Salt and Pepper Shakers -- Take Two

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I made a photo of my friends' old salt and pepper shakers in the context of a dining room table and that photo is displayed at https://www.nikoncafe.com/threads/salt-and-pepper-shakers.328565/ The photo displayed below is made in a very different style.

EDIT: After posting the first image here, I realized that I didn't like that the entire rear of the tabletop is not in focus. So, I made the second photo by stacking twice as many images to keep that rear area in focus.

Setup
It was too difficult to effectively photograph the setup, so I'm resorting to explaining it. Most important, the room has a black floor, black ceiling and black walls to ensure that there would be no unwanted reflections in the shiny metal. The front area of the tabletop is translucent, mottled art paper on top of transparent glass lit from below by a small continuous-light lamp fitted with two diffusion socks and a paper towel to reduce the brightness. The rear area of the tabletop is black velvet. The background is black poster board far enough away from the subject that the horizon line of where the black velvet and black poster board meet is not detectable. A white reflector parallel to the tabletop and above the scene lit the top of the subjects. White reflectors on the left and right sides lit those sides of the subjects. For the first image, fifteen focus-bracketed images at Nikon step size 3 were stacked in Helicon Focus at its default settings. Thirty images were stacked to make the second photo.

Mike 2021-07-27--0002-S.jpg
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Mike 2021-07-27--0002A-S.jpg
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I too prefer #2. Looking at the first I was thinking that a black tabletop would be great—the shakers are exquisitely captured, but the tabletop less so. #2 made me change my mind—such a subtle improvement makes a huge difference. Me thinks the matching sharpness helps.
 
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Thanks, Nick!

Looking at the first I was thinking that a black tabletop would be great

A black tabletop would work great, especially if it reflects the subjects. The only reason I didn't make it that way is because I was in the mood to try something different from the norm. Ironically, though I wanted to try using the tabletop lit from below, I don't think I would know the tabletop was lit that way if I hadn't done it myself.
 
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Beautifully captured and processed, Mike!

I agree on the second version. I prefer this as well over the first one. Probably because the focus drop-off on the table in #1 is looking a bit strange.
Have you thought about an old fashioned selective focussing on the patterns of the shakers?
I think this would make the shakers stand out nicely and the focus drop-off on the table would probably be more natural looking.
Just a thought.
 
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Thanks, Bart!

Have you thought about an old fashioned selective focussing on the patterns of the shakers?

No, I haven't thought about that possibility probably because I had my mind so set on keeping the entirety of both shakers in focus. I would have to try your idea because right now my mind is preventing me from adequately imagining it.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Thanks, Bart!



No, I haven't thought about that possibility probably because I had my mind so set on keeping the entirety of both shakers in focus. I would have to try your idea because right now my mind is preventing me from adequately imagining it.
I totally understand. I would have the same difficulty with such a switch.
 

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