2020 Photo Challenge #26

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 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 month's final assignment - Restrict yourself to taking only 12 photos during any photo-shoot this week. Like in the old days of film. How hard was it? Did the knowledge that you were restricted cause you to think more about each shot? Is there a favourite? Was there a common depth of field? 

This was a tricky one. I am not taking many photos at all at the moment except around my garden where I take lots of photos to record what is growing each week. Thinking of a specific location where I might be able to limit myself to 12 photos was difficult. I didn’t want to go somewhere for the first time as I knew that would be impossible. Eventually I decided on the George V Memorial Walk. A place I visit often (though not as often this year) and fairly recently too. There was one specific plant I wanted to check on after a discussion with Susan (of Sussurus) about Cornus trees (flowering dogwoods). I was hopeful that one I knew growing in this garden would be about to flower.

I located the tree easily, but then couldn’t decide on the best way to photograph it. The light was poor (it was early evening and this was in shadow) and the flowers were too high up for me to get a good close-up, so I had to rely on my zoom. I moved around as much as was possible, but after five shots decided I couldn’t waste any more.

Nearby I noticed some Bottlebrush (Callestemons) were in flower so had to have a few shots with those. The yellow ones (which look white here) were more difficult to shoot in the light and also there were several damaged ones so after three shots I stopped.

OK. So now only three shots left. I walked the entire length of the walk looking for something unusual and which I hadn’t photographed on my earlier visit. Evening Primrose caught my eye, but I couldn’t frame them decently. And then I saw the Agave in flower. At least I think it is an Agave. It has the most astonishingly tall flower spike and I had to get right underneath it to shoot my final photo – a close up of the flower.

(After a lot of searching I finally discovered that this plant is Furcraea longaeva which has pale blue-green sword-shaped leaves which grow upwards, like a yucca. Mature plants bear enormous white flower spikes in summer, which sometimes reach heights of more than three metres. Each individual flower on the spike develops into a tiny baby plant, which drops off the stem to root into the soil, while the parent plant eventually dies.)

I just had to hope that I had got the lighting right! Once uploaded to the computer I could see that this probably hadn’t been the best time of day for these shots, given that the flowers were mainly in shade and my focus wasn’t as sharp as I would like it to be. I used my 14mm-42mm lens so close-ups weren’t that close and I wasn’t able to zoom in very far. Knowing I had restricted myself to only 12 shots did make me think about how I wanted to capture the image though to be honest I could have easily taken 12 shots of each plant!

What I can conclude from this experiment is that digital photography has definitely changed my life and the way I shoot, and I wouldn’t want to go back to using film. How did I travel for four weeks through Africa in 2000 and only use six films of 36 exposures? And not know how good any of those shots were until long after the event had passed.

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 week, as the new theme begins next Sunday about using Space.

Well, we are half way through this challenge and it has been quite the most peculiar time. I had hoped to do some travelling this year and use the challenge to improve my creativity, but unfortunately I have had to resort to the archives on many occasions. I thank all of you who have stuck with me and who have participated in this month’s assignments, especially the more tricky ones! Please use the links in my comments to visit other blogs and leave a comment there.

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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.

25 thoughts on “2020 Photo Challenge #26”

  1. This will be interesting. When I glanced at this challenge a few weeks back, I misread it as being 12 shots in a week, just like the bad old days. But like you, I’m going nowhere new, so it may not be quite as hard as it would have otherwise been. Yours are lovely garden studies. I’ll have a think and try to dodge the deluges too.

  2. Loving your agave moment, and reassured you have plant moments too!

    Hope you’re having a fabulous weekend away.

    PS Apologies I’ve not been taking part this month, it’s been a tough and busy month. I’ll try and incorporate squares into July’s theme.

    1. No worries Becky I understand how busy you are. And yes, the non agave puzzled me. It looked like one, but the flower spike didn’t, same wit a yuca. I think this is the first time I have seen this plant in flower. Now I need to see if I can get hold of a plantlet 😊

  3. The bottle brush shots are rather lovely. I’ve been following along with no particular impetus to do more. Sorry, Jude! The mind is mostly elsewhere. You’ll have a few new subjects this weekend. Hope it’s a good one. 🙂 🙂

    1. No pressure to join in Jo. After all this geared to challenging myself, but it’s lovely when other people want to participate. I understand about the mind being elsewhere. For the first time of Becky’s Squares challenge I probably won’t be a daily poster. I am finding it hard to concentrate on anything much at the moment.

      1. Trouble at ‘home’? Message me when you get back, or if you have a bit of down time. How long is the drive? Going back tomorrow? I don’t suppose there’s any hurry. OH with you? Sending hugs 🙂 🙂

        1. Going back today, she child minds so I don’t want to mix with other children. Journey takes 4-5 hours depending on traffic without any stops. OH looking after himself, he’s not ready to go anywhere soon!

  4. Like you, I wouldn’t want to go back to the parsimonious taking of pictures that the costs of film and developing imposed on us. If the wind is blowing or the lighting is difficult, I can take as many pictures as I want and then choose the one that came out best, or even combine parts of two.

  5. Although I often still miss the whole sense and feel of film photography, (I bought a used Canon T90 and short zoom last year but still haven’t used it) I do love modern electronic viewfinders that allow me to see the differences in exposure immediately, before taking the photo. I had some good results using film, but for every one of those I kept, I probably threw six in the bin.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

  6. Lovely to see ‘your’ dogwood tree! I had read twelve pictures in a week too and concluded I just couldn’t do that. Being able to take pictures is a very cheery thing. Early on in the strictest of lockdowns when I felt almost criminal for pausing briefly to take a picture because that seemed to be breaking the spirit of the essential/exercise rules, I still sneaked a few on pretty much every walk.

    It would be a very good exercise for me to be stricter with myself about the numbers of pictures taken, so I will do the exercise even if I don’t post them. While I love taking pictures, I do NOT love paring them down.

    1. I have got better at restraining myself, but it’s easy to take several shots and dispose the rubbish ones, though I still have far too many of those in the archives.

      1. I find it a little depressing to see too many of the ‘same’ picture in my files, but I am not as brutal or efficient as I need to be.

  7. We lived abroad during the times of analog photography. It wasn’t easy to take enough films. The country was very hot and when on the road you couldn’t buy any. But I managed and have loads of albums. I don’t regret any money I spent because of the memories. Right now I am travelling again and I just can’t restrict the number of pictures I take – the moment will never come back.

  8. Ah, just realised I never posted for last week….must get that done, and then on with this week… love the Agave images

  9. This is definitely a challenge I need to try. I take way too many photos then waste time deciding which is “the best” of a bunch of near identical shots. Twelve though — that will be fun!

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