Macro Backgrounds: Black or Blue? By Andrew Sallmon

Macro Backgrounds: Black or Blue?
To show the same macro subject with either a natural blue background or a blacked out background you need to use a number of techniques. The first is to use a high shutter speed like 1/250th sec. for black out, or a low shutter speed (like 1/30 – 1/60th sec.) for a more natural blue background.
That alone is usually not enough though. Most macro images are produced at the f16 to f22 range. While those f-stops work great for added depth of field and to darken a background, a wider aperture is needed for a natural blue background. Somewhere around f8 to f11 works very well, provided there is ample sunlight.
Finally, and this could be the most important concept, that is the strobe lighting. In order to get a properly lit subject with a defined outline, you need a good flexible arm set.
BtS flex arms allow the myraid of strobe positions needed to correctly light the subject. For these two images I used a set of BtS FA-21″-BMA flex arms. The 21″ arms allow me the reach that I needed to create a 90 degree sidelight with one strobe, that reduces backscatter and gives a sharply defined outline, and a 45 degree angled light from the other strobe, that fills the shadows caused by the sidelight and also provides ample front light for detail, color and contrast.
BtS Flex arms allow me to make quick and subtle changes to my macro lighting without the need to loosen or tighten a bunch of clamps. The Ball Mount Adapter (BMA) on the end of the BtS flex arms allows me to use the same 1″ Base Mount Ball Adapter (BMBA) that my ball-jointed rigid arms that I use for wide angle require.
BtS offers 70 different flex arm combinations, in 10 different lengths, from 1/2″ to 3/4″ and can accommodate every strobe and LED video light on the market. You can’t beat BtS arms for their strength, versatility and reliability.

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