2020 Photo Challenge #24

June’s theme / technique: Being Creative with DOF

The six visual keys to a great photograph are:

    • Patterns
    • Texture
    • Lines
    • Colour
    • Depth of field
    • Space
  • OK so first of all what is Depth of Field?

A basic definition of depth of field is: the zone of acceptable sharpness within a photo that will appear in focus. In every picture there is a certain area of your image in front of, and behind the subject that will appear in focus.

Using a shallow depth of field is a good way to make your subject stand out from its background and is great for portrait photography and wildlife photography when you don’t want the background to distract from your subject.

If you are a person who likes to photograph landscapes you would want everything from near to far to be in focus. This is known as a deep depth of field.

Please read the first assignment in this month’s topic for slightly more technical information and how to control the depth of field.

This week's assignment - We are looking at the shallow depth of field again this week to get close up to your subject. Use either a macro lens OR the macro setting on your camera to get in as close as you can and still retain a sharp focus


    • Use a Macro lens if you have one. Remember that this has a very shallow depth of field, the sharpness is often focused on a minute part of the subject with the rest out of focus (blurred). With this very narrow focus it becomes important to use a tripod, because even the slightest movement of the camera will move your macro subject outside your depth of field.
    • Use the macro setting on your camera if you have one. Take the same shot using a normal setting and one with the Macro option. Compare the two photographs. Is there a difference in your photos?
    •  Choosing a large aperture (lower f-stop, like f2.8) creates very shallow depth of field with only the subject, or just a portion of the subject, in focus.

I have been interested in macro photography for a number of years, but never owned a camera that could really get that close in and still be focused. Until I decided to upgrade to an Olympus Micro Four Thirds camera to which I could add various lenses (see My Camera Equipment for more information). I couldn’t afford the EM1 so setttled for the EM10. After getting used to the camera and the kit lenses I bought my first macro lens in 2015. It was a steep learning curve to handle the lens, not helped by problems with the camera’s shutter.

My focus is on plants and insects as when you have a true macro 1:1 photo you see so much more than you do with the naked eye. I am not an expert. There are far better macro photographers out there and far better examples, but here are a few of mine taken over the last 5 years. You do need to click on these images to enlarge them to get the full detail.

Flowers and Plants

My focus here is on the stamens of this Japanese Anemone. It was only when viewing this on the computer I noticed those very tiny flies
A recent image, not as sharp as I would like because it was windy. But I was aiming for the hairy casing of this poppy bud
The head of a Protea reveals the stamens that rise up like creatures from under the sea and also the tiny furry hairs


I don’t normally focus on flies, but this had a nice colour, when blown up you will see the fine black hairs that cover the body.
This hoverfly was accidentally captured when I was focusing on the stamens of this flower. I love how you can see how it actually holds the stamens to extract nectar from the flower. And the tiny fly on the left which can only be seen by enlarging this image.
Another Hoverfly, (Migrant Hoverfly – Eupeodes corollae) this time in more detail though the area of focus is small – body and diaphanous wings
One of my favourite butterfly shots – Mr Grumpy possibly a Ringlet – with a wonderful hairy face that only a mother could love.
White-tailed Bumblebee on a Nettle – the focus is on the bee’s legs where if you look closely you will see the claws at the end which are used to cling onto a plant.

I hope you can see how fascinating Macro photography can be. If you’d like to see more then I have more than 100 Macros on my flower blog although not all were taken with the macro lens. Sometimes using a zoom lens is more useful especially in windy weather or where you can’t get close enough, but you won’t get that true 1:1 magnification.

If you would like to join in with the 2020 photo challenge then please take a look at my 2020 Photo Challenge page. No complicated rules, just a camera required 🙂

    • Create your own post with some information about how you composed the shot.
    • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
    • Add the tag #2020PhotoChallenge so everyone can find your entry easily in the WP Reader
    • Get your post(s) in by the end of the month, as the new theme comes out on the first Sunday in July.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

70 thoughts on “2020 Photo Challenge #24”

    1. Talking to WP? About the editor? Our weather is yuck at the moment so no mini adventures. Though a trip to the garden centre is necessary for some pots!

      1. Nope not editor just some bizarre thing happening with the photos – took them hours to work out what was causing it.

        ooh you brave person we have not ventured that far yet!

        1. Going back to your problems. I am playing with the block editor on my garden blog as I am not using it at the moment. I have changed the theme and got that working (though not keen on the widgets) and playing with an old post. Adding photos worked for a while, then bizarrely when I find the image I want it goes to an empty media library! Also the masonry option isn’t allowing me to scroll through the images, though it has done before! Just wondered what problems you had.

        2. Ooh I had that problem with empty media library. Just bizarre. I had to shut down and restart, and then they were there. Stopped happening after about 3posts. No idea why 😦

          I went off masonry option, was just too weird in layout so am sticking to tiled for now.

          Well done on changing theme. one bonus of changing on my Portuguese blog is that even though I’ve said yes to block, it’s sticking to classic! Missing some of the things I like about block but preferring writing text old way.

          I’ve not really helped have I?!! How about we zoom with Debbie one day and between three of us can work everything out. You can hide from video, we’ve discovered a button!

        3. I quite like the masonry option. You need to click on the lightbox(?) to get the pretty background effect, although I have to click twice on one post for it to work! I ended up changing the image block to get my library back, nothing else worked.

        4. You have used so many different blocks in the re-edit! Lots of work – but great way to test it out.

          Really like the curvy image 🙂

          Assuming the first gallery is masonry, which seems to be working really well on my laptop, although the second column shorter but think that’s how it is meant to work.

          The one I am less sure about is the layered collage.

      1. Pouring rain and COLD this evening, down to 16deg🙄 at the moment and then down to 12deg in the early hours of the morning. I think this may be your summer temps at the moment!!! I can hear you chuckling…

  1. Your insect shots in particular are great Jude.
    I hardly seem to use my macro lens these days — or maybe it’s just that I’m not taking many photos at all.

    1. I had a long gap between using the lens Su. It is often far too windy down here and I haven’t been out of Cornwall in three years! I deliberately put the lens on last week for a walk along George, but again it was too windy for any sharp images and I reverted to the larger DOF. At the moment I am using my phone camera more for the bees!

  2. Pingback: WordsVisual
  3. Some wonderful micro photography, Jude. It’s not something I’ve done much of, but I’ve done more during lockdown and know how difficult it is. It would be good to know what aperture you used for your shots. With depth of field shrinking as you get closer to the subject, I am learning to go much narrower aperture.

    And I’m enjoying exploring the block editor too, but the problems change from theme to theme. I’ve had a few fixes for specific problems that I’ve had in Cubic but waiting for proper corrections. WordPress have given us can impressive choice of layouts, etc. It’s just a shame they don’t test properly.

    1. I changed the theme on my garden blog to one specifically for the block editor, but still having problems. I think converting from classic block to blocks causes issues. Maybe better starting a post from scratch.

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