Tiny Sci-Fi Cities | Circuit Board Macro Photography Tutorial


in this macro photography tutorial, we’ll
be taking a look at circuitry I’ll be getting nice and close to this stuff
getting some aerial shots and cityscape style abstract shots using some
interesting lighting and this scrap circuitry I’ll be getting started in
just a sec so stick around Hi guys I’m Ben from Adaptalux and welcome to
another macro photography tutorial today’s subject is circuitry and circuit
boards and scrap electronics I think this is going to be a really interesting
shoot it’s one that I’ve wanted to try out for quite some time now because I
think getting close up with a macro lens is going to give me the opportunity to
create some really interesting cityscapes and skylines
maybe even some aerial shots of futuristic urban areas as well looking
at these circuit boards with all of the different components on them I can tell
you that this is going to be quite interesting when we get up close I’ve
gone out and got some circuit boards because I’ve never really had any scrap
circuitry around but this stuff is pretty common
I actually went down to my friend Jerome who runs an IT repair shop so he’s given
me a few different I think these are graphics cards but I’ve also got a
motherboard as well and they’re all in different colors they’ve all got
different interesting components and features on them including well this
one’s got a big fan this one’s got a heatsink on it so these are going to be
really interesting to shoot I’m going to set my camera up in a couple of
different ways maybe do some handheld shots as well and you guys can follow
along with any scrap circuitry that you have at home as well the first thing
that we need to do is decide what kind of shot we actually want to take so
there’s a couple of things that I have in mind for this subject and the first
one is shooting down from above and creating sort of faux aerial shots of a
sci-fi cityscape these things do look an awful lot like very complex cities
especially this motherboard with lots of different components and chips on it
I think shooting down from the top onto this is going to make some really
interesting shots especially if we can go exploring around here and find some
of the more interesting features you need to remember that these things have
two sides to them as well you’ve got all of these components on one side and then
on the other side is all of the tracks that that join them up so these can be
really interesting to shoot as well to get this aerial shot the first thing
that we actually need to do is set up our camera so that it’s pointing
straight downwards like I’ve done just here I’ve got this set up on the edge of
my coffee table so that the legs of my tripod can go either side of the corner
of the of the table and then I can put my circuit boards down here underneath
the camera a really important factor for taking a shot like this is to make sure
that your camera is parallel with your circuit board we want to get as much of
this thing in focus as possible so if your camera is at a slight angle you’re
going to get one corner of your shot in focus and another corner of your shot
how to focus if the front of your lens is parallel with your circuit board then
everything can be in focus with a relatively shallow depth of field our
depth of field is going to be really important for all of these shots taking
advantage of it with our cityscapes and also trying to eliminate it with our
aerial shots so the first thing that I want to do is
actually just bring in a little bit of light into my shooting area over here
and I’ve done that with that white lighting arm and I popped a cyan color
filter on there as well and that gives us a little bit of directional lighting
it’s coming in from the side as if maybe a cool alien Sun is setting on this this
strange-looking city I’ve also got some orange lighting arms and another blue
lighting arm which we’re going to play around with and adding these colors in
one by one and experimenting is going to give me some really cool effects now
there’s no science to this this is just play around and see what works with the
color of your circuit board with the types of components that are on there
and with the angles that you can find by moving this stuff around now you
can see that my focus is currently up on the top of these these components rather
than down on the bottom of the board and that’s because when I flip this thing
over it’s going to be more focused on the actual board because it’s the same
height as those top of those components would have been I’m already pretty
excited just from first glance at this first board and I’ve got three more
boards to try out all with different features and components on them so
that’s going to be my first task is putting each of these boards under the
camera moving them around underneath the lens and trying to find some interesting
spots to take shots with I am going to be moving my subject rather than my
camera my camera is quite nicely situated and I don’t want to touch that
under here I can quite happily shuffle my boards around and find those
interesting shots the first shot that I found is somewhat
of a sunrise I’ve gone over to my big motherboard and there’s a really really
detailed patch of solder and and track lines that look very very much like and
in a city what I wanted to do was try and make it look like the Sun was
actually rising over this city and we’re taking a shot from above what
I’ve got here is a single white lighting arm s which is pointed sort of across
the the bottom of the board very very shallow it’s kind of only really picking
up on the the slightly raised bits of solder which almost makes it look like
city lights are turned on I then also have an amber lighting arm pointing down
at another corner of my frame so that it looks like there’s a little bit of glow
from the Sun coming up I think this is a pretty good opening shot so I’m going to
keep exploring I’ve changed boards I’ve also changed
the height of my camera because I found quite an interesting little section of
