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.
The new January Squares challenge, hosted as ever by Becky, the Queen of Squares, is all about ____light. In this often dull month light of any kind is what we all need to lift our spirits as we wait impatiently for spring to begin.
highlight (verb) = to attract attention to or emphasise something important highlight (noun) = a bright or reflective area in a painting, picture, or design
Those bloggers who follow me on my flower blog will know that I am very fond of capturing the components in nature – last year I finally bought a camera with interchangeable lenses purely so that I could indulge in a macro lens. One that captures the tiniest details which I have used mainly for flower macros.
So this week’s photo challenge is right up my street. Literally!
(please click on an image to enlarge and see the full extent of the details)
Do you ever really see the characteristics of a rusty item?
Or the way a fragment of fabric gets entangled in barbed wire?
Or how skilfully the craftsman edged his roof? Nature provides the lichens. When you look closely that’s when you notice those little, important, details.
A fellow blogger and friend has been posting some images of spring in Australia including close-ups of moss starting to sprout. It prompted me to take my new macro lens down to the river where I knew moss grows abound and where I had seen some tiny fungi growing just the other day. Unfortunately it was quite dark by the river (it is flanked by a high cliff and trees on the one side) and moss isn’t as attractive in its latter stages, but I did find the fungi and a few interesting little things to photo. They are not the sharpest of images, but as I have mentioned over on the flower blog where you will find more macro images, I am happy to record my journey with the new camera with the hope that as time goes on I will improve!
We will start with this quite small leaf covered with tiny hairs on which there were beads of moisture – from the early morning fog I imagine.
Next a look at some fungi – note that the puff ball ones are actually very, very small, probably the size of the nail on my little finger.
Then some moss – again with the droplets – ferns and a couple of flowers. I had not realised until now how much the spores on a fern look like tiny eggs.
Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes)
Spores on harts tongue / Asplenium scolopendrium
Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens)
Moss with droplets
And finally one insect (there was a spider too but the quality of that shot is far too embarrassing to post here) a bright red-brown fly. If you click on him to enlarge the image you will see the hairs on his back.
The WPC this week is not really a challenge for me as I am always taking photographs close up. Rocks and lichens have been my most recent subjects on here, and there has even been a dragonfly, a bee and a zebra in the past.
Flowers feature frequently over on the Earth Laughs in Flowers blog. Stunning osteospermums and gazanias are enchanting close up, but structural or textural plants such as succulents or grasses can look completely different if you ensure that pattern details fill the frame.
But let’s step away from nature and turn to a man-made object for a change and get a little closer. Would you have noticed that pattern as you walked by?
And the difference between Macro photography and a close-up? Well a close-up image will fill the frame as my lock does above and can generally be done using any type of lens including cameras with a macro setting. Macro photography on the other hand, although a form of close-up, is usually only achieved using a special (and expensive) macro lens. A macro shot, allows for bigger magnification and shows the finest detail in focus. A real macro lens has the capability of achieving in the least a 1:1 magnification. Having just taken delivery of a new camera I am looking forward to buying my first real macro lens and getting even closer.