Still Life with Pears

This photo was inspired by a painting of four pears I saw at an art show. It’s not the same by any stretch, but the idea of pears reflecting on a surface on a black background is not unique to the photo. I’m pretty happy with this image. What do you think?





  1. Your skills are absolutely stunning photographs, all at the highest level

  2. Splendid !
    I love your work on the the tones and the lightning.
    Great “nature morte” !

  3. Nice photo! It’s hard to tell that it is a photograph even; it looks like a painting. It reminds me of a lot of still life paintings that came from the renaissance period. Nice work!

  4. # 1 fan says:

    This is so much more stunning in this photo than facetime. Really, really nice!!

  5. I really like the image it almost looks like it was painted and not shot.

  6. Hi Ronald,
    excellent work. I don’t want to repeat what other people have already said but I agree that it looks very much like a painting. It reminds me of a painting by Linda Tenukas. Here is a link for you if you want to check it out: – Thank you.
    Ashley recently posted Nikon Coolpix P7000 Review

  7. I guess this is really nice. The capture of the pears on the surface is just beautifully done. Kudos to you.

  8. I really like your photos. Can you recommend any photography tutorial or something like that? I don’t think i am that talented, therefore I’d try to learn something :-)

  9. Gorgeous – the coloring makes it really look like one of those still life paintings, I would’ve been able to tell that’s what you were going for even without the title. Looks good enough to eat! ;)

  10. You turned 7 pears into a quite suggestive photo. Congrats!

  11. You’re art is fantastic! Those pears should be proud of themselves you picked them for this photo shoot :)

  12. I see some kind of analogy for a people line up (maybe soldiers) , and one of them is on the ground…Am I right?

  13. I only see some pears in a black background :D

  14. How to respond? Part of taking a good photo, in my opinion… especially a still life… is in allowing room for interpretation by the viewer. I’ll let John & James take it from there.

    (and thanks, Aiko).

  15. Love the colors here – did you have to tweak them at all or is this mostly what they looked like originally?

    • This is pretty close to straight out of the camera. I underexposed this manually to get it to the rich, dark black. I didn’t adjust the colors at all. I added a little light in the middle of the spectrum to bring out the highlights a little, but not much else.

  16. Hello James, I really like what you do. Here’s the common feature of most of your pictures: you take regular objects (i.e pins, pears etc) and you capture them in an uncommon situation or an uncommon angle.
    You’re doing a great job :-)

  17. Hello James! I am a fan of your work and I’d like an advice from you, if possible! Can you recommend a good and yet affordable professional camera that I can buy? I don’t have much money to spend on this, but I’d try to buy a good used one. Can you recommend anything?

    • There are two sides to this equation – first, the camera body, and second, the lens. Of the two, the lenses are more important than the camera body.

      I can’t give advice on Canon equipment, because I shoot Nikon. As for “professional” equipment, if you like my results, you don’t need to go that far. A professional camera body will cost at least $3,000, and lenses start around $1,700 or more. A used professional lens will cost almost as much as a new lens, so it’s hard to save much money here.

      My gear is more in the semi-pro, or high-end amateur range. For example, my camera body is a Nikon D90, which has a nice sensor and reasonable low-light performance. Nikon recently released the D7000 as the D90′s replacement, so you can find some used D90s at a reasonable price.

      If you don’t care about taking videos, go to the D90′s predecessor, the D80. It does not do well with video, but has almost as much other capability as a D90. These cameras are all at least a few years old. Nikon fans who owned a D80 but want something in the true “pro” range would be willing to part with one for half of what a gently used D90 would cost.

      At one step lower, the D5000 was recently replaced with the D5100, and is very similar to the D90. I like the D5000 a lot, and nearly bought one instead of the D90.

      That’s my camera body advice… as for a lens, I have two recommendations.

      First, the Nikkor 50mm “nifty fifty” is the least expensive lens worth owning. At less than $200 U.S. new, you can’t go wrong. The only issue this lens has is it does not zoom… so if you want a closer shot, you have to walk closer. Want to zoom out? Walk backwards. I think I paid $135 for mine, and I love it.

      If you want a zoom lens, I would not buy a cheap Nikkor zoom lens. They’re okay, and I got some great shots out of mine, but I’m really enjoying my Tamron 28-75mm lens a LOT more than my Nikkor 18-105mm. The aperture opens much wider, and that gives a lot more flexibility in setting up the shot you want. I’d rather have a smaller zoom range but a wider aperture for almost all situations. This pears image was taken with my Tamron lens, and it is one of my favorites this year.

      The Nikkor 18-105 is cheaper; around $360 new. The Tamron is closer to $500 new. I own both, and don’t even use the Nikkor any more (want to buy mine?). If you’re looking for used glass, the Tamron sells a little lower because it doesn’t have the Nikon name attached to it, so you can get this lens for about the same amount as the Nikkor (comparing used to used)… it’s a good buy, in my limited experience. The only thing is you may want to try before you buy so you know you’re not getting a damaged lens.

      That’s a lot of info from me without knowing your specific situation. Drop me a note here or on the contact form with specifics, and I can help you narrow it down more.

      Oh, one last piece of advice: If you have access to someone else’s Nikon or Canon lenses, it might makes sense to stick to that brand. Both companies make great stuff. I like Nikon more, but I think it comes down to personal preference. When I was buying my camera, I liked the way the D90 felt in my hands, so that’s what I went with… but I would have been just as happy with Canon equipment if that was where I happened to land.

      Good luck!


  18. Thanks a lot for the advice, James! That was very kind of you :-) I’ll get back to you this weekend, as it’s then I know exactly how much money I’ll spend on a camera! Many thanks again!

  19. William Rose @ fz47 says:

    Really nice photo! What did you take that with?

  20. Pretty dark picture for me, but I think that is its best attribute. The little reflection under the pears despite the background dark is wonderfully done. Something that I would to hang on the wall of my dining room.

  21. Gorgeous! At Christmas we always have those big juicy Harry and David pears, that’s what this photo makes me think of. I wish it was December already!

    • Oh, yes, I LOVE Harry and David pears. I don’t know what they do to make them taste so good. They’re like the crack of the fruit kingdom. I’m thinking about planting some pears next year… and can only hope they come out this well.

  22. I remember seeing a painting of pears at an art exhibit. I wonder if we have see the same picture?

  23. I just can’t get enough of your photography! This is another nice image, I really like the darkness. It gives the photo a very serious tone, making the pears seem really important. Keep up the good work!

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