More in Depth

Whenever you take a photograph, say of your precious children watching cartoons, there is an area that is in focus (my child), and an area that is out of focus (the pillows behind her).

The area of sharpness in a photograph is the depth-of-field.  The depth-of-field extends in front and behind the subject that you are shooting.  And the amount of area in focus is determined by several factors:

  • The f-stop (this is the aperture setting-the smaller the number, the larger the aperture (or opening that lets in light). Mine goes from 2.8-8.
  • The distance from the subject-up close and personal, to far away and zoomed in.
  • The focal length of the lens.

Changing any one of these factors, changes the depth of field.

Our  in-class photography assignment:

Shooting pictures of a dog toy on a ruler.

These are going to be keepers. :)

In this photograph, I used a wide-angle (I was up close and my lens was ‘zoomed out‘ as far as it could go).  Since it is a wider angle, more of the ruler, in front (and behind) is in focus.  The aperture setting was 3.3, the smaller number, the larger the aperture and the more area of the ruler that is sharp and in focus.

In this next lovely photograph, I was standing across the room, with my camera ‘zoomed in‘ toward the subject (don’t you like my use of highly technical terms here). :)  Notice the dog is still in focus, but the end of the ruler is now blurry.  The longer your lens, the more narrow the area of focus.  I also used a smaller aperture, of 8.0, which allows less light through the lens.

This weeks assignment: practice taking pictures, taking note of the depth of field and how it changes when you change any one of these factors.

  • Change the f-stop
  • Try out different distances from the subject-up close and personal to far away and zoomed in.
  • Vary up the focal length of the lens.
Happy shooting!
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August 26, 2011. Photography.

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