This is a photo of the left-overs of a crab that my brother-in-law and I had (rather unsuccessfully) cooked on the bbq. I noticed that the left-over legs looked like claws so I decided to try to capture a photo that looked like some sort of monster's arm reaching out for something. The "something" was a plastic bouncy ball that I found lying around the house; the "arm" was miscellaneous pieces of left-overs strategically placed behind the legs.
To get the photo I found an old piece of hardboard and drilled a hole in it a little smaller than the ball. This allowed me to light the ball from underneath to give it the "mysterious glow" effect. The light underneath was a bare flash with barn-doors (so that it only lit the ball and didn't spill out around the sides of the board). The "claw" itself was lit with another flash in a home-made soft-box behind and to the right (as you look at it). I positioned the soft box a couple of metres away so that the light wasn't too soft. I used a Mamiya medium-format camera with Velvia transparency film and a flash meter to set the exposure for the two flashes. I subsequently scanned the transparency and gave it some slight tweaks in Photoshop (curves and that sort of thing) to give it a bit more punch.
I'm not really convinced that the hardboard and shavings really worked, but, other than that, I was pleased with how it turned out - particularly as that was still in the days when you didn't get to see the photo instantly to check the effect, but had to wait for it to come back from being processed!