Pistachios anyone?

I just love pistachios. They are my go to snack, when in need for something tasty and salty. My family loves them as well. When I looked around for a subject to shoot, this bowl full of pistachios almost winked at me. Here is a quick look on how I made this image…

Lovely pistachios. Ready to peel.

Pistachios! Yummy, I like them. Ready to eat. One, two, Go!

Check out this image on my Flickr account.


Oh my. I am almost ashamed, how easy to make this was. The bowl sat on my glas table, which is my go to background/table top at the moment. I had to place it near the edge, because my old manfrotto tripod has no horizontal capability and I had to use my 3W-head to tilt the camera down toward the pistachios. I got it to almost 90 degrees to the table, so I got this view down at the bowl, but still a bit of perspective.


One speedlight. One white foamie as reflector. Done. More Info? Ok, here we go. I placed the speedlight and its trigger behind the pistachios, about 50cm away. I think I also zoomed the flash to 105mm in order to reduce light spreading around. Test picture. Got this.


Too bright.

Too bright.

This worked quite well, but the light was too bright for my taste. I dialed the speedlight down and got this.

Dialed down flash works

Dialed down flash works


Until then I planned to add a second speedlight but when I saw how good the one actually worked, I decided to go with the white foamie, which I hand held right below the camera. I only had to make sure that the reflector stayed out of the line of view AND that I did not create any reflection on my glas table. Works not bad, right?


Almost there. The white foamie surface is a perfect light reflector.

Almost there. The white foamie surface is a perfect light reflector.

What I really liked on this setup, was its simplicity. One light, one reflector. I played around with the position of the reflector and thats basically was it.


I imported, as usual, all my images into Lightroom CC. No big retouches were needed at first glance. But when working with a black (or white) reflective surface, a double check is always good. So, when playing with the exposure slider I quickly found scratches on the table surface, which did not show up with the setting I used. But with all those different devices out there I make always sure to take care of them, before publishing the final image. This should ensure, that whatever medium is used to show the image, no blemish would show up.

So the first, and easy tweak, was to use the radial filter and to blacken out the blacks around the bowl. Then, with most of the blemishes taken care of, I used the spot removal tool for the few remaining spots. Once this was done, I enhanced clarity a bit, warmed the tones up and finally gave the image a bit of sharpening. No big deal over all.


Well, this time no big surprises at the end. All I known by now. I used my still old and grumpy EOS 450D with my SIGMA 17-70 2,8-4,8 attached to it. The flash was the Canon EOS 540 EZ (yes, so old, but still good) and a white foamie as reflector. Simple.


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