Image 1 : Motion : This shot was taken to convey the feel of motion using still life. During taking this shot for getting the movements of paper I allowed to move the end of papers with the help of ceiling fan. The the ripples on stable glass bottom added virtual feel of motion. This image also adds me the nostalgia effect of the children playing the game of push toy wheel in my childhood days. EXIF:100mm, f/11, 1/40 sec, ISO 800
Camera : Canon EOS-5D Mark II
Lens : Canon EF-100mm f/2.8 USM Macro
Subject: Printing papers, color papers, color drawing sheets
Light: one or two strobes/ daylight/ studio light
Image 3: Paper Swan :The color paper arranged in a pattern to form the shape of a swan. I applied duo tone effect to give importance more to the shape than colors in the images. The choice of color adds subtle & delicate feel of the swan shape. EXIF: 100mm, f/5.6, 1/160 sec, ISO 400
Don't be disappointed if you don't have very high end equipment or SLR camera. Any SLR camera with macro lens can work for this subject. Point & shoot cameras are not recommended considering the high depth of field. But now a days various closeup filters are also available for a point & shoot camera for doing macro work. 5D offers me more benefits considering nice gradual color tones & a bit more shallow depth of field by the virtue of it's large sensor size. If macro lens is not available then extension tube can also be used with the lens like 50mm/f1.8.
You jumped directly to this section, isn't it? I can understand your curiosity :) I was really surprised when I was getting inquiries about how I do it? This was simply because I was not following any extraordinary techniques for doing this work. But I guess that's happens when I recall asking myself to the photographers whom I follow about their setups.
Image 5: Magical Curves: This is pure abstract image without any particular shapes with interesting subtle colors. I like the way paper curves mixed up in the formation. To add more that feel I used the colors with less contrast. EXIF: 100mm, f/5.6, 4 sec,ISO 100
Image 6: Mysterious: This image resembling to a shape with a mysterious feel. The choice of wide open aperture was to add less details & colors in post processing to strengthen the feel of mystery. EXIF: 100mm, f/2.8, 1/10sec, ISO 100
Image 7 : Setup after shooting : Well next time I will upload a setup while shooting. I always end up taking the shot after doing my work :). The glass table helps me for using strobes below the subject. Please ignore other subjects not related to the shooting.
Usually I place A3 size color drawing sheet on my table attached with wall forming seamless corner. I try to arrange the 4-6 layers of papers with different color combinations giving interesting patterns. The papers might be tied with paper clips/transparent tape on a end keeping other end free or fixed into another object like stack of books. Use of white papers in between colors can help you to get duo-gradient reflections of color papers on each side. For lighting I use one or two strobes or simple daylight from a window. The arrangement of strobes can result in various interesting output of a same subject. The combination of background paper color & subject is really important. The more contrasting colors can add a punch whereas similar color can add smoothing less contrast images. Mostly a wide open aperture is preferable giving selective focus & nice soft backgrounds.
Image 6: Freedom: Abstract shot with motion blur applied on photograph of paper macro. The blur applied to add the feeling of freedom without any sharp ages & the mixing of colors. EXIF: 100mm, 3.2 sec, f/11, ISO 400
The real challenge is to add variations in the patterns & I am still experimenting on that. There is huge scope to explore much more on this. The interesting curves, paper layers & shapes can look monotonous after initial start. During post processing one can play with colors using hue saturation adjustment layers or selective color adjustment layers in photoshop. Sometimes I love to add motion blur effect to add some mood to the images. (as in freedom image no : 6) In some images one can duplicate the original layer & can free transform the layers with different blending modes mostly with darken.
If you want to practice on this subject the the word of advice will be keeping on experimenting. I have to still dig into this subject for creating interesting images like using reflection, using papers with different texture & material etc. Once you able to get macro shot with nice graphical shapes your interest will keep on developing. Keen observation & patience is the key for getting good quality shots.
Image 7 : Rays: For getting this shot I allowed light to fall on the edges of papers only. It give me effect like rays from the firework. Again the idea for this shot came from my technical side the pattern resembling to an accelerator ring emitting synchrotron radiation. EXIF: 100mm, f/8, 1/4sec, ISO 400
Image 9: y : This is the image showing how curves can add delicate feel to the images making them more interesting. EXIF: 100mm, f/8, 1/8 sec, ISO 1250
Some times I get clue about representing some idea using the paper abstract whereas most of the time I keep myself engaged playing with arranging the papers with various combination of colors & shapes. I may not be able to reproduce exact shape as I have captured earlier again in some images because many times I arrange it randomly.. It's all about keeping on experimenting & enjoying the work.