Part two – Project 1 – Exercise 2.5
“Find a subject in front of a background with depth. Take a close viewpoint and zoom in; you’ll need to be aware of the minimum focussing distance of your lens. Focus on the subject and take a single shot. Then without changing the focal length, set the focus to infinity and take a second shot.”
I wanted to find somewhere with more background depth but the park had to do for this exercise. I used a Canon 70D (not sure why I always state this as it is the only camera I own, hopefully one day I might expand) and a Sigma 17-50mm lens. Both images were taken on ISO 100, shutter speed of 1/1000 sec. f/8 at 50mm. The only thing that was changed was the focus, the left image focussed on the chain and the second image had the focus set to infinity.
“The closer you are to the subject, the shallower the depth of field; the further from the subject, the deeper the depth of field. That’s why macro shots taken from very close viewpoints have extremely shallow depth of field, and if you set the focus at infinity everything beyond a certain distance will be in focus.”
“As you review the two shots, how does the point of focus structure the composition?”
The point of focus in the image on the left (focus = f/8) is very much on the ‘in focus’ chain. Your eye follows the path of the chain off-frame and re-enters the image again at another point where the chain meets the frame. Your eye looks around at the other elements within the frame but because they are out of focus the eye has nothing to anchor itself on, so returns to the chain again.
In the image on the right (focus = infinity) your eye is drawn to everything but the chain, which feels like a bit of an obstruction which you want to move aside so you can see the rest of the ‘in- focus’ areas better. The eye is drawn to the centre point to see what there is. It feels like you are looking through a window, a frame within a frame.
“With a shallow depth of field the point of focus naturally draws the eye, which goes first of all to the part of the image that’s sharp. It generally feels more comfortable if the point of focus is in the foreground, although there’s nothing wrong with placing the point of focus in the background.”
This completes my submission for Exercise 2.5. You can access Exercise 2.6 here.