Critique Still Life -- Thanksgiving Day Wine & Centerpiece

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The wine is a high-end Pinot Noir recommended by a Master Sommelier. It will be paired with guinea fowl and a couple side dishes for our upcoming Thanksgiving dinner. The centerpiece was created by my wife a couple weeks ago and it will remain on our dining room table through the week of Thanksgiving.

EDIT: Jim suggested that the chair in the upper left corner should have been blurred more. I like that idea and the revised version added to this post includes that change.


Setup
Dark brown presentation paper underneath the transparent glass tabletop eliminated distracting, bright light seen through the tabletop. Black flags on the right eliminated unwanted reflections on the wine bottle. A medium continuous-light lamp in the right front area added to the ambient, natural light.

Focus Stacking
20 focus-bracketed images at Nikon step size 3 were stacked in Helicon Focus using its default settings.

Original
Mike 2020-11-07--0003-S.jpg
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Revision
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Gevry Chambertin! Wow.

Well done on the lighting. I do find the furniture in the upper LH corner a bit distracting. Ideally, I might try going with f/4 and some focus stacking to minimize that intrusion (or move the chair or whatever that is).

Added in edit: Sorry, I missed your mention of focus stacking, but I still would have used f/4 rather than f/8.
 
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Thank you to Miriam and Jim!

I do find the furniture in the upper LH corner a bit distracting. Ideally, I might try going with f/4...rather than f/8.
I like your suggestion, so I added a revised version of the image to the first post of the thread. The scene and setup were already broken down by the time I saw your idea so I made the increased blur happen using the Miniature Effect tool in Perspective Efex, which is part of DxO's Nik Collection. You're right that it's a chair. Thanks for the great idea!

To explain how the scene evolved, when I first created it only the wine bottle was added to my wife's centerpiece. That left too much in the top left area devoid of interest, so I added the place setting. It looked really weird to have a place setting with no chair, so I returned the chair to its normal place at the table. There is no question in my mind that the use of the place setting and chair improved the scene. Keep in mind that I had strong instructions (from you know who) that I was not to move anything in the centerpiece, so I was limited about how to construct an ideal scene.
 
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Thank you also to Nick and Allan!

I have to admit that the process of setting up everything was really odd for me. That's because whereas I usually take items to my makeshift studio and set up a scene, this time I had to take many items from my makeshift studio to the scene. A very rare occurrence for me.
 
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Great image in many ways Mike. Great lighting, very nice colors and excellent design. I remember you saying that ' Designing is my weakest point in photohgraphy' in the past and I can see that you have improved so much that you might give designing lessons to other photographers now (y)
 
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Thank you, Binnur!

you might give designing lessons to other photographers now
Such a very nice compliment! Though I'm a lot more comfortable designing a scene than when I got started with tabletop photography, that aspect of the process is still the most difficult and least successful for me. So, I won't be giving design lessons to anyone.

The one bit of solace for me is that when it comes to professional food photography, the scenes in commercial photos apparently are often designed by professional designers who then turn the process over to the photographers to make it happen.
 
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