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  1. #1
    gma
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    Backgrounds for macro

    I plan to make some 8x10 matte finish enlargements of various textured surfaces to use for backgrounds for studio macro photographs of cacti and other small plants.

    I think agave would make a good background as well as tree bark and rough textured dark stone. I think an out of focus dark simple textured background looks much more natural than the stark black that is often used in macro work. Does anyone have suggestions for other materials?
    [FONT=Century Gothic][/FONT][SIZE=7][/SIZE][COLOR=DarkOrange][/COLOR] I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up!

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Can you keep these backgrounds in focus enough for the texture to show?
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    I use alot of natural green leafy type subjects for this type of work, depending on where your at in Texas another good one that I took while I was in east Texas was all of the various textured red dirt, and it has made for some great backgrounds.

    The grey wood of old buildings works great as well.

    Dave

  4. #4
    gma
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    I prefer simply a suggestion of background pattern to eliminate the clinical stark black that I see so often in macro studio shots. The background sheets will be printed in focus, but I can increase the distance behind the subject to lose focus. I will print each background in several shades of darkness to use with different subjects.

    I plan to use these outdoors as well to eliminate unwanted clutter behind flowers, cacti and other small subjects. I will need to make some sort of support for outdoor use.
    [FONT=Century Gothic][/FONT][SIZE=7][/SIZE][COLOR=DarkOrange][/COLOR] I may be getting older, but I refuse to grow up!

  5. #5

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    Depth of field in macro photography is so narrow that the background rarely turns into unwanted clutter. The clinical stark black you see so often in macro shots comes from the need of stopping down the lens - for maximum depth of field - to the point that you need a flash. With the shallow light from a ringflash or lateral light from a single-flash bracket, too little light reaches the background, resulting in that clinical black. Easier than carrying a series of backgrounds might be a small flash unit with a built-in slave, so you can choose what you want to illuminate as background and how much.
    Photos are made four inches behind the camera

  6. #6
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    Wallpaper samples come to mind. They are (usually) free and small/light enough to carry and easy to slip in behind the subject. I have seen them in wood and stone patterns. Linolium(sp?) flooring cut to size or maybe even tile if you can handle the extra weight. If you (or someone you know) have left over formica from countertops, that could also provide decent patterns.
    Or an enlarged photo of a pattern! Lightwieght and a DIY project.

  7. #7
    Andy K's Avatar
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    I used an old blue/green nylon tarpaulin the last time I did some macro. See album here.
    Last edited by Andy K; 07-11-2005 at 10:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  8. #8

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    For a support acouple of things come to mind. An "Elmer's" brand display board for school projects. It's free standing & weighs practically nothing. Cost is around $5 at craft stores. Another option is the wire frames used on vote for ? signs. Light & compact you would do the community a service by picking a couple of them up since the politicos never do.

  9. #9
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    I tried using aluminum foil for backgorund... really interesting
    Mama took my APX away.....

  10. #10

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    Why not make or have made for you various prints or transparencies of a natural suject matter? I would suggest that something like Arista Lith filmwhich is reasonalble in price and can be nothing more than a projection made from a negative with the latent image bleached in Potassium Ferricyanide would allow you to create a number of backgrounds transpaerncies that would have no depth to them. If you are working in color then you could use a color print or a Duraflex transparency for a background. The use of Polaroid foils and a Polarizer on your camera would give easy control of reflections at the loss of 4 f stops.

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