Thursday 13 April 2023

Impromptu Photo Stage


Sometimes it's not practical to use a tripod for photographing miniatures, but hand-held photography, especially indoors, is seldom acceptably free from hand-shake blur.

A convenient alternative can be small bean-bags, like the ones shown here.

These ones are just made up from scraps of fabric and filled with rice; they're good, but a little bit heavy for carrying around in your bag all day. They could be made lighter by using barley or some similar grain. Popping corn kernels would probably work well.

I would not recommend using inflatable plastic bags, as they're slippery and tend to wobble, and it's quite possible that your precious camera might slip off them and crash to the floor, to the sound of cries of dismay.

I'd still recommend using a timer to avoid any inadvertent movement of the camera. The photos can later be cropped to get rid of any extraneous clutter.

Using this technique along with a simple hand-held reflector to help fill in shadows, and you can get pretty acceptable low-angle model photos.

The model is an old Airfix 1/72 scale WW1 German Hannover Cl-III

Later on... a thought

There was some stuff we used to use back in my museum days as an inert filler for resin moulding called Vermiculite. It's a very light mineral substance that is, I think, created by heating, a bit like popcorn.

I think it would make an ideal filler for bean-bags, because being so light, it won't weigh you down if you have a couple of them in your camera bag. And unlike rice or grain, it won't go mouldy if it should get damp.

It's used, among other things, as loose-fill insulation. And I think it can be got from gardening supplies shops too.

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