Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Out of my depth

In an attempt to try and improve my photos, I’ve been doing a few exercises. Despite SomeBean’s and my father’s explanations, I hadn’t really played a great deal with camera settings until quite recently. To continue on from my playing with light, this weekend I was playing with depth of field on the camera.

I took some photos at f/2.8 (very shallow depth of field) and then the same photo at f/32 (very large depth of field). The higher the number, the less light is let in when you take the photo, so for high f numbers like f/32, a longer exposure is needed. I therefore had to use a tripod, to keep the camera steady.

A very interesting experiment. The depth of field you want will depend on the type of photo you want to take. If you’re taking a landscape photo and want it all to be as in focus as possible, then you need a higher f number. I quite enjoy taking macro snaps, with a narrow depth of field. When you do this with a high f number, the background is too much in focus and distracts from the subject of the photo.

Well, it kept me quiet for an afternoon anyway!

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Unknown said...

Fascinating. I am just on the cusp of this kind of experimentation but need to upgrade my camera. Any recommendations?

Love the macro shots with the blurred backgrounds.

HappyMouffetard said...

Hi Belinda,
Somebeans and I share (or rather I borrow a large amount) a Canon 400D. This isn't the newest model but is much better than my skills can cope with. I use a 100mm macro lens, which again is much better than me. It's the only "proper" camera I've used, so I wouldn't like to make a recommendation! But I'm learning, slowly. Thanks for your comment,

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Great tips. I'm always thrilled when my pics have a blurred background but it's hit or miss and I never knew what I was doing to actually achieve that. :))

chaiselongue said...

It looks as though you've had fun, taken some great photos and illustrated the preference for large apertures for macro photos. The flowers are lovely too!

Esther Montgomery said...

Hurray for digital cameras - that you can practise and experiment and try things out to your hearts delight at no extra cost and with instant feedback. And there's so much that can be done to improve pictures in post-editing, you are more in control than when you had to take your films to someone else and leave the second half of the process in their hands.


Mal's Allotment said...

The first rule of photography - Don't forget the background!

If it is out of focus, you can (aside from the colour and light)!

I'm another digital addict. If 19 pictures are rubbish what does it matter when one out of twenty turns out to be stunning!

Alan said...

Great examples! Some lenses are better with depth of field than others. I mainly use very old manual lenses (they don't autofocus or anything!) that not only forced me to figure out what was going on with aperture, but they let me experiment with lots of different lenses (they can be found on eBay for a relatively small amount of money).

Anonymous said...

What an interesting exercise - and how very beautiful the results are. (I must be more disciplined!)