== Love Photography == Delight in Light ==

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Blue Tomato

Blue Tomato

This is an image that I created from a rather deformed tomato that was one of the fruits of the family's tentative adventures into vegetable gardening... Its unusual shape caught my eye, so I thought I'd have a go seeing if I could create something interesting with it. I had also been looking for a good excuse to play with my new Gitzo Explorer tripod :)

This image has obviously been "Photoshopped" - the remainder of this post shows the original, unedited photo along with details of how I arrived at this final result.


This photo shows the set up of the tripod, camera and flashes:
Set up for Tomato Photo
Click the photo to view it in Flickr complete with notes to show more detail of the individual bits.

I used three flashes, a Canon 580EX Speedlite on the camera, and two 430EX II Speedlites on either side. Various plastic containers acted as diffusers and some red and orange sweet (candy) wrappers acted as gels to colour the light from the two 430s. The 430s were triggered wirelessly from the main flash and all flashes were set on manual.

I balanced the tomato on a plastic pipe (actually a piece of electric conduit) over a black background which was a piece of black velvet cloth.

Here is the photo of the tomato direct from the camera:
A Rather Deformed Tomato

That was still a little boring, so I thought I'd see what I could do with it in Photoshop

After a bit of experimentation, I settled on the result you see at the top of this post. To get that result, I did the following:

  • The highlights from the flash reflections were a bit too bright, so I toned those down a bit by creating a duplicate layer, retouching them out, and then reducing the opacity of the duplicated layer so they showed through slightly again.
  • Next I created an inverted version of the merged result.
  • The highlight areas were still too stark for my liking (on the inverted version), so I created a duplicate of the original merged image over the inverted version and set it to "Lighten" mode.
  • Finally I used a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer to adjust the saturation and hue of the stem a bit, did some bits and pieces of retouching to clear up some stray flecks on the tomato and cropped to a more square format.

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