The merits of a plastic sheet

At a recent “The Creative Eye” photography course that I ran for the Royal Photographic Society  in Bath, we talked about useful photographic accessories.  One suggestion that surprised some delegates was a plastic sheet about 6 feet by 3 feet.  What on earth would you want that for?  Well, it’s really useful for when you need to lie down to get your image, such as macro photography of plants and flowers.

The images below, that I took this morning with my Sigma 50mm macro lens, are a case in point.  There was a heavy dew on the grass and the sheet stopped me from getting wet.

“Tulip almost out” by Derek Gale

A tulip, at the point of opening, composed simply to show off the subtle colours in its petals.

“Grape hyacinth” by Derek Gale

A grape hyacinth, lit by the morning sun, casting a shadow on a low brick wall.

Of course, the sheet can also stop your clothes getting dirty on a dusty surface such as this patio.  The tiny flower (only about 3mm across) was bouncing around in the breeze so I needed to be patient and wait for a lull.  I composed so that the flower was balanced by the colour and size of the lichen on the patio.

As well as protecting me from the damp and the dirt, the sheet I used has other merits.  It’s made of white plastic so it can be used as a reflector to put light into shadow areas.  It’s also quite thin, so it can be used as a diffuser to soften hard sunlight.  Look out for further blog posts where I demonstrate these uses!

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