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Jalapenos – Raw photography challenge

iso 125 100mm 2.8 macro lens at f4.0 at 1 second shutterspeed. Camera; Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Let me start by saying that my planning for the raw photo didn’t exactly go according to plan. I had decided that it would be fun working on this project together with Alex and schedule in a day for free work. Always good for inspiration and great fun too. But than Alex got sick a few days before we would have the shoot and there went my plan out the window. You see I was going to attempt shooting a naked chicken. I thought that would make a perfect challenge but now I didn’t feel like going out and buying that chicken and the day went by without me doing anything that looked remotely like photography.

So I needed a plan B. And I figured radishes would make a good subject.


But as luck would have it; the supermarket was all out of radishes! Weird but true. So I needed a plan C. But there wasn’t much interesting stuff in our local supermarket and then my eye was caught by a little box of green jalapenos. Which incidentally read on the outside ‘Eat me” I seriously hope no one took that too literally or they might be in for a bit of a surprise kick. But that’s another story alltogether.

Mijn eerste setup
My first setup

Those green things did not immediately inspire me to create a brilliant photo.. unfortunately. I didn’t really know what to do with them as you can clearly see in the first photo. I just put them on a wooden board and hoped for the best. Not exciting. Too much light.

Setup zonder atributen
Setup one

Above you can see my setup for that first photo. I decided I wanted a somewhat darker appearance and I had really hoped the chilis would be a bit more interesting on the inside, but they weren’t. I wanted a dark and moody shot… Cutting open the peppers didn’t really reveal anything amazing either so I just had to go with the flow. Changing the wooden board with a rooftile of graphite made it somewhat darker at least. And I blocked the light with some black cardboard as you can see below.


That eventually led to the first photo. Not the chicken I had in mind but you’ll see that one coming along at some point in the future. And because I also wanted a lighter setting I also put the chilies on my little wooden stool. Not very big but big enough for peppers. Holding the peppers already made my skin irritated so I have no idea what would’ve happened if anyone had ‘eaten’ the things raw like the package suggested…

En de witte setup
And the white setup

All in all it is always fun to go out of your comfort zone and to do something that is maybe not so straight forward. And if you haven’t send in anything yet for the challenge you still have time until the 20th! So go and shoot!


About the author

Simone van den Berg

Food- and travelblogger from the Netherlands. Loves good food. Loves to taste good food the world over.
She also loves to share travelstories, delicious recipes and ok, cat pictures too. She sometimes feels the need to get really healthy for a while, always mingled with periods of insanely delicious sweets and other decadent treats.
Lives together with Tom and their two cats; Humphrey and Buffy.
Profession: Food photographer


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  • I love the dark setting. It makes the peppers pop. I like making macro pictures of produce. You feel like being in a another dimension. I will send you some I had taken.

  • I love the dark and rustic look in these shots. Thank you for the scene set up shots as well. FYI, I live in the south west and we eat jalapeños frequently. It’s the veins (white insides) that are the spiciest and cause your skin to burn (God forbid you rub your eyes, OUCH!) We cut them in half lengthwise & carefully cut out veins & seeds. They are much milder when roasted.

    • I once made the mistake of cleaning and cutting a red chili and than removing my contact lenses…. I seriously thought my eyes would just be completely distroyed. It hurt so much! So that tought me a thing or two.. One being to never, ever, touch my eyes after I have handled chilies of any kind. I normally cut out the veins as well but well for the photo I wanted to keep them in obviously..

  • I like the top photo, a lot. What makes it so good IMO is the jalapeno slice in the background, and the rough texture of the rooftile. The two seeds in the foreground are a great touch, and do help balance the composition. Also the location of the light helps reveal the wonderful texture of the seeds — I love texture in photos! Good stuff. But I’m looking forward to seeing that chicken!

Welcome In Simone’s Kitchen

Hi. My name is Simone and I believe you can change your life by eating the right foods. I am a certified holistic nutritional coach, food photographer, recipe developer and story teller.

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Travel calendar 2018

March: Blankenberge, Belgium
April: 3 weeks roadtrip through East USA
May: Turkey
May: Germany
June: Germany
September: Newcastle