wickedly strong” libations are served by the frequently uniformed bar tender and waitresses staff. Behind this bar and tucked into the corner is a tiny stage that host live performances most every evening from 6:00 pm to 11:30 pm.

The Stuffed Pork Chop

A premium hand cut, bone in loin chop stuffed with apple and bread crumbs, topped with cranberry relish served with seasonal vegetable sides and “cowboy” potatoes.

NOTE: The image above won Foodelia Collection 26 International Food Photography competition in 2017


New York Strip Steak

All dinners include choice of soup or green salad, beans, salsa, choice of baked potato, garlic mashed potatoes,
rice pilaf or cowboy potatoes, fresh sourdough bread and butter.
Add Peppercorn Sauce, Sauteed Mushrooms or a Caesar Salad for a few bucks more…

Classic Desserts

Here we have the basic yet delectable Peach Cobbler Ala Mode with French Vanilla Ice cream.



On October 13, 1939,  “Doc” Kennedy (a retired pharmacist) opened the K.C. Steakhouse at 630 Union Avenue across the street from the world famous “Bakersfield Inn”.  During the early days, the K.C. Steakhouse did not serve liquor, but just across the street was a bar owned by Martin Jaussaud and Clyde Barbeau, called the “Bomb Shelter”.  Both of these establishments became a quite popular with the cadet airmen training at Minter Field in Shafter, California during World War II.

After the war, the K.C. Steakhouse became a favorite dining spot for local residents and tourists alike.  It has always been a gathering spot for city, county and government officials and heads of departments.

The K.C. Steakhouse remained the same until 1967 when it was moved to its present location by the then operator, Charles Gibson.  It has been in this location ever since that date.  In October of 1984, the business was purchased by Hughette Hardy known as “Frenchie”, until 1991 when it was purchased by Aubrey Carter.  In June of 1997, then K.C. Steakhouse was purchased by Charlotte Carter who continues the great K.C. Steakhouse tradition at 2515 “F” Street.

In 2003, Charlotte Carter married Terry Campbell and they operate K.C.’s as co-owners.  It remains the favorite dining spot for locals and for the hundreds of “out-of-towners” who always revisit when they are again in town.

The present building housing the K.C. Steakhouse was built circa 1949; and was opened as “Greg’s Hi Life Club” circa 1952.  The room remains virtually the same as it was then.  The wood paneling and mirrors have replaced the Victorian Age red papered walls, and a partition over the back bar has been removed.  The kitchen has also been recently renovated.


©2018 Eric James Swearingen


Two Winning Images at Foodelia

I am please to announce that two of my images have won entry into Collection 25 at Foodelia; the international contest for food photography. Every month, a curated competition is open for submissions to Foodelia members. Of those submissions, less than 3% are selected by the panel of curators as “Foodelia Awarded” images. So it is quite rare to get multiple awards within a signal submission cycle. I am very please with the results and here are the two winning photographs.

Gourmet Toffee by Chief Cheryl Mestmaker at 


 Craft beers from Temblor Brewing Company cover shot for Bakersfield Magazine 


All of the Collection 25 awarded images can be viewed at



©2017 Eric James Swearingen


Chef Chang’s Little Italy

The owner and Executive Chef of Little Italy (who prefers to be known simply as Chang) said he has learned not to underestimate the people of Bakersfield.

“They know good food,” said Chang, He can be found seven days a week at his 85-seat, full bar, white-tablecloth restaurant, tucked away in the South-East corner of The “Town and Country Shopping Center” located at 8200 Stockdale Hwy in Bakersfield, CA 93311-1029 Phone: (661) 833-4055

“Most of our customers come at least twice a month, and many three times a
week,” said Chang, who prepares every dish himself.

Chef Chang was born in Thailand and moved his family to The United States in the early 1970’s, stayed here to complete his education and make his way up in the restaurant business. Chang chose the location for his Little Italy restaurant because he found the shopping center pleasant and relatively quiet. He chose Italian cuisine because he finds it easy to prepare and enjoys the many flavor combinations he can create within this genera.

