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Veggies on the counter

By cptdaniel
Was washing these the other day to BBQ and I really liked the colors, so I put them together and took a shot. Not really sure about still life, are there certain guidelines, or set-up? The light was coming in from the window. Thanks for looking.Smile

Tags: Still life Vegetables Close-up and macro

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


paulbroad 10 123 1240 United Kingdom
17 May 2013 7:51AM
This is a nice basic image. It is a bit dull, and that is some under exposure and the effect of using such a high ISO. I think your camera is a bridge camera, so you are likely to have some control. You need a bit stronger lighting or a tripod, preferably both. Then shoot a number of images at different settings on manual. You are likely to have about f8 as the smallest aperture, so use that to get maximum depth of field.

This will mean a longer shutter speed and hence, without a tripod or some support, camera movement. Set ISO100. Pocket tripods are very cheap and will do for this type of thing. TRy and focus manually on a suitable point, then release the shutter with the delayed action timer setting so you are not touching the camera. Check the result on the LCD, looking for a bright, sharp vibrant image.

Image too dark, longer shutter speed, try again. Image too bright, shorter shutter speed, try again.

You can learn a lot from this exercise and the ability to shoot in this way is one of the huge assets of digital.


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salopian Plus
6 3 27 United Kingdom
17 May 2013 10:40AM
I posted an image with only light from the window and the advice I got was to position a white reflector ( Paper, cardboard, silver foil) on the opposite side of the subject to the window and reflect some light into the shadows. I have found it to be sound advice and I think that is all this colourful image needs.

banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3877 Canada
17 May 2013 3:18PM
Hi Joseph.

It looks like you were thinking when you set this up. You dialed in a -0.6 exposure compensation, because you were concerned that the highlights in the veggies from the window light would be a problem.

Program mode did the rest, selecting a high ISO, and the other settings, - so you had control over the exposure compensation.

So, back to thinking about how the camera works when you set this up.

The metering system, in Program mode, has already seen the highlights, and before you took any actions, the exposure was set by the camera to make an exposure that accounts for the bright spots. To do this, it likely reduced exposure slightly, but ended up with a decent average.

Then you told it to underexpose by -0.6, on top of what it had already figured out. This resulted in a shot that is a full 1 stop underexposed, - your 0.6, and whatever the camera decided, which was around -0.3.

After you take the shot, you can review it in playback, and press information until you see the histogram. If its not extending to the right, its underexposed, as this histogram shows, and then you can simply remove the -0.6 and try another shot, all within one minute!

Ive uploaded a mod that shows the image with a +1 exposure. Ive sharpened a little, and reduced the side of some bright spots.

Hope you find this helpful,


ColleenA Plus
5 362 6 Australia
17 May 2013 7:02PM
Lovely coloursGrinGrin
mrswoolybill Plus
11 1.2k 1927 United Kingdom
18 May 2013 8:41AM
Peppers and tomatoes are particularly difficult subjects in my experience - a combination of shiny, light-reflective skins and colours that are more difficult to expose for.
I like the fact that you have seen a subject in natural light, and then used that light. I'm kind of obsessive about natural light. But you need to work with it, not try to struggle against it. A fine net curtain at that window would have made a big difference, if you don't want to invest in curtains but fancy looking round for other such subjects, a diffuser would be useful. It's just a circle of gauze fabric stretched over a loop frame, very cheap to buy - mine came free with Amateur Photographer years ago. Positioned carefully, it softens those hotspots.
I like your arrangement, particularly the contrast in sizes and the way the stems are pointing in opposite directions. An odd number of elements will usually work better than an even number - here I would count the cherry tomatoes as one element, so you have three. Your aperture has given you the peppers sharp and clean, with the work surface just a bit softened, that's good; a smaller aperture would give a crisper finish to the background, which wouldn't give such a satisfying balance for me. And you have cropped very sensibly to contain the composition.
It's an idea worth pursuing - there are always subjects close at hand.

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