Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Photography Assignment! Depth of Field!

Okay, so this particular assignment is a little bit more technical...but it is also intended to make you think about what you want your photographs to look like...and gives you another tool to help you achieve the image you envision!

So, maybe you've heard the term "depth of field"...and you may have an idea of what it means and how to manipulate it on your camera (with your aperture). (Those of you who are shooting on automatic mode, I know who you are, are going to have to put your camera in manual mode, or at least aperture priority, for this assignment!)

First, bear with me, a quick lesson on apertures...

A wide aperture (example f2.8) results in an image that is sharp around what the lens is focusing on (you pick the focal point) and blurred otherwise. Wide apertures are very useful in low light situations as it is letting more light into your lens. It is also an important tool to consider when taking action pictures as it allows you to have a much faster shutter speed (all that light coming in)...however your focal point is crucial as your depth of field is shallow!

A small aperture (example f22) results in an image that is much sharper throughout the image. Small apertures are particularly useful in landscape images, where the intent is to capture the entire scene. With small apertures, however, come much slower shutter speeds, so having a steady hold of your camera, or, even better, a tripod, is really important so as not to blur your image with camera shake.

Below are examples...the first one taken with an f1.4 aperture (shallow depth of field)...the second one taken with an f16 aperture (much greater depth of field). In both of these images my focal point remained in the same spot, on the top part of the chair. Neither of these images are "wrong", by the is a creative choice, by you, the photographer...and both compositional choices are completely valid! It's just another tool to help you create the image that you want!

Now, with that lesson out of the way, on to your assignment...take and submit pairs of photographs taken with considerably different depths of field! It is a particularly important tool to understand in composing your images, whether portrait, landscape, sports or fine art work. (Oh, and be sure to tell me, when submitting your photos, what your aperture setting was on each! And don't forget...your focal point should NOT change!)

Have fun! Be creative! And feel free to call me (339-4339) if you have any questions!

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