this blue board here it’s almost like a quad or some sort of factory and there’s
lots of lines going in there’s lots of little soldered components in there so I
think this looks really nice I’ve gone and used my my cyan color filter and a
red lighting arm at the same time to get a little bit of color contrast in there
and this is pretty much the aim of the game with this stuff looking around
trying to find interesting features and then lighting them using colors and
diffusers and different angles to try and find some really interesting shots
that look a little bit like futuristic sci-fi cities I’m going to do a little
bit more of this I’ll show you some of the results and then we’ll take a look
at creating some skylines and cityscapes I think it’s time to take a look at the
other side of our boards there’s a lot going on here there’s a lot of
components or jutting out in different positions and different heights which is
going to be a real challenge for our depth field I think it’s going to be
quite interesting to try and focus on here and we’ll probably going to come
out with some quite interesting abstract shots with only one or two of these
components in focus at once of course you can try focus stacking and getting a
lot of your board in focus at once I’m not going to be doing that today just
because I want to get some quite interesting shots with my depth of field
being part of that I think we’re going to get some interesting bokeh as the
light shines around these reflective pieces and I want to explore that to
that end I’ve got just a single white lighting arm here at the moment which is
giving me quite a nice little working light and I’m going to be going freehand
with my camera I’m just going to hit record here and let’s take a look at
what we can actually see through the viewfinder so as you can see here as expected we’ve
got quite a shallow depth-of-field now creating a full landscape on this
side of the board is going to be pretty tricky because as you can see there’s a
lot of this board that is out of focus at any one time however I think that we
can still get some really interesting shots by exploring some of the really
unique components here I can see that there’s a couple of what look like
electromagnets of some sort if you know what these particular components are let
me know down in the comment section but I think these look pretty cool and I
think I can get a shot of these which maybe make it look like some sort of
futuristic power plant or maybe processing plants of some sort with
these big strange structures what I’m actually going to do here is change my
lighting around so that it’s a little bit more interesting and not quite as
straightforward as just a white overhead light and see if we can’t get a little
bit more intrigue into this shot I’ve just popped an orange colour
filter onto my white lighting on there let’s have a look at what that looks
like now and instantly you can see that that’s added a really interesting effect
almost like a sunset in the back of the shot so we can actually use this to our
advantage keeping an orange or a yellow light in
the background make it look like the Sun is setting on our cyber city as it were
as you can see our depth of field is a bit of a challenge here because we’re
not getting very much in focus and I’m shooting at f/8 so it’s not a very
shallow depth of field but it’s shallow enough that we can’t fit a whole board
in focus at this point this is where you would want to photo stack taking
multiple images and blending them together in the background but I’m
pretty happy with this out-of-focus sort of dreamy look that we’ve got going on I
think it’s quite Scifi esque the last thing that I want to
do here is to actually flip my board over again take a look at this this side
with all of the tracks on it because I wonder if changing the scale of our
buildings will actually help that depth of field effect and our Sun set to try
and get a bit of a skyline going on there are little raised pieces on the
back of this board and I wonder if we can’t make them look like very distant
City and skyscrapers so I’m going to take a look through our camera one last
time and see if this has any interesting effects I think putting that orange
light off in the distance and creating a very dreamy sunset can actually make it
look a little bit more like one of those futuristic cities that we see in the
movies very blade runner-esque I’d like to know in the comments which style you
prefer shooting down from the top and creating those aerial shots or using our
depth of field to create those sort of very dreamy sci-fi cityscapes every one
of these circuits is unique and the more of these boards and scrap computer
components that you can get your hands on the more variety of different
components and features that you’ll have to explore using your camera either from
the top-down perspective or from the side I’ve had a lot of fun exploring
today and using my different colored lighting to create different effects if
you’ve enjoyed watching the video make sure to give it a like and don’t forget
to subscribe for lots more macro photography tutorials ideas and
inspiration coming in the future for now though guys thank you very much for
watching this video and I’ll see you next time

9 Replies to “Tiny Sci-Fi Cities | Circuit Board Macro Photography Tutorial”

  1. hi Ben, this was really interesting and looks like it could be fun to try. You have a 'Blade Runner' Landscape, you now just need to capture the flying vehicles and aliens in the images.

  2. Hi Ben…very interesting…Could you please tell what light setup you exactly used…what is it actually called including the arms n the pod you were inserting them in…it would be good for me if you coould tell where can i get it in London online.

  3. Hi Ben! Another really interesting video, thanks. You don't even have to use your imagination much to see that these circuit boards really do look like cityscapes! I personally prefer the Aerial shots.

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