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Reimu, made by my suite-mate and a star of the Touhou Project games.

Reimu, made by my suite-mate and a star of the Touhou Project games.

Cruising around on the internet I came across a brief article on how to make a macro studio for dirt cheap. This was almost as exciting as finding instructions on how to make a cheap panoramic tripod head out of plywood (if I only had access to the needed tools I would make it).

With nothing better to do, or more accurately no desire to do anything else I made a shoddy little macro studio. One set of instructions suggested a large piece of white paper, butcher paper would have been ideal, an off camera flash would also help greatly and don’t mention the needed macro lens. Since I was making a cheap paper box I correspondingly did not have any of these, not even the paper.

What I did have was printer paper, two desk lights, two LED flashlights and my trusty 50mm f/1.8 lens. I read the instructions, tried them and failed at the folding since I really was not reading it, however I did come up with an almost passable little set up. Here is a shot of what my desk looked like after this macro studio venture:

My desk after being inspired to build a macro studio.

My desk after being inspired to build a macro studio.

At first I calibrated my white balance, exposure and camera angle using my trusty desk knife. One of my limitations is that I did not have long enough paper so that I only had a small level area to work with, if I went farther out I encountered the seam between the pieces of paper. One advantage I did have was I had a willing subject. My suite-mate is big on origami and making paper creations and they happen to be about the right size for my studio.

While he was not looking I abducted Reimu from his desk to star in my little experiment in macro photography. I felt that it went well, I realized afterwards that my white balance was off but a little editing solved that problem. Two other issues arose: I could have really used some black paper as a backdrop and I now need a true macro lens. An off camera flash might also be beneficial, or maybe a more useful 4100 lumen flashlight.

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