I did this one for the "Complementary Colors V" contest at dpchallenge.com--as you might imagine, the theme for that contest was to use two complementary colors. Unfortunately, I missed the submission deadline by about fifteen minutes.
I feel like every time I set out to make a pre-planned, studio-type shot, I end up frustrated. I'm used to heading out the door with a location and a vague concept, and just seeing what I can find. I like opening myself up to possibilities and seeing what I can find. But when I start with a clear vision for an image and actually move the furniture in my kitchen around to make some studio space, things just never work out the way I planned. Moreover, I'm just never all that happy with the end result. This shot isn't bad, I don't think, but there's something about the textures and the lighting that just feel amateurish to me.
Still, I guess the only way to improve is to keep at it.
Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 DX lens, and Nikon SB-400 flash. Manual exposure mode and manual flash mode. Aperture f/2.8, shutter 1/500 sec, ISO 400. Flash is set to (I think) 1/64 power, and positioned at camera left, just below the level of the table. Post-processing in Aperture 3: Hold Highlights preset; curve to increase contrast; added edge sharpening.
Thoughts for improvement: I don't really know what this shot needs. Something different with the lighting, but I don't know what. Maybe multiple lights, with a hard key and some diffuse fill, maybe a snooted light to make a really hard shadow. Anyone with suggestions, I'd love to hear them.