May 292010

Yesterday morning I was up and out early — still not early enough to catch the 5:30ish sunrise, but still early enough to catch a bit of softer light. I stayed close to home, visited the site at the end of my row located on the East Wash.

I decided to work on Karen’s mini assignment since it would also help me learn a bit more about my new camera.

Lesson 1

ISO 125; f/8;  1/125; 16 mm;  no post processing

ISO 80; f/4;  1/320; 16 mm;  no post processing

A few comments on the above two photos:

1)  If one is going to take a close-up make sure that “pretty” spots are not bugs.  I couldn’t believe it when I opened these photos! I have some that are really close-up and icky. (I’ll show them to you if you want to see the sucking little aphids… probably my clearest pics of the morning!)

2) I wish I had thought to take the camera out of AUTO ISO… so that value would be equal in each.

3) You can see a difference in depth of field but it is not extensive.  Basically I’ve learned that my camera’s aperture only ranges from f/2.8 to f/8;  but if I use the zoom, then that range is reduced favoring the more open apertures (f/5.0 to f/8). So, this tells me that I’m not going to be able to play with aperture priority as much as I had hoped (yes I read the specs before buying the camera but I didn’t “get it.”)  Anyway, I can work with this.

Lesson 2

The following is a photo taken with the aperture set at f/2.8:

ISO 80; f/2.8 1/500 5 mm — this photo was cropped to remove the edge of an ugly green outdoor carpet.

I forced the camera to enable me to set an aperture at f/2.8 by shooting at a wide angle, rather than zooming and framing the shot.  I cropped the image to get rid of the unwanted elements.

I learned an interesting lesson during this exercise… if I want depth of field to look more extensive, even if aiming for a shallow depth of field, having a line that leads away from the central image helps.  I had also taken a photo with the fence directly behind the plant, still at f/2.8 and although there is a bit of a bokeh, it was not enough to hide the fence. Final result was not an interesting photo.

I wish I had taken this photo with an aperture of f/8 but still at 5mm – just to see the difference.  In fact, now that I see how much I cropped from the photo, I think I would have been better off shooting it with the zoom  and the higher aperture that comes with it.

Lesson 3:

From this point on, if I’m going to experiement I need to take notes.  The EXIF information is not enough since it does not show when I used the Macro or Super Macro setting.

Also, I think if I take notes I’ll run through a more disciplined set of tests.  As it is, I’m having a hard time finding enough photos (although I took at least 100) for exact comparison.

Lesson 4:

Manual focus and I do not get along.  I’ll stick to auto focus… but will continue to tell the camera WHERE to focus. In the following photo, I used manual focus — can you see the problem? Well, maybe it isn’t as noticeable at this size, but if you look at my original size it’s like a a bad copy and paste.

ISO 80; f/5;  1/320; 59.2 mm; no post processing

Lesson 5:

Many of the “keeper” photos are are f/5 or f/5.6.  Nice mix of clear focus with depth of field leaning on shallow, but not a bokeh. A bokey would be welcome, but I’m not finding that I have a pretty bokeh.  But to determine that for sure, I’ll have to experiement more with the Macro and Super Macro.

ISO 80; f/5;  1/125; 27.6 mm;  detail and vibrancy painted on flower.

ISO 80; f/5.7;  1/125; 100 mm- no post processing

What was I saying about the bokeh?  Obviously this is good bokeh…. but until I get more disciplined about this, I’m not going to be able say why it worked here and not in some/many of the other photos.

I probably should crop this, right?  And do a little post processing with levels, maybe burn a bit here and there:

  3 Responses to “Mini Assignment #5: Depth of Field”

  1. Oh my head hurts! Karen, you are right. I forgot about the focal length! Thanks so much for pointing that out… I better reread your article and watch the video again!

    And thanks Tammy… I’ve been taking it easy on ISO. Figure the point and shoot cameras do best at ISO 80 or 100… though I’m sure once I get the Aperture and Shutter Speed under control I’ll be ready to see about ISO. But don’t want to think about it yet.

  2. This is a terrific study Judi. The reason the final photos had better bokeh is the longer focal length – 100mm. Did you get a chance to watch the short video link in the mini-assignment? He’s working with a DSLR but the same basic principles should work with your camera. He shows how lower aperture, moving in closer, and longer focal lengths all give you more blurred backgrounds. I’m looking forward to seeing more images!

  3. Your playing definitely taught me something new…..good job! LOL All of these turned out super…I am now just getting the ISO…it took be forever to understand aperature and shutter speed

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>