Serrano peppers are among the spiciest chili peppers available in the
United States. Registering between 10,000 and 20,000 Scoville heat units,
the peppers are about 4 times hotter than jalapeños. (f/18, 125th, 1600 ISO, Daylight White Balance)

Self Critique

I’ve found recently that I’ve been making mistakes while shooting that I only discover after the shoot is over. For this assignment, the incident meter gave an exposure of about 8½ at 125th and 200 ISO. When I set my camera to 8½ at 125th, the picture was quite overexposed. Unfortunately, I had set my camera at 1600 ISO for a moment, but I forgot to set it back to 200. So my image was about 2½ stops overexposed. Thinking that I was misunderstanding something about the lights, I stopped down to f/18 in order to get a better exposure. When looking at my pictures on my computer, I found out that my confusion was totally my fault, I had the wrong ISO, and I just about died. I felt so sick over it that I think I will start compulsively checking my ISO from now on.

In setting up my shot, I put a large softbox on the boom and set it about 2 feet from the metal fork so that the base of the fork was white. The prongs were reflecting something in the studio, so I set a large white reflector under the fork to make the prongs white. I added an additional medium softbox on the right side about 4 feet away to even out the lighting in the back. I placed another white reflector on the left side to minimize the shadows under the fire extinguisher and the non-flaming pepper. I wasn’t totally successful with minimizing the shadow because the reflector was not able to reflect enough light. If I were shooting this again, I would add an additional light on the left side to get rid of the shadow. I placed a piece of black paper under the large softbox to reflect off the fork to give it definition. For that image I picked, I shot at f/18, 125th at 1600 ISO (which pains me to type). I’m not totally satisfied with this assignment, but I definitely learned some lessons that I probably won’t soon forget.