Part two – Project 1 – Exercise 2.7
“Use a combination of small apertures and wide lens to take a number of photographs exploring deep depth of field. Because of the small apertures you’ll be working with slow shutter speeds and may need to use a tripod or rest the camera on a stable surface to prevent ‘camera shake’ at low ISOs. Add one or two unedited sequences, together with relevant shooting data and an indication of your selects, to your learning log.
Achieving deep depth of field might appear easy compared to the difficulties of managing shallow depth of field. We’re surrounded by images made with devices rather than cameras whose short focal lengths and small sensors make it hard to achieve anything other than deep depth of field. The trick is to include close foreground elements in focus for an effective deep depth of field image. Foreground detail also helps to balance the frame, which can easily appear empty in wide shots, especially in the lower half. When successful, a close viewpoint together with the dynamic perspective of a wide-angle lens gives the viewer the feeling that they’re almost inside the scene.”
Sequence 1 : I wanted to use somewhere which had quite a bit of depth but which also had some foreground interest. So I chose my back yard which is currently in flux pending a new shed (I’m sure some of you can relate to home projects which have taken a little longer than planned). I used my Canon 70D with Sigma 17-50mm lens at the short end 17mm.
I initially set my focus point on the wood up against the house on the right and that gave a pretty good result being that it was in the right place to ensure most of the foreground and back ground was in focus. I then set the focus to infinity and that worked well. I think using infinity focus primarily takes the guess-work out of where to place the focus point to ensure deep depth of field is achieved. I did not use a tripod as suggested but steadied myself against a wall. I was at 17mm and had Image Stabilisation (‘IS’) on so I managed to get the result I needed for this exercise. See ‘Results 1’.
Sequence 2 : same as above but this time I hung myself out of my bedroom window, good job I have sash windows eh?!, and explored the effects of changing from f/16 in increments to f/22. See ‘Results 2’.
Shutter speed range : 1/5 sec. to 1/8 sec.
For sequence 1, I used f/22 and tried both auto focus and infinity focus. Do I get a feeling from these images that I am in the scene,? Well, I did take this sequence from a lower viewpoint than what is natural for me but yes, if you were short, a child maybe I think you do feel like you are in this scene.
For sequence 2 I used f/16 through to f/22 on infinity focus and couldn’t see a lot of difference between the results, using the wide-angle lens pretty much meant most of the scene was in focus. Do I feel like I am in the scene? Do I feel from the images that I am outside of the window looking down the street, yes I think I do.
This is an area I think I need to research more about as I was expecting to see more discernible differences between the images in sequence 2. Maybe working from a laptop screen does not show me the nuances I need to see.
Deep depth of field is not a technique I would use much in my photography as I am a fan of shallow depth of field, which usually goes hand in hand with portraiture so this exercise pushed me down a path I would not ordinarily have ventured. However, I’m glad I have tried this out, as I can see the potential for using this in certain types of photography where you need everything to be in focus mixed with the quality you get from a DSLR.
My initial inclination is to do something different to that which can be achieved easily by anyone with a ‘device’, however, to understand shallow depth of field it is important to also have an appreciation for the other end of the spectrum and understand deep depth of field, and who knows I may well use this technique in a future assignment.
This completes my submission for Exercise 2.7. You can access my Project 2 Research Point here.