Who would think that an image of a simple bowl of popcorn could be so much fun to play around with in post processing?

Last evening, while hubs was at poker, I decided to make myself some popcorn to enjoy with a bit of TV viewing.

My first thought as I poured it from the bag was that whatever brand of microwave popcorn hubs had purchased, was swimming in far too much “butter” for my liking. Sure enough, the label read, “movie theatre butter” … a pretty good tip that it would be almost soggy. I knew I’d be unable to eat this, so I wondered what else I could use it for so that its short life out of the paper bag would have some purpose.

An upside was that almost every kernel popped and it did look pretty with an overhead light shining on it. Aha! A photo and blog post idea! I had never photographed popcorn before, so phone camera in hand, I began to pose my new model for a few shots.

Directly overhead was ok, but for my feature photo, I decided on the crop, because it more clearly showed the unpopped kernel.

Original Photo

I tried several different edits in post processing, including a black and white rendering. I’m not sure if I like this one, Do you?

Black and White – Neutral Setting

My last edit was to add some vignette to the uncropped original, and except for the darkened borders giving the kernels on the table a scorched appearance, I liked this effect. Vignette is one of my favourite tools for still life, but it can be fickle. I tried using the selective tool to brighten up those “fallen” kernels a bit, but it didn’t make a noticeable difference.


Who would have ever thought that an unloved bowl of microwave popcorn would provide so much enjoyment?

Those unpopped kernels seemed to be a good analogy for the hidden joys and treasures we sometimes don’t see when disappointment is in the forefront.

“Every once in a while, someone will mail me a single popcorn kernel that didn’t pop. I’ll get out a fresh kernel, tape it to a piece of paper, and mail it back to them.”

Orville Redenbacher