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7 Oct 2013

Many of us eat fruits and vegetables, and we often did not pay attention on the beautiful details when they are cut open. The cross-section of many fruits and vegetables can produce very nice pictures.
Sliced Kiwi
Although it was the first-time effort to take fruits and vegetables cross-section photography, I'd clearly know the criteria on the types of fruits and vegetables that I wanted to experiment with: (a) have interesting details when cut open, (b) translucent fibre, and (c) small and easy to manage with.

So I rummaged through the house and found oranges, lemons, kiwis, onions and chilies that I could start with.

Challenge #1: The Right Way to Cut the Fruits & Vegetables

I realized that some fruits and vegetables must be cut in a particular way to fully demonstrate the details within. Cutting it differently means ending up with an uninteresting picture. For examples. onion and chilies produce different results when cut differently.
Sliced Onion


Challenge #2: Thickness of the Slice

I wanted to take backlight photographs of slices of fruits (e.g. orange and lemon) with translucent fibre so that I can bring out the details of the fibre. In particular, fruits like orange and lemon can display nice fibre details, however the fibre of these fruits is quite translucent which means that the distance and power of the backlight, and thickness of the slice would affect the exposure of the fibre.

Personally, I felt that the lemon (cross-section picture below) should have been cut thicker as the details of the fibre is not enough. In my setup, I was not able to adjust the light source further away from the fruit slice which is a challenge that I will elaborate in my setup below.
Sliced Lemon


The sliced orange below produce much better fibre details as it was sliced much thicker compared to the lemon.
Sliced Orange

Challenge #3: Positioning the Sliced Fruits and Vegetables

To create a powerful back power source, I've placed my strobe behind a translucent background. The fruits will then be required to be placed sufficiently close to the backdrop so that the fibre details can be illuminated (see illustration below). However, the question in my head is how to make the sliced fruit "stand".
Illustration of Back Light Setup

I've tried hanging the sliced fruit on a thin thread, however I was not able to control it from turning. I've also tried to stick the sliced fruit on styrofoam using a small pin - however, the pin will show up in the fibre, and furthermore the styrofoam will show up in the picture which I have to photoshop away which I didn't want to.

In the end, I flipped my strobe with soft box attached carefully on the floor with the light pointing upwards. I've used a 4-legged stool (turn-upside-down as well) to "stabilize" the strobe so that the soft box can act as my "table" where the sliced fruits can be placed flat on it, and I can have my camera on a tripod shooting from the top.

While this setup could provide me with the backlight that I wanted, I could not control the distance of the light source from the backdrop since the soft box is attached to the strobe. As the sliced fruit is placed stationary on the softbox, I would not be able to control the distance of the sliced fruit from the "backdrop".

Challenge #4: "Sticky" Setup

Once satisfied with sample shots from the setup, you will be ready to start shooting. As some of these fruits and vegetables may be wet or have sticky juices, extra precautions will be required while handling your photography equipment throughout the shooting.

It is recommended to have all the fruits and vegetables sliced beforehand and control the shooting using a remote to avoid handling the camera with a wet or sticky hand.


In my setup, I've also placed a small transparent piece of plastic below the sliced to prevent the sticky fruit juices from dirtying my soft-box.



Have Fun Creating Patterns ...

Besides from take the cross-section of a single fruit/vegetable, you could also try out different interesting patterns and layout with multiple slices.
Flower Pattern Made up by Sliced Kiwi and Lemon

Other Types of Fruits

I've in mind to try out the following other types of fruits and vegetables such as Dragon fruit, strawberry, promenade, tomato, ladies' finger and egg plant. I welcome any other suggestions as well :)

All pictures shown are taken with the Canon 5DM2 with EF100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM using the following camera settings: ISO 100, F11 and 1/200s.


Please visit http://jefzlim.smugmug.com/Studio-Works/CrossSection for more photos ...


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