Thursday, March 12, 2015

Depth Of Field

How do you control Depth Of Field (DOF)? No special software, no slight of hand, just plain old fashioned DOF. The answer is by controlling the aperture (F-stop) of your lens. It is easy to learn and easy to do. And it is REAL, done on the spot while shooting, not a decision made later in the glow of your computer screen.

I am a strong proponent of getting things right in the camera as much as possible, without having to resort on software to do the job later. That being said, some things MUST be dealt with after the fact, like optimizing the image with software like Lightroom.

But DOF is a decision that should be made at the time of shooting. With close-up bird photography, shallow DOF is the best approach. It allows the details of the bird to stand out while allowing the background to go soft and muted.

DOF is created by the optics of lenses. All you have to do is to learn the basics, and the lens will do all the work. For shallow DOF, use a large lens aperture like f/4 or f/5.6. For deep DOF, allowing most everything in the image to be sharp and in focus, use a small lens aperture like f/16 or f/22.

That's it. No complicated formulas, no time-consuming decisions. With a little practice you will easily create the DOF you desire in your images. And you will have the satisfaction of knowing that YOU controlled it, and did not have to rely on software for the look you want.

Shutter Speed 1/160 sec.  Aperture f/5.6.  ISO 800.  Lens: Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS with built-in 1.4 extender for an effective focal length of 560mm..  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "Taking care of your own learning is a part of taking charge of your life."  --Warren G. Bennis

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