Critique This octopus likes wine!

Sep 13, 2007
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
The requirements of positioning the physical objects and doing the special post-processing made this probably the most difficult tabletop photo I've ever made. Also one of the most fun to make!

Lighting for Capture #1 and #2
The background (not dispalyed in the final image) made of translucent vellum was lit from behind by two medium continuous-light lamps. That lighting outlined the wine and wine glass in dark tones. In Capture #1, a small continuous-light lamp lit the octopus from above and slightly behind it. That lamp was turned off in Capture #2 to prevent any reflections of it from being displayed in the wine glass and wine.

Physical Objects in Capture #1 and #2
The tabletop under the octopus is transparent glass raised about 1 1/2" above white foam core. The glass prevented the foam core from being ruined by the wet octopus but also prevented shadows from being cast, which was a problem that was solved as explained below. The tabletop glass was raised so I could shoot from below the subjects but I ultimately decided to shoot only from above them.

Capture #1: The wine glass on top of two small containers was included only so I could wrap the tentacle around the stem at a height that was above the rest of the octopus. Two strings suspended from above lifted the tentacle.

Capture #2: Wine was poured into the glass and the glass was then tilted.

Special Post-processing
The extraneous items in Capture #1 were removed. The wine glass was moved from Capture #2 to Capture #1 and reduced in size. Parts of the glass stem were erased to allow the tentacle to wrap around it. A texture from was added to fill the frame with a desktop. Shadows were added to the desktop to simulate shadows that would have been displayed if an opaque tabletop rather than a transparent tabletop had been used.

Final Image
Mike 2020-01-28--005-S.jpg
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Capture #1
Mike 2020-01-28--001-S.jpg
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Capture #2
Mike 2020-01-28--004-N.jpg
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Last edited:


European Ambassador
Dec 29, 2011
Tettnang, Germany
Real Name
Oh! WOW!
The final picture is excellent, Mike.
And the story behind it is fascinating too.


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