Possible white background for macros and other objects

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by fjp, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. fjp

    fjp

    50
    Mar 18, 2005
    I noticed an ad in the August Popular photography for a dazzling white background for taking pictures of small objects. I like to do this and am quite often bothered by a distracting background. I know about light boxes but thought they were just a little too fussy for casual shooting. So I jumped at this device. I prepared a pbase gallery documenting my experience with it. It's called the D-Flector. Here is a link to the gallery:

    http://www.pbase.com/fjp/dflector_2005_06_jun_23

    Here is a photo of the device itself:

    45218610.df055.

    And here are a couple three samples using the device. I'm using very simple lighting here, hence shadows appear. In the gallery I discuss the use of multiple remote flashes, but I don't have any to try. Maybe in the middle of October I'll get a couple and try it out.
    45218344.df022.
    45218353.df050.
    45241890.df051.

    I think it has possibilities for quick knockoffs. I hope this will be of interest to a few.
     
  2. Looks like a quick and easy background to use. The problem is that you still have to contend with the dark shadow behind the subject. I built a white foam core box and there is enough light bouncing around that it eliminates the shadow. Here is an example:

    37284978.
     
  3. fjp

    fjp

    50
    Mar 18, 2005
    The shadow problem is discussed extensively in the gallery. For your example, how did you set up the lighting?
     
  4. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    I thought the D-Flector press release looked cool too Frank. To eliminate the shadows, try putting a slave flash (or even a reflector) clamped to the top of the box, so the light goes down the back into the shadow. I could really use something like this that could travel to a location with virtually no set-up time.

    I love that picture Gordon, it looks so serene.
     
  5. Gale

    Gale

    978
    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Wow You were very busy. So what do you think after all this.

    Interesting things you have around the house. :>)))

    How would this compare to two white foam core boards.
     
  6. I just took one SB800 off camera and pointed it from slightly above and to the left of the subject. I don't think it makes a lot of difference as all four walls and the back are white. This allows the light to bounce around all over the place. The only opening in the box is the front.
     
  7. fjp

    fjp

    50
    Mar 18, 2005
    After all this, I'm wondering whether I wasted my money.
     
  8. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    Like any other piece of photographic paraphenalia, this device will requre practice to become proficient. I'd suggest trying it with some white panel reflectors (such as foam core board or stiff paper.)

    Your curved back incline will eliminate the corner that is either visible, or cloned out of virtually every white backgrounded photo done with a flat sheet light box.

    And it looks like you could also use pieces of colored paper, or plastic sheet on the dflector, ... or if you have a projector ... ;) It looks to me like a real fun (and probably lucrative) item - and I plan to get one, if it's not too much $$ and doesn't break right away.
     
  9. fjp

    fjp

    50
    Mar 18, 2005
    I hope to find time today to try two experiments. First, a white panel reflector (those 13"x19" pieces of white cardboard that come with packages of printer paper the same size) on the side where the shadows are appearing, possibly on both sides. But I was hoping this device would be self-contained. The second thing I'll try is bounce flash. Just taking pictures of people eliminates shadows when I do this. Unfortunately, my ceilings are high and I can rarely go higher than f5.6. I need a flash about four times as powerful as the SB-800. I had one in the form of a Metz handle flash but I haven't tried to see whether it's useful with the D2x.
     
  10. fjp

    fjp

    50
    Mar 18, 2005
    I forgot to address these two comments. It's pretty expensive: $130 without postage, and there's not much to break. Should last a lifetime if the material itself doesn't age and crack.
     
  11. fjp

    fjp

    50
    Mar 18, 2005
    Further experiments with D-Flector

    I tried bouncing the flash off the ceiling. There isn't enough light to activate the D-Flector and you get an ugly, murky background. I tried putting white cardboard to the left and aiming the flash in that direction so it would bounce off the cardboard and perhaps wash out the shadows. It had utterly no effect, like it wasn't there. I suspect this is because the flash returned by the D-Flector absolutely overwhelms it. My best result believe it or not came from pounding the flash directly on the object with no diffuser. Maybe I'm impatient, but I am quickly losing interest in this device. Anyhow, see the new gallery I set up illustrating these problems:
    http://www.pbase.com/fjp/df_2005_06_jun_25

    Here are a couple examples:

    This required about fifteen minutes of Photoshop work erasing shadows. I just wanted to find out the possibilities. Sloppy work, but it looks like it could be done. The D-Flector is just part of the process, though.
    45293307.df016.

    It looks like only dark objects are very promising with the D-Flector. When I get a little funding, I'm going to try something else. Right now, I really can't recommend this device. But like I said, maybe I'm just too impatient.
    45293309.df018.
     
  12. A second flash focused on the background would eliminate the shadow.
     
  13. fjp

    fjp

    50
    Mar 18, 2005
    I've been spending so much money on photo equipment lately that I'd be a dead man if I bought another flash right now. The beginning of October (ESPP time) is my next window of opportunity. In the meantime, I'm just going to use it as my plain, featureless background that I'm always looking for, and forget the fancy stuff.
     
  14. Chris101

    Chris101

    Feb 2, 2005
    Arizona
    I just went with a friend of mine who is a low budget photographer. She bought a little slave thing that has a sensor in a half inch dome and a wire that connects to the flash, and the cheapest flash unit she could find - all for under $40!

    The other idea I have is to bounce off a reflector held right above the object, but out of the frame. Just hold it by hand.

    A curved surface (like your device) is what all the pros use for seamless product photography. Play with the light! Use diffusers, reflectors, try bulbs instead of flash, take it out into the sun, what ever it takes. Your test shots show real promise!
     
  15. Here's what Chris talk about the slave is the one with the eye in front and the small round thing in a multi connector.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. fjp

    fjp

    50
    Mar 18, 2005
    I really admire people who can jury-rig together a bunch of inexpensive equipment and achieve fully professional looking results. Alas, I am not one of these people. I have the personality defect where half of the enjoyment I get out of photography is handling compact and highly finished products built for specific purposes. Unfortunately, this also costs a lot more money which means I can't always instantly respond to the "right" solution. But I have so many projects demanding my time that I can put up with waiting until the funding comes along. That's what I am going to have to do to come up with my "style" solution to this shadow business, which you talk about next.

    I've experimented with the D-Flector now for three full days and have learned its limitations. In October I'll be getting an SB-600 to do just what you suggest here. In the meantime I'll keep busy with plenty of other projects demanding my attention and I won't be bothered with impatience waiting for the time when I won't feel guilty sprinting for the SB-600.

    Today I spent the whole day experimenting with the D-Flector in available light. I spent hours putting together a gallery explaining and illustrating the results, so I hope my effort won't be wasted and people will visit it. I don't want to burden this thread with any more images, so I'll start a new one and give a brief summary of my results. This new gallery is here:

    http://www.pbase.com/fjp/df_2005_06_jun_26
     
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