Paper Shadow Macros

Table-top Studio

I’ve always been intrigued by the abstract lines, shapes, and shadows that are created simply by fanning out a stack of paper. After printing some greeting cards today I was playing with some cut-offs and decided to see what things looked like through a macro lens.

In about three minutes I had created a simple tabletop studio: white paper backdrop supported by my 80-200mm f/2.8; desk lamp with a 60 watt incandescent lightbulb as a light source; strips of heavyweight rag photo paper fanned out and held in place with bulldog clips as my subject; Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro on a Canon EOS M body; Manfrotto 190 series aluminum tripod with ball-head and Really Right Stuff Panoramic quick-release clamp mount.

I just played around with moving the paper and the camera around to get different graphic compositions. The EOS M wouldn’t focus the 100mm macro at such close distances, but that was okay, because using manual focus I was able to experiment more. I was shooting at 100 ISO to keep the noise down and had a bit of trouble getting perfect exposures — with the shutter speed set to about 2.5 seconds the EOS M live view histogram, exposure meter, exposure simulation, and final exposure never really matched up. I set the exposure using the live view histogram and then adjusted fire based on the post-exposure result.

After a little whiskey, and a bit of post-processing, I had a half dozen interesting abstract shots. Click the images to see larger, un-cropped versions.