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.’

Day 1

The weather was terrible. The light was terrible (it has been for weeks). I took around 40 shots, but… meh.

Example 1


View 1500 x 1000


The composition on this image should not work. The blue car is almost slap bang in the middle of the shot, and that’s a big no-no… but for reasons that I can’t explain, I really like how this looks.

There are areas that look like they might be out of focus, until you look closely, and realise that they are focused correctly. It may be to do with the light, reflecting off the pavement.

Despite the lack of wide open space, this image demonstrates how a wide angled lens and small aperture produce a deep depth of field, keeping everything in focus, from the front of the image, to the back.


Example 2


View 1500 x 1000


Not an ideal shot for demonstrating depth of field, as only a small area of the image contains distant objects, but even so… it does demonstrate clear focus from front to back… and I like the shot.

I was fully expecting the car lights to be extended through the image, due to the long exposure time, but was amused to see the ghost trainer in the bottom right, where someone had walked into the shot.


Example 3


View 1500 x 1000


While focus is maintained from near to far, clarity is lost towards the distance, due to poor light, and persistent drizzle.

The image may look underexposed, but it was getting dark, and I had to use brightness compensation to prevent the camera from producing an image that looked lighter than the actual scene. Sometimes you want things to look lighter than they are… like night photography, but in this case, I wanted to show just how dark and miserable a day it really was.


Day 2

I got up early to take my car for a service and MOT and was amazed to find decent light for the first time in weeks. Needless to say, once I’d dropped the car off, I went back home, grabbed my camera, and went for a walk up behind the golf course.

Example 4


View 1500 x 1000



I was standing in shade, among some trees on the edge of the golf course. This made for an interesting graduation from dark to light, which along with the trees in the foreground, adds to the feeling of depth.


Example 5


View 1500 x 1000


Exposure compensation was needed to stop the sky from being blown out, and then the RAW file tweaked in Camera RAW on Photoshop to recover some detail in the dark areas.

The far distance is only a thin sliver through the middle, but it serves its purpose.


Example 6


View 1500 x 1000


Not some neolithic standing stone, so much as a boundary marker on the golf course, I think.

More tweaking of levels on the RAW file were needed here.


Example 7 (sequence)

No processing has been done to these shots, beyond resizing. Click on the thumbnails to see the 1500 x 1000 versions.

exercise2-7a_8-300  2 exercise2-7a_9-300

3 exercise2-7a_10-300  4 exercise2-7a_11-300

5 exercise2-7a_12-300  6 exercise2-7a_13-300


View 1500 x 1000

8 exercise2-7a_15-300  9 exercise2-7a_16-300

I wouldn’t say any of these are perfect images for demonstrating deep depth of field, as while there is good focus from foreground to distant background, the detail in the distance is lost in the haze. However, I was having so much fun playing with the light, and love the way they look, so chose to include them here regardless.

Settings for all of these images are the same, except for the shutter speed, which varies between 1/10th and 1/50th of a second.



Example 8


View 1500 x 1000


There’s more deep depth of field in view here. Pity I’d lost the light at this point.


Example 9


View 1500 x 1000


In terms of composition, I feel this image is quite weak. However, the depth of field is very deep, and I really like the colours. While use of the camera’s built in flash lit the bark on the tree trunk nicely, a little tweaking in Camera RAW was needed to retain the detail in the rocks,