Tomato, on a lightbox; 30 Mar 2007.

I’ve thought about taking pictures of things that we see frequently and take for granted – the commonplace.  This is the basic reasoning behind my pictures of cars and, while not suggesting that we’re literally encircled by tomatoes and that they’re closing in for the kill – “Circle the wagons! Watch out for that overripe Son of a ….!” –  this was the reason for taking a series of shots of them sometime back.

In a darkened room, I set a tomato on a lightbox and looked at the possibilities that arose.  Here, the top of the fruit is reasonably exposed, but the lower parts are caught by the light blasting up from below and are increasingly overexposed the further down we look.  The Velvia films are superb but even they gave up the ghost on this one, and overexposure grades into yellows and almost pure white at the bottom of the frame – it gives the impression of the tomato floating in mist, or maybe being engulfed by yellow flames

I suppose I might have used an inverted neutral density grad to achieve a “realistic” result, but my one try with these filters was a complete and expensive failure and, as with tripods, I’m usually too lazy to get into such complications – though in the more leisurely world of retirement that is just around the corner, I’m hoping to use tripods more.

F6 with 105mm Nikkor; Fuji Velvia 100 colour slide rated at 125 ISO; tripod; lightbox.

UPDATE: well I’ve turned the corner and the “more leisurely world of retirement” is right here, and has been so for a couple of years.  But, despite having an absolutely wonderful and feather-light tripod (Manfrotto 055CXPR04) and an equally light, strong and wonderful tripod head (Gitzo GH1781QR), I rarely use them.  I start with good intentions, this gear is always in the boot of the car when I head for the Somerset Levels – but in the boot it stays! 

Its to do with the excellent Vibration Reduction stabilisation that many Nikon lenses have – I can even handhold the big zoom at 400mm! –  together with the much greater flexibility and ease which shooting without a tripod brings – which suits most of my photography very well.  Thinking about it, I only really use the tripod for close ups and still life – and, in all honesty, I can’t really say that either of those photographic genres get my creative juices flowing too much!


About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Meanderer says:

    Yes – a ‘mothership’ as Sallyann has mentioned. It looks like it has just landed from another planet; the red one 🙂


  2. paula graham says:

    Yea..I know what you mean about tripods! Mine is hankering for action and yes..I LOVE your tomato shot. What beautiful colours .


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Its obviously a personal and subjective thing, but I think you and I feel that tripods just slow us down, cramp our styles maybe. Thanks for liking this image – I did a series, but whether I have them in scanned format is another question. I scanned large numbers of my film photos several years back – bought a dedicated film scanner for the job – but I have a feeling that I’m not going to scan any more. Hope you’re fine, my friend. Adrian


  3. krikitarts says:

    There’s often a surprise in the fruits of your photographic labors, and this is another pleasant one. I, too, love to rise to the challenge of hand-holding whenever possible, but I try to keep a tripod fairly handy and use it when I have the time. There’s a time and a place for both.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well, my good friend, thanks for your thoughts but I think here, for once, we disagree. Actually, being honest, I expect that my inherent (and increasing) laziness is to blame, I can rarely be bothered to set tripods up. I also recently acquired a nice light monopod but that, again, was something of an anti-climax – tho I’ll keep it for unforeseen occasions. But glad you like the fruits(!) of my labours – thank you! A 🙂


  4. Sallyann says:

    Tis the mothership tomato…. circle the wagons indeed. Or better still call on the red Indians to join us cowboys. they can shoot the tomatoes down in numbers with their arrows and we can all celebrate with them on a spit-roast or two after the battle. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      What were you on this morning? Not porridge I hope or, worse still, Horlicks???!!! And I love “shoot the tomatoes down in numbers” – is that anything like painting by numbers???

      Actually tomatoes are a HUGELY favourite food of mine, get through tons of the things, sometimes three meals a day, and cooked ones equally – there, another morsel of FATmaniana for your album … or should that be … waste bin …??? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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