The Making of "Gumdrops"

The winning image in our "Sweets" photo contest

By shell650 in Photo Contests on Jan 11, 2015

Thank-you to everyone who nominated and voted for my photo in November 2014's “Sweets” contest.  It was a wonderful Christmas present to learn that my image had been selected.

Each month,I look forward to learning the topic for that month’s contest.  It gives me a focus for my photography and ensures that I’ll take at least one picture of something other than my dog.

For November’s theme, the first thing that came to my mind when I read “Sweets” was colourful, sugary Gumdrops!  Initially, I envisioned the gumdrops being poured out of container and disintegrating into a pile of sugar.  However, as often is the case with photography, the simpler concept of gumdrops tumbling out of a jar ended up being the better one visually.

The setup consisted of a Mason jar on its side with the gumdrops falling out of it onto a granite countertop providing the reflection. Approximately 3 feet behind the gumdrops was a sheet of crumpled up aluminum foil that created the bokeh.  My Pentax K-x was on a tripod in AV mode and the 90mm Tamron Macro lens was set to f/5.6.  An off-camera flash at low power was positioned at approximately 45 degrees to the right of the camera and above.

Even stopped down to f/5.6, the 90mm Macro lens produced a depth of field that was way too thin to get all the gumdrops in focus so I had to focus-stack two images.  The post-processing consisted of minor adjustments in Lightroom:  decrease of contrast and saturation and increase of clarity and luminance in the reds and yellows.  Additionally, I used split-toning by warming the highlights with a yellow/orange hue and cooling the shadows with a blue tint.

The original (stacked) image

After reviewing the composition of the photo, I felt there was a glaring hole at the mouth of the Mason jar and too many pink-coloured gumdrops bunched up in one area.  Rather than re-shoot, I inserted an extra one in GIMP and changed the colour of a pink gumdrop to yellow to add colour variety in that area.  Learning to notice such details before pressing the shutter button is an important lesson for me.

In closing, I’d especially like to thank everyone who is responsible for creating, moderating, maintaining and participating in PentaxForums.  I’m so thankful that I stumbled upon this invaluable photographic resource.  When I purchased my K-x 3 years ago, I didn’t even know what aperture was, never mind bokeh.  The majority of the knowledge that I’ve gained about photography and specifically about my camera has been obtained from reading this site. Thank-you!

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