November 9, 2012

~*THE MIGHTY POM*~

So I decided to combine both photography assignments using something very simple: the mighty pomegranate.

I love pomegranates. In fact, pomegranates are probably my favourite thing from this time of year because I think they’re beautiful and of course I love to eat them. Some grocery stores have little ones, which aren’t so great. I get the big Pom Wonderful ones, which were just on sale last week 2/$5 so Blake got me 4 of them.

The trick to pomegranates, in case you didn’t know, is to cut them in quarters, then take each quarter and submerge it in a bowl of water. Under water, use your fingers to gently separate the arils (the fleshy seeds, also sometimes called pips) from the rind. The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and any bits of the rind will float to the top. Do this with all 4 quarters, skim the rind bits off the top just with your hand, then you can use a colander to drain them if you want, but I just tip the bowl and use my hand to block the arils from falling out. Then I put the arils in a Tupperware container in the fridge and eat them whenever. I don’t know how long they keep because I usually eat them within a day or two, but I bet they would last at least 5 days, if not longer as long as they were refrigerated. Pomegranate arils are really similar in nature to grapes, just a lot smaller.

The only drawback to the water method is that the arils that were cut in half by the knife when you were quartering them get waterlogged so they sort of turn a purplish grey colour and their texture is mildly slimy. There are so few of them though, that when you’re eating the arils with a spoon, you don’t even really notice the waterlogged ones. I think a couple dozen waterlogged arils are better than the alternative of trying to eat a pomegranate by digging at it with a spoon. Pomegranate stains like crazy and trying to dig at one with a spoon is guaranteed to stain your clothes because the arils will squirt and puddle. The first time I had a pomegranate, I thought that was just how you ate them and I deemed them “bullshit” because there was so much mess for so little return. Then I learned about the water method.

Alternatively, you can buy pomegranate de-seeders – I have one – but I don’t like them. How they work is there’s like, a plastic flat part with big holes that you put over a bowl. Then you halve the pomegranate and place it face down on the flat part. Then there’s this rubber dome thing that goes over the pomegranate that you whack hard with either your hand or a rolling pin or something similar and theoretically the arils fall out of the pomegranate and through the holes into the bowl. In my experience, this method squishes more arils than the ones that fall off the rind so you’re left with a bowl full of squished arils and pomegranate juice. The water method is so much easier, less messy and just better in general if you’re a texture freak like I am. (Squished arils are worse than waterlogged arils, in my opinion. Also squished arils won’t last as long in the fridge.)

Anyway, pomegranates are awesome and ancient and I love everything about them so I took pictures of one I cut open this morning, using my macro lens. Honestly, I was just doing a “quick and dirty” photo shoot and I didn’t want to make a mess, so I just cut the pomegranate open, as opposed to trying to pry it open so it would look like this. Admittedly, that would have made for a better representation of the fruit, it would do it justice I guess, but A) I don’t know the trick to prying open pomegranates to make them look like that; B) I would have gotten pom juice all over everything and C) I’m lazy, just wanted to get it done and didn’t really care because I’m not trying to win whatever the photography equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize is. The assignment was about close ups, macro shots and depth of field and I covered all 3 with these pictures.

This is my beautiful pomegranate.
I did turn up the saturation a bit on this photo in Lightroom because it’s a grey day and the window & stove hood light were my light sources so the colour wasn’t exactly representative of the true hue.

In hindsight, I probably should have had a bounce/reflector on the right-hand side to compensate for that shadow.
I just didn’t think of it because I don’t generally use a bounce for anything.
(I do have a white piece of foamcore for this purpose, I just rarely use it because I forget.)

This photo was shot at f/8, ISO 400, 1/3 sec and it’s not really part of the assignment, it’s just an establishing shot, so to speak.

f/3.5, ISO 400, 1/15 sec.

For this picture and the rest of them, I didn’t mess with the colour in Lightroom.
The only thing I messed with was the clarity slider and only slightly.

 

f/4.5, ISO 400, 1/9 sec.

Same settings.
For the assignment, I was to take a picture of something and separate it from its background.
That’s what these shots of all 3 parts are supposed to do, except in the first one of all 3 parts, I wanted to show that when you play with depth of field, you can separate your subject from the foreground also.

f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/19 sec.
This is the lens’ lowest aperture and therefore the shallowest depth of field.
This is as separated the background segment was going to get with this lens.

f/5.6, ISO 400, 1/4 sec.

Honestly, with this one I was attempting to get the whole thing in focus but obviously I failed.

Same settings as above, just changing the focus to the front segment.

f/8, ISO 800, 1/4 sec.

This was the best I could do to get a full shot of the whole thing without a tripod because the shutter speed was too slow to compensate for shake and I didn’t want to raise the ISO further. I couldn’t raise the f.stop any more than that or all I’d get would be an even slower shutter speed and blurry pictures.

f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/13 sec.

This is the pic I’m using for my close up macro shot because that’s what it is.
They were all shot with a macro lens, but this is really the kind of shot it’s meant for.

I’m actually kinda proud of this one.

When I put the arils in the shot glass, immediately I knew the shot wasn’t going to work out as intended because they were wet and as such, they wouldn’t be clear and distinguishable in the shot glass. There would be water marks around each one against the glass.

So to solve that dilemma, I filled the shot glass with water.

And there ya have it.
My photography assignment.

In other news, Blake’s had a hard week and when he messaged me to say he was going to be late because something at work broke, he joked that I should send Madison to the Beer Store to buy him some beer because it’s been a bad work week. So I asked what kind, which he took as a joke considering Madison’s not old enough to buy beer, and said something like “I’m not picky.” Then he started talking about other things.

When Madison got home, I asked her if she would go to the Beer Store with me so I could surprise Blake with a case of beer. She said yes, and Wes didn’t want to go with us, so we said that if Blake called, to tell him we were out taking pictures. It only took us 20 minutes to go to the Beer Store, get the beer and come back home because the Beer Store is literally the closest store to our house. I had to take 2 clonazepams and 2 Ativans to walk there through the construction but I did it and I’m pretty sure Blake’s going to be really happy when he sees his surprise.

The plan for this evening is to eat KFC/Taco Bell, watch Cabin in the Woods and for Blake to drink his beer and relaaaaaax.

THE END.

1 Comment

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  1. scutterman says:

    The shot with the arils in the glass is absolutely fantastic. I’d love to see something like that with a colour changing LED drilled into the bottom. I know it’s not practical, but it’d look even more awesome.