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The Romanesco

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The Romanesco

One afternoon, when product photography was a tad boring…

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As part of our work I provide product photography for companies. It’s often an interesting technical challenge, but whilst photographing five complex widgets is fun, photographing 500 can become a bit of a chore.


Overall, I much prefer location based product photography in factories and manufacturing plants, where the items are bigger than my car and need a forklift to move them…

Anyway, Karen had acquired a novel vegetable, one I’d not seen before…

It’s a relative of the Cauliflower called the Romanesco [WP] – it tastes of chestnuts when raw and very lightly steamed, it’s been added to the (not that huge) range of vegetables I quite like.

Romanesco broccoli, or Roman cauliflower, is an edible flower of the species Brassica oleracea.

But more importantly it’s a really obvious example of a fractal form.

I’m in the process of writing a review of the new Nik Silver Efex Pro V2 plugin to convert colour images to black and white so wanted a few more images to test.

Anyway, the real products were put back in their box and I took a few shots of the Romanesco.

A few techy details

Photos taken with a Canon 1Ds Mk3.

Hence the originals are at 21MP and considerably reduced here.

Lens was a Canon TS-E90 90mm tilt shift lens, with and without 65mm of extension tubes (to get close)

Lit with flat panels of CFL lighting. Images processed in Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS5.

Plugins used Nik Viveza2Nik Silver Efex V2 and Nik Sharpener Pro for sharpening for web images.

The weird green fractal cauliflower

These were bought for eating, although Karen (who designs jewellery) did admit that the shape had had more a passing influence in the purchase ;-)

As such they have a few more ‘imperfections’ than I’d want, if this was a paying job (where you’d probably get several dozen to pick the ‘best looking one’)

detail of romanesco

The fractal geometry of vegetables

fractal pattern of romanesco broccoli

Below, the whole thing (at about real life size on my screen)

I can almost see this as a classic ‘kitchen photo’ – perhaps I should print a square version on canvas ;-)

vegetable - whole romanesco

Cut in half

romanesco sliced in half

Move your mouse over the one below to see a different version.

Original ImageHover Image

Further self-similar detail, the further in you look.

repetative fractal patterns in romanesco

Anyway, enough of that. I’ve some boring non edible shots to finish…

Note – for businesses in the UK, I also provide product photography training, for companies wishing to do some of their own product photography.

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