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 Nature Photography :: Tutorials :: #09

Previously published in Digital Photography + Design magazine.

When I saw this desert fuchsia fruit, with its perfect curve, I just knew I had to photograph it. The simple shape called for a simple photo, with no distracting elements.

The trouble was the scene had many distracting elements, the neighbouring fruit, flowers and branches, all wanted in on the act.

Fig 1: The first photo, total chaos.  
By bending branches out of the way, and removing the dead fruit, I did manage to isolate the subject fairly well. I then rotated the camera to place the fruit at a more pleasing angle, and made the first photo using “standard” lighting (flash above and in front of the subject). 
Fig 2: Close, but still not there.  

On reviewing the image though I decided there were two problems. Firstly the fruit was just poking out of nowhere, there was nothing holding it up, visually that is.

Secondly, while the light did show all the parts of the fruit, it was boring. I felt I could do better.

By reframing I included just a portion of the fruit's supporting stem, problem number one solved, now what about the light?

By placing the flash below the fruit I got some very attractive key lines around it, but the top half was too dark. Adding a reflector above the subject fixed that. Problem number two solved.

The background still had a few distracting highlights, and the stem was not perfectly aligned with the edge of the frame, nothing that couldn't be fixed on the computer in a few minutes.

Result, a very simple and elegant photo.

Fig 3: The final image.
Image #22200
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