Personally, I find it fascinating when someone can break through the confines of conventional thinking. “How can an Asian cook Italian?” …is a ridicules preconception. Chef Chang’s abilities are amazing and have nothing to do with coming from an Italian heritage. 

I highly suggest going to Chef Chang’s Little Italy and trying the numerous exceptional menu items. It is wise to make reservations! ..There is usually a waiting list around 6:PM every night, fortunately the full bar can help easy your delay time while waiting for a table.



Calamari Friti

Lightly fried baby squids served with a Tomato sauce shown with Little Italy’s fresh baked Bread served with olive oil and their aged balsamic vinegar.


Chicken Piccata

Boneless chicken breast sautéed with pepperocini & capers


Grilled Pork Chop with Pine Nuts

12 oz. center cut pork chop, garlic and rosemary topped with pine nuts


Chicken Francaise

Chicken breast sautéed in garlic butter & lemon juice


Cappellini Scampi

Jumbo shrimp in a light white sauce, parsley and pine nuts


Linguine Frutti di Mare

House-made linguine with thick marinara, large shrimp, cherrystone clams, mussels, calamari, and scallop



©2017 Eric James Swearingen


Tony’s Firehouse Grill & Pizza

Tony’s Firehouse Grill & Pizza

located at 10701 Highway 178 in Bakersfield, CA 93306 

Phone: (661) 366-0129

Tony’s Pizza was founded in 1979 in the small town of Delano, California. At the time, Tony’s was one of the only pizza parlors in the primarily agricultural town. As time went on and new pizza chains were established in Delano, Tony’s business grew due to their passion for serving a traditional pizza, with only the finest ingredients in a welcoming family atmosphere.

Anthony “Tony” Martinez Jr. branched out to Bakersfield, CA in early 2005, and was an immediate hit serving up the same great tasting pizza that the Martinez family has been making for over 30 years. Little has changed, except for the obvious firefighter decor that you will find in all seven Tony’s Pizza locations. Anthony and his family are involved in every aspect of the business and at any given time you can always find a member of the family at one of the locations to greet you or make you one of their specialty pizzas. So whether you have a hankering for a big slice of “Bubba’s Chicken BBQ”, a “Toni’s Veggie” or the classic “Tony’s Combo” you won’t leave Tony’s Pizza disappointed.





Pepperoni Pizza




Choose from a number of TOPPINGS…




©2017 Eric James Swearingen


FacebooktwitterlinkedinyoutubetumblrinstagramFacebooktwitterlinkedinyoutubetumblrinstagram Product Shoot

I recently collaborated with life long friend and fellow photographer Cheryl Mestmaker on a project for shooting a variety of commercial images for website end use and cataloging of products illustrating locally grown (Kern County) pistachios, almonds and a most delectable gourmet toffee perfected by Cheryl Mestmaker from an old secret family recipe.

We had an outrageous amount fun and spent the better part of four days creating a wide variety of images with multiple props, lighting & settings to play with, creating numerous set designs and layout possibilities for the clients to choose from. Here on my blog, I have uploaded just a few of what I feel are the best example of what we created during this session.

It is sometime quite difficult to find the right mix of props to product ratio, when given so many choices of peripheral objects to either discard or use in a setting. I find that the dissension to include set pieces really depends on whether or not it adds to the image a mood that is indicative to the clients target market or if it furthers an editorial content that accompanies the images in publication. Something that will reach that market on an emotional level and results in additional sales for your clients. If you believe those extra items tell the right story… use them, provided that they do not distract from the primary subject.

Here are a few “straight forward” product shots giving the client the ability to show their product without any distractions. Very important when the product is physically small in size, like nuts are. These seemingly simple images were some of their favorite shots from the session. Largely in part because they display the product directly without confusing the audience. “Less is more”, especially when it comes to displaying tiny subject matter.

Cheryl’s amazing gourmet toffee will be available in the near future for online ordering at just as soon as possible. The final selections are currently be made for the best packaging and delivery methods that provide the freshest and most pristine arrival conditions to the recipient. I highly recommend this toffee! …It is so addictive in such a great way, you will truly enjoy every sumptuous bite!



©2017 Eric James Swearingen