Lonely Coffee Cherry

December 15, 2008 at 7:32 pm (kiranoncemore, S3 IS) (, )

Coffee Cherry

Coffee Cherry

Tv: 1/400 s; Av: F/4.5; f: 6 mm (35mm-equiv: 38 mm)

Post-processing using Picasa (I’m feeling lucky)

This picture was shot at my native village where coffee cherries were being dried prior to extracting the coffee bean. Here are more details of coffee processing.

Some of the things I like about this photo:

  • This snap is an example of how the rule-of-thirds could be used to create a visually pleasing effect. This snap might not have been as pleasing had the coffee cherry been smack in the center of the snap!
  • I liked the shadow effect to some extent.
  • The depth-of-field is just right. The subject itself, and the area immediately surrounding it; is in focus. There is that gradual loss of focus as you move away from the main subject.

Having said that, here are some flip-sides of this snap:

  • Camera-shake – Even though I was shooting at 1/400s, and I was making good use of the “flip-and-rotate”-able LCD screen on my camera; I was still not able to fully eliminate the camera shake. My unbalanced posture, and the camera position (with the lens just inches from the ground) dint help either. However, I think I could have gotten the perfect still hand, had I tried a bit more.
  • Shadow angle – yes; the same shadow effect which I liked is also a negative for this snap. If you notice, some part of the cherry is under its own shadow! I somehow feel if I had shot this thing from the other side, I would have got the shadow effect; minus the darkening of the subject itself.
  • Size reference – It would have been nice if I had placed some other object unobtrusively in the picture (perhaps a flower), to give viewers an idea of the size of the subject. There are people who thought this thing was a dried coconut!

Readers’ comments are welcome as always!



  1. Subhanjan Sengupta said,

    Good self-criticism. I appreciate it. Self teaching is the best way to learn.

    Now let us see how it could have been improved.

    To remove the shadow effect, and to light up the dark side of the bean, you should have definitely used a reflector. Now I am not talking of a studio set up. What I want you to do now is to always keep handy a white paper and a black paper of A4 size. When you are taking any picture, find ways to mount the white paper (with stones or pencil boxes or small books behind it) to make it work as a reflector. I also use the black paper for backgrounds. I took a good picture today of a flower without harming the tree by placing a black paper behind it to cut down unnecessary things. I will upload that picture in a day or two. These two papers also come of great use while taking portraits.

    I also definitely feel that there should have been other things. But flower would not have worked well. If you had many other coffee beans, you could have scattered them around but at a distance from the main subject. What was really needed was some insect to intensify the mood. But of course that comes entirely by chance.

    The background somehow does not seem very appealing to me. How about taking it on undulating sand with lights and shadows on it. You may try and find out. You may even try out by placing it on a dark paper in a dark room, ask someone to cast light on it from a certain angle with a torch, use a newspaper to diffuse the light of the torch if the light is strong, place a white paper as a reflector on the dark side of the subject and capture a close shot in macro mode, but keeping the rule of thirds in mind.

    You are doing good. Keep on shooting and learning.

  2. kiranoncemore said,

    Well Subhanjan, till now I had never really thought of having any “accessories” while shooting – I only carry my Cam and a tripod. But, reflecting on what your said; I definitely think that using papers as reflectors makes sense – and hey, such an arrangement is pretty much required on many occasions. even during outdoor photography.

    I do have a snap with several coffee cherries – I then took just one single one and placed it separately to click this snap. Regarding the size reference, I was thinking more of a leaf or a petal to give viewers the idea of the size of the subject.

    I want to once again mention that your comments are very important for me. Please do keep them coming! Thanks!

  3. Subhanjan Sengupta said,

    I have uploaded new pictures that I had taken by using black paper, as I had suggested to you. You may check out and post your criticism.

  4. Swapnil said,

    One more thing, the bottom left corner of your photo has the shadow of the camera. That should be avoided!

    Kiran: Swapnil, thanks for stopping by. Yes, that shadow is another thing that many people have told me about. In summary I think the main drawback of this snap is the angle of the camera itself! If the angle had been correct, lot of its minuses would have been avoided.

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