Background Experiments

I purchased recently some new cards for use a backgrounds when shooting some macro.  Having a coloured card in the background gives a different effect when there is either messy vegetation beyond – or nothing, in which case the use of flash results in a black background.  Though sometimes the black background can work, I find sometimes the subject can get lost in the dark!     Amongst the cards that I bought were a set of glitter cards, which I tried out in the field for the first time, when I visited White Mill in the hunt for some Solitary Bees.

I thought the background would reflect more light back, and I think it generally does.  The glitter sparkles reflect the flashlight back – but can only be seen as glitter lights when the background is very close.

Although I did not find any bees posing on dandelions in this trip.  I did find this one on a nettle.  Where I was able to use some of the glitter card backgrounds.

Here are four of the colours.  Note the insects in this post were taken around 2.5 magnification on a Canon MPE-65mm Lens.

Minor Bee on Orange (Gold)
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (65mm, f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Minor Bee on Orange (Gold)
Minor Bee on Green
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (65mm, f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Minor Bee on Green
Minor Bee on Purple
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (65mm, f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Minor Bee on Purple
Minor Bee on Blue
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (65mm, f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO200)
Minor Bee on Blue

The last one, with the Blue card is a two shot hand held stack.

The other insect subject that I was able to get the cards in the background of, was a hoverfly.

Hoverfly on Green
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (65mm, f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO400)
Hoverfly on Green
Hoverfly on Purple
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (65mm, f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO400)
Hoverfly on Purple

Lastly – to show that they are glitter cards – I placed the blue one close to a dandelion flower that had gone to seed, and shot it using my Canon 100mm Lens.  The sparkling effect in the background is the flashlight bouncing off the glitter on the card.

Minor Bee on Blue
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV (100mm, f/11, 1/200 sec, ISO400)
Minor Bee on Blue

The added advantage of the glitter cards – apart from bouncing a bit of light back, is that they are firmer cards than my old A4 coloured card.  So are easier to  prop up and less floppy in the wind.  I certainly will be trying them out some more this year.

All images taken on Canon 5D MKIV with flash from Canon MT-24ex Twin Flash.

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