Orange Slice
Orange Slice

Last week I wrote about playing around with still life when I shot an old bread bowl that belonged to my wife’s great-grand mother.  See the Fruit Bowl. Sunday afternoon I took the leftover orange that I had used as a prop and decided to have some more fun. I have always wanted to photograph something like this but never have. I began by slicing the orange up into very thin slices. I cleaned the glass of our coffee table and placed a slice on top of the glass. Setting up my very expensive light kits was next. I took my little clip on light and placed it under the glass.  With my camera on a tripod I began shooting from above.

Later I took a margarita glass and poured some diet lemon-lime chek drink into the glass. It is very important to use diet. Not really it just is what I had. The carbonated water is what I was after. I had remembered hearing Bryan Peterson speaking in a video about doing something similar with sparkling water or club soda.  I also changed my lights. I took my desktop lamp and placed it beneath the coffee table to provide the light coming up through the glass and the orange slice. Then I took my little clip on light and clipped it on to one of the legs of my tripod. This provided a much-needed side light.

Half Slice
Left- processed using Tonal Contrast in Color Efex Pro 3.0 Right- processed using Selective Color in Silver Efex Pro 2

Then I took and sliced one of my oranges pieces into halves, and placed a half inside of the margarita glass. I then began playing with composition and focusing. I took several shots where I attempted to focus on the orange. This resulted in the rim of the glass being out of focus. Then I took several shots where I focus on the rim, resulting in the orange being out of focus.

Focus Play
Left- I focused on the orange slice Right I focused on the rim


This little exercise was so much fun. I’m going to have to try it again. Maybe the next time I can put salt on the rim and use limes. Have you ever tried something similar? I would be interesting in hearing your story.

16 thoughts on “Leftovers

  1. Hello Philip,
    Thank you for stopping by my blog earlier, and for the comment you left there. These are some very creative shots!

  2. Awesome shots! I was working on a Orange slice about 2 weeks ago. Couldn’t get the light right for some reason. Yours came out great. Makes me want to try again.

    1. Thanks Aaron I appreciate it.
      I’m curious (since I do this sort of thing all the time LOL), what type of glass did you use? My coffee table has smoked glass. I was actually thinking about what effect, if any that might have had as I wrote my blog. However, since I have never done this before either, I didn’t have the results of clear glass to compare with. Also how thin did you cut the orange? I found that the thinnest slice possible worked the best for me. I also found that it was very hard for me to have a consistent slice. I had a problem with one side being thinner than the other. Of course this affected the amount of light and how evenly it was able to shin through.

  3. Hi Phillip, this is the first time I’ve visited and your photography is fantastic. I love the orange. I’ve been wanted to start photographing still life but I don’t really have lighting equipment and have so much to learn when it comes to lighting.

    1. Thank you for the kind words Edith! I understand about not having lighting equipment. I owned a small clip on light that purchased to play around with a Nome last year. Then later I was asked to photograph a set of wedding rings for a friend’s wedding program. I went to Wal-Mart and purchased a desk lamp, because it had a base. I also picked up a black window curtain to use for a background. I found that a curtain was less expensive than a black cloth. That is the extent of my lighting equipment. It sounds like we are both in the same boat. I’m trying to hold down the cost of this expensive hobby, and learning by trial and error.

  4. Nicely done Phillip. I am more of a landscape photographer but have been intrigued with still life. After seeing your shots, I may have to experiment…

    1. Thanks, I appreciate you stopping by Len. I consider myself more of a Nature, Landscape and Historic photographer. Like you, I was intrigued with still life and just started playing with it. I have to say that it is a lot of fun.

  5. Fantastic images and write-up, Phillip! The lighting is gorgeous. Now I get your “very expensive equipment” joke but your images are so compelling that I thought it really might”ve been expensive studio lights.

    Hmm… like Len Saltiel I’m a landscape photogrpaher but I see I’m going to have to spend some time with my lights on still life shots. Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much Dani for the wonderful comment. Expensive is a relative term, I spent nearly $50 on those lamps and bulbs LOL. I know that I’m not the only one who has tried something like this. I was saying to my wife just this afternoon that I wish Kelby would have a Larry Becker Cheap Shots type show on lights. There has to be a cheaper way for some of us hobbyists to be able to play around with this type of photography without spending our retirement savings just to shoot an orange slice.

  6. Wonderful images, Phillip.
    Look like you had a blast creating these. Nice work!

    When I saw the first image, I immediately wonder how it was lighted. Nice post covering the details. 🙂

    1. Thanks Jimi! I was really tickled to see the results. In the first shot I used one light. I had a small clip on lamp with a flexible neck shinning right beneath it. However, make sure that you slice your orange very thin. If there’s a secret, that’s it.

  7. Wow! What a cool series of shots. They turned out so well, and I LOVED the way you detailed how you did it. Now I’m feeling inspired. 🙂

  8. Great shots, Phillip. This kind of photography is so much fun. Its been a while since I did something like this – perhaps its time to dig out the lights… 🙂

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