While I do enjoy Halloween, and I immensely love watching the leaves change during Autumn (they’ve been amazing this year, here),  Thanksgiving is my highlight of the Fall months.  I look forward to getting my cooking magazines with the brined and browned bird on the cover in September, the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special (my favorite of the big three) and the Macy’s parade.  I realized this year, that I don’t have a series dedicated to the headliner, the roast turkey, in my stock portfolio, so I recently remedied that.

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I’ve got some series in my portfolio that revolve around the Thanksgiving holiday.  These include a family thanksgiving:

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stock photo: family Thanksgiving

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Students at a school Thanksgiving play with Pilgrims and Indians:

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And an isolated on white series with some humorous themes:

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stock photo: man with turkey

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However, I didn’t really have a series that concentrated on the food star of the day, the roast turkey.  That’s what this new series accomplishes.   As far as prepping for this shoot, I was running out of time – I knew what day I could do the shoot, and I didn’t have enough time before hand to defrost it in the refrigerator.  So I bought it on Saturday and let it sit in the refrigerator for one night.  Sunday I did the cold water defrost trick.  It was chilly outside, so I just put it in a cooler filled with cold water and changed the water out every half hour during the day.   I was originally going to make a wet brine from scratch, but I saw a bottle of herb brine (salt and various herbs) and brining bags next to the turkeys at the store, so I went that route to save time and money.  I made the brine and let the bird soak through to Tuesday morning.  I then dried the turkey out, and let it sit in the refrigerator again, overnight, so the air would dry the skin, assuring a crisp finish.  This tip came from Food Network Magazine.  Wednesday, I didn’t get the turkey into the oven as early as I liked, because I spent an hour taking photos of the raw turkey and the roasting pan, and various things.  Now I know why I don’t do more food photography!  I get too involved with the photos.  From there, I used Martha Stewart’s cheesecloth recipe as a guide to get a nice even color during roasting.

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From when it came out of the oven, it was about an hour and a half of time before I was done shooting the images.  I had to prep some side dishes prior to coming out of the oven, but things like gravy had to wait until the last second.  Also the turkey was put into various setups, both on and off the garnished platter.   I included several anonymous models in the series, pouring wine, carving the turkey, eating, etc.  Not to take away focus from the food, but to add some side interest.  I made sure to include lots of copyspace for easy text addition.  Made some neat background images with my weathered table background.  Some nice tablescapes as well – good, generic holiday imagery.  View some below, and then check out the whole series at Stocksy United at this link.  Thanks, and Happy Turkey Day!

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