Assignment 5: Still Life


Laura Zehender: Paper Flies


In this photo, I "levitated" paper bugs, satisfying Requirement 4. I made this twirled-paper butterfly and dragonfly from a craft kit in middle school, and have kept it as decoration in my room. As they're quite colorful and whimsical, I thought it would be fun to make them appear to be flying; I created a paper world complete with flowers for them to fly over as a background (the blue sheet of paper which makes the "sky" is glued on its edge to the green sheet on the bottom, and then propped up from behind with books.) I used a desk lamp to create bright lighting from one direction that would both bring out the colors and details of the paper and keep the shadows from getting too complicated when combining the images later.

The photos I made this composite image from can be seen in the set up image; with my camera steady on a stack of books in front of this backdrop, I first took a picture of the background without and bugs and then took photos of the butterfly and dragonfly individually, dangling them into the photo with a thin chain. I used shutter priority to set the shutter speed to 1/60 to avoid blur in case I couldn't keep the paper bugs completely still; the other camera settings were f/4.5 and 37mm. In photoshop, I put these images together as layers (the camera apparently moved a little, so I had to align them manually), and then erased all but the bugs and their shadows on each of the non-backdrop layers. Finally, I used the stamp tool to erase the chains from which the paper bugs were hanging. Once I had the combined photo, I cropped it in photoshop for composition and increased the clarity of the photo.

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