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Sandstorm - Buddy Group 2 - macro

By Pete      
Here's my entry for our macro group challenge

I'd seen the idea of using a softbox and a shape to reflect in a water droplet many moons ago but never had a go. So this challenge was an ideal opportunity to try something different (for me anyway).

A cut out of an umbrella using some black paper, was stuck to the front of a lightbox (upside down) Then a drop of gelatine (looks like a water droplet but stay in place easier) was dropped onto a sheet of sandpaper.

I then used a macro lens to crop in fairly close but I wanted the droplet small in the frame trying to get a landscape-like feel. I used a wide aperture to keep the foreground and background soft so the focus and sharpness is just on the droplet

Tags: Close-up and macro Flash and lighting

Voters: C_Daniels, WildLight, Tony_M and 14 more

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pennyspike 18 2.1k 29 United Kingdom
23 Jun 2009 11:49PM
I didn't immediately see the umbrella which is probably why pictures of this type often get overlooked.
It is an imaginative response to the subject and I like the attention to focus that has produced such a tight band in sharp focus.
I'm not too sure about the use of a sheet of sandpaper as the drop is a bit overwhelmed by it, and wonder if you experimented with a variety of materials before deciding on that one.
Tony_M 17 342 England
23 Jun 2009 11:50PM
An interesting photo - and thanks for sharing your motivation and technique.

Pete 20 18.8k 97 England
24 Jun 2009 12:27AM

Quote:and wonder if you experimented with a variety of materials before deciding on that one

Just two, both taken this evening. I've uploaded the other version, which was more like the one I saw in a book years ago.
24 Jun 2009 2:31AM
wow, version 2 for me although they are both very good i think the second one draws my attention to it more!! good work!! im gonna have to save up for a macro lens to do this! or alternatively i could stick the kids on Ebay............ Hmmmmmmmmm very tempting Tongue
pennyspike 18 2.1k 29 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2009 10:18AM
Think V2 looks good, the brolly is much more of a feature against the plain background and the multiple drops make for more impact.
Not sure about bottom left lighter bit.
Thanks for sharing the technique.
rowarrior 13 4.4k 9 Scotland
24 Jun 2009 12:06PM
I like both versions.

With V1 my only slight annoyance is that the drop isn't perfectly round, it seems to have a wee bite taken out of it on the right, I presume because with the texture of the sandpaper it prevented it forming as well as on the wallpaper. I like the placement on the sheet of sandpaper though and the DOF you went for.

With V2, I agree with Penny re the bottom left hand corner, that change of texture/coloure in the wallpaper is a bit bothersome.

It's a fun technique though, I do like this, and it's yet another idea I've picked up from this challenge to have a go at in my copious (ahem!) spare time!
Coleslaw 16 13.4k 28 Wales
24 Jun 2009 12:41PM
V1 is a bit soft.
V2 is better as it shows off the umbrella much better.
NEWMANP 13 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2009 12:46PM
V1 looks quite plain as a thumb with no striking features but to great extent redeems itself when opened,
i like the colour of the sandpaper and the droplets beautifully sharp, i also like the effect of the narrow band of sharpness diagonally across frame which i guess was created by blur over the affected areas.
i find the composition a little uncomfortable as the droplet feels slightly out of position, i wonder if it would have been better if the sharp zone had been corner to corner with the droplet sitting on the diagonal nearer the third. (im not slavish about them but they do seem more harmonious than such a central position.) i think the composition disharmony may be exagerated by the slightly longer horizontal dimension than would be normal on a shot of this type.
the reflection in the droplet i have mixed feelings about, for me a bit corny but hey its not my picture. i would be just as happy with no reflection and shape and perhaps more of a rim lighting.
it certainly fits the macro theme and not bad for a quick session. i think the idea could develop a lot further though.

V2 for me was moving in the right direction with the cut out theme but i am not happy with area of contrast bottom left but the grouping of blobs is quite fun and would have been ok on their own.

hope you dont mind the comments and please dont press the "prevent this guy from ever entering the premier" button.
mattmatic 17 598
24 Jun 2009 12:54PM
Very cool Smile
...and a D700 as well? Tongue
MaryMac 15 258 1 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2009 1:01PM
I didnt see the brolly at first then thought it very clever when I did. I feel it blends too much against the sand paper and wondered can you colour glycerine with something ? Hmm off to experiment before I say anymore
(Well I have just done a test using both liquid and powdered food colouring and it colours the glycerine drop beautifully ) so perhaps if you had used a coloured glycerine drop it would have stood out a bit more but the concept is really clever and the focus is spot on

tigertimb 13 40 66 United Kingdom
24 Jun 2009 4:07PM
I agree with some others that the droplet doesn't stand out a huge amount and think I'd prefer it a little higher up the frame, but I love the irony of the droplet needing an umbrella and the narrow band of focus creating a path for it to walk down
Nick_w Plus
14 4.3k 99 England
24 Jun 2009 7:39PM
I'm trying to review this without reading any of the other comments, so please forgive me if I repeat some of the points. first up I like the concept the composition is good and quite quirky. To me on this screen it doesnt look critically sharp. It also looks like some of the limited DOF has been added in PS, as it impinges on the bottom of the droplet, and looks too defined.

I was going to say it would look good in mono then I saw version 2. Looks like an advertising image from one of the Building Societies.
wyatturp 16 2 England
24 Jun 2009 11:02PM
Good effect must try this
LisaRose 14 172 4 United States
3 Jul 2009 12:19AM
I like this a lot.


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