365 Challenge #318 - who says you can't play with food!

The weather is still crapulous outside, and I was itching to do something with my camera today. So...time for an indoor photography project! It was the perfect chance to play with one of the techniques I learnt in last week's workshop of the Colour II course at the Brisbane College of Photography and Art.

We discussed and experimented with how to shoot translucent objects, like these gorgeous red onions. I love the colours and patterns that come from natural objects, and working out how to light them to really show off those naturally beautiful qualities.

I don't have a light tent or light box, and our tutor showed us a really simple and quick way of achieving the same effect. The next picture shows the ingredients - two translucent plastic chopping boards, two glasses (which prop up the large board), translucent ingredients like red onions or lemons, and some form of flash or continuous lighting.

My set up for the shoot was as follows:
1) Large chopping board propped up on the two glasses - ideally it's level!
2) Smaller board blocks off the back of the set up, to bounce light back in to the "box".
3) On reflection, I should have used white blocks or something other than glasses to prop up the chopping board, to prevent light escaping - but in this situation, it worked fine.
4) Flash or other light source (in this case, I was triggering mine wirelessly, but in class, we used a small desk lamp which provided continuous light).
5) Arrange ingredients over the board, and shoot. You can see the flash going off in the picture below,  and how it blows out the background, leaving just the onions.

In terms of the gear I used, my macro lens is out visiting a wedding this weekend, so I used the Canon 500D close up lens attached to my Canon EF24-70mm f/2.8 L lens on the 5D II. I hand held the camera (although really should have used a tripod).

The camera settings were: ISO-100, f/11, 1/200, focal length of 50mm, manual focus. The speedlight was dialled down to 1/16 power. 

And voila! That's how I made translucent fruit. There's really no limit to how else this technique can be used - jelly babies and other types of see-though lollies, other fruits and vegetables, leaves....and on it goes. Next time I might add a gel over the flash, to throw coloured light into the "box"...the possibilities are endless!

Who says you can't play with food??


  1. Well done Mel! I've been wanting a light box for ages but they are hard to get and very pricey these days. What a great substitute!
    And I love the onions! :)

  2. Hey Robyn, thanks! Glad you liked the onions! It's a really quick and easy (and cheap!) set up. Definitely a very cheap substitute to the ones I was looking at online today :)