I put a photo challenge out to some friends to capture something red. So I took the challenge upon myself and pulled some strawberries out of the fridge. I grabbed one of two goblets my wife and I received more than 11 years ago when we got married. I topped off a pitcher of water and grabbed a few dish towels – I knew this was gonna get pretty messy.
After setting up the goblet and firing off a few test shots, I was ready to begin dropping some strawberries. But so were my kids. I was a little nervous that a slightly misplaced drop could tip the goblet and shatter it on the table. While that would have made for a great stop-motion capture, I didn’t want to try and explain to my wife why I broke one of our wedding gifts for a measly photo.
Canon 60D | 50mm lens | 1/250 | f/2.5 | ISO 200 | Canon Speedlite 430 EXII | RAW
I let my six-year-old daughter release the shutter for a few shots, and I let my son drop the strawberry. I am happy to report there were no goblet casualties. We fired off quite a few shots, and were pretty pleased with most of the results. Some were a millisecond too early, while others were a second too late. Lucky for us, we had a few that were spot on.
If anyone is thinking of taking a similar shot, here are a few of the challenges I sought to overcome in the photo.
- Avoiding the reflection of the flash in the goblet was hard. I had to move the off-camera flash pretty high up – probably at a 60-degree angle to the goblet.
- The goblet wanted to distort the background, so when I initially tried to put a black cloth behind it, my cloth wasn’t big enough to capture the entire background. For that reason, I resorted to the shutters to our sliding glass door, and adjusting them to allow just the right amount of light in.
- In many of the photos, there is a dark shadow in the background. That’s because once the strawberry was let go, the hand doing the releasing didn’t get out of the way of the flash fast enough. It was better to drop the berry from a greater height to avoid this dark shadow in the background.
- To help in the targeting process of the drop, wet the strawberry and once you have the drip of the berry landing in the center of the goblet… let go. The berry should drop in the same place as the drop.
- Fill the glass to the brim to increase the amount of splash that exits the goblet. In this case, the more the merrier!
It was a fun photo to shoot, but as you can see, it’s not perfect. I guess this means I will just have to try the photo again… someday.