Friday 1 July 2022

Photographic Backdrop Installed

Back in March I invested in some flood lights to enhance my indoor photography of the layout. At that time I also found one of my photo backdrops from my 1:35 scale modelling days. It worked fine as an interim background for a small part of the layout. As a permanent solution it wasn't good enough, thoug. The print I had was too small (only 90 x30 cm) and the image used for the print had too low a resolution to allow it to be enlarged to obtain a decent size of print.

The new background fitted behind the Nystrup Gravel layout. The depth of the layout at this location is a mere 40 cm.

To at least do something about the situation I chose to plagiarize and copy a photo uploaded to the internet by a fellow Danish railway modeller, Benjamin Asmussen. On his modelling blog he described how he used photographs to create backdrops for model photography. Being generous he had several large files available for downloading. One of them seemed to fit my purpose relatively well. It may not be perfect, but as a stop gap measure and an experiment it will be much better than what I have myself at the moment. And isn't railway modelling also about steady improvement? Once I have found a perfect piece of Danish landscape and photographed it to a decent standard, I can always order a new large format print and switch backdrop.

My interim use of an old print from my 1/35 scale modelling days wasn't a viable solution. Far too short, but with a height of only 30 cm also considerably too low for the much larger 1/19 models.

After I downloaded Benjamin's image I ran it through a photo editing programme and edited away all the birds (I suspected them to look like unrealistic spots in the sky) and two signs in the distant background. None of the objects I removed would probably be noticed by anyone, but once I had spotted them they would invariably stick out like a sore thumb in my eyes.

The Benjamin Asmussen-background gives a rather good impression of depth and space. Recently fitted ground cover in the foreground also helps.

Even seen lengthwise the background helps considerably in avoiding the layout looking plunked haphazardly against a naked wall. With grass the sharp border between background and layout will be toned down. 

I had the background printed by an online printing service. I used Pixum that has websites in all major European languages. Any printing service will probably offer similar products, but I have used Pixum before and am happy with their quality. I chose a print with a matt surface to avoid most of the reflections from the backdrop which can be annoying in photographs. With a size of 90 x 270 cm the print isn't sufficiently long to act as a backdrop for the complete layout, but as said it's a stop gap measure. Should I choose to make it a permanent solution I can always order a print fitting as an extension. 

The complete layout with a 90 cm high backdrop fitted around the corner. In the future an addition will be fitted. Perhaps with a more agricultural looking photo more in line with what was actually behind the Nystrup facility.

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