The unexpected tomato / by Mario Mirabile

It's usually annoying when something comes up at work as your thoughts are turning to heading for the door and going home. Normally, it's a long-winded phone call or perplexing programming issue that you just don't want to leave until the next day. Occasionally, however, something completely unexpected and different pops up.

I was sitting at my desk late in the day when Martin - my colleague and unofficial blog proofreader - excitedly arrived at my desk and demanded I immediately follow him to his. I began to follow, but something made me ask "Should I bring my camera?". He answered in the affirmative and continued on his hurried way. When I arrived, the cause of the excitement was obvious. A ripe tomato sat on Martin's desk, caught in a shaft of golden late afternoon winter light which had somehow managed to find a path through the surrounding buildings.

While the photographic appeal was immediately obvious, the scene was not without it's challenges. Aware that time was short as the narrow shaft of light moved across the desk, I sent Martin to fetch a sheet of A3 copy paper as I considered the arrangement and moved the usual office desk rubble out of the way. I've no idea where Martin disappeared to, as I ended up getting the paper myself, as well as recruiting an assistant to hold it. With the paper as a stage, I got off  a couple of quick shots before the light faded.

I like the final result, but was bitterly disappointed when Martin ate the tomato the next day. I think artistic objects deserve better.

Tech Talk
A couple quick shots using available light. An A3 sheet of copy paper provided a handy seamless backdrop, and I cleaned up the final result in Photoshop CS6, including the toning down of a rather harsh specular highlight on the tomatoe.

Shot with Olympus E-5 and Zuiko Digital 12-60mm f2.8-4. If I had to keep only one lens, i would probably choose this one - it's sharp, fast and has a very useful zoom range. Fortunately though, it's not a choice I've been forced to make.