Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Revisiting Depth of Field

I can never say enough of Depth of Field and how important understanding and manipulating it is for your pictures. As stated in other places, the key is to create a “shallow” depth of field, with just that area of the picture you want in focus and the rest out of focus. This creates a dramatic impact on your central image in the photograph.

To accomplish this, you need a “long” (telephoto) lens – zoom your digital camera out (T) to the max. You also need a fast as possible shutter speed, because this forces the lens aperture to open (see lectures on Aperture). Finally it helps to get as close as possible to your central subject.

All of the photos above were taken this past summer with a Nikon D80, using a 135mm lens. In the top picture, of our grandkids, notice that the dark background is completely out of focus, thus providing no distraction from the central subject. The next two pictures, from a local rodeo, were a little trickier – there wasa lot of motion going on and it was late evening. But the effect I was looking for, of motion, worked out pretty well, with the background completely out of focus  and a bit of blur to the central objects to show they are moving.

The two flower pictures are from our neighbors garden – notice the sparkly effect, called bokeh, to the background, as well as the early morning lighting.

If you have a point and shoot without all the bells and whistles, most still have a close-up function – use it and get close, to create the out of focus background.


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