Best shot: Scanography by Mike Leonard

Sat, 10/24/2020 - 7:00am

Fall is upon us in the Northeast. It’s the time of year when we get to see the brilliant colors of foliage and the red, orange and yellow colors make for wonderful subjects to photograph. Getting even closer can make for some very interesting and rewarding captures. Using a macro lens, or the “flower” mode on some cameras, will help you to close focus to an individual leaf where you can capture intricate and beautiful, one of a kind patterns – some that almost look like a road map.

There is another way to capture these close up details that does not require a camera --- the method is simple and it is called Scanography. All you need is a flatbed scanner to make your best close up capture of a leaf.

Here’s how you do it...

Simply place a colorful leaf onto the stage of a flatbed scanner. Next, place a white piece of paper over back of the leaf if your scanner cover doesn’t already have a white background. Now, just close the scanner cover and do a scan preview and declare the area you wish to include, cropping out the unnecessary edges. It’s just like scanning a document but instead you are scanning a leaf.

Some scanners will let you select the type of content you are scanning – choose “Photo” over “Document” if you have that option to get the best tonality and colors.

The resolution of the scan is usually expressed in dots per inch or dpi. Try a high resolution that will allow you to crop into the scan or to make an enlargement to see a lot of detail --- 600 dpi or 1200 dpi are good starting points with the higher resolution normally taking longer to scan resulting in a larger file. By capturing in the higher resolution you can enlarge the image to see some amazing details.

Saving the scan as an uncompressed TIF file that will yield the best quality as unlike a JPG file the maximum details will be preserved. You can edit that TIF file in a photo editing application just like you would a photo from a camera and create a JPG file for printing and or downsize for posting to social media and for emailing.

By mixing and matching some colorful leafs you can make your best one of a kind creation of the colors of the season.