Exercise 2.6 Near and far

19th October 2019

This exercise is about depth in the frame. Now you understand depth of field, you can use deep focus to photograph a figure in an environment, combining portrait with landscape and emphasising the sense of space.

Aim to shoot a conclusive series of full-length and head-and-shoulders portraits using a foreground figure or face in front of a background scene plus a foreground space with a figure in the distance – with both areas in focus.

Place the figure in the edges and corners of the frame as well as in the centre and on the four points of the ‘golden section’.


Unfortunately this exercise did not achieve it’s objects very well. To be honest I still do not understand depth of field enough to keep it in my head to use when I am out and about. I actually twiddle a lot but I cannot make the connection yet. This is not uncommon for me. I have problem visualising peoples verbal words when describing certain mathematics and geometric concepts. I have to ‘do’ to make the connections between spoken and the written word in many contexts and learn from my mistakes. It can be very frustrating and I found it a hindrance as a teacher when learning new concepts. However, my learning style just means more physical practice so that I can ‘see’ what people are describing or wanting me to understand.

I took the photographs on the green outside Norwich cathedral of my two daughters sitting and chatting – although they started to entertain people by singing, lucky me – on a bench. I moved around the bench to get the positioning of the subjects as asked in the brief requirements. One major drawback was I had forgotten my glasses so I actually couldn’t see if the photographs were in focus or not. My daughters were highly amused at my lack of professionalism and still haven’t let me forget and have nicknamed me ‘the blind photographer women’.

The camera was on the tripod, I used remote shutter release cable, the ISO set to a constant 200 and the lens was my 14-42mm.

Below are my chosen photographs for this brief, and here is the link to the entire shoot in contact sheet form.

I am not sure if the above photographs actually fall into the Golden Section or the corners, probably because it depends on how pedantic one is with precision. So I have just said – Golden Section-ish as I am not quite sure.

The photograph below is something that I would definitely describe as being situated within a corner.

42mm f5.6 1/60s

I think I will analyse these a little bit more in depth – only because I know I have not hit the nail on the head with this briefs objectives. to be honest this is an important exercise, depth of field can make or break a photograph just as much as being able to understand and manipulate light to your advantage.

These are an example of the close-up photographs that I had taken. As you can see the backgrounds are slightly out of focus. On the photograph on the left, my youngest is also slightly out of focus, so I really need to understand how to master the depth of field as at the moment I am very basic with it.

I think the best thing for me is just to go out and repeat the exercise and practice the headshots and take notes at the same time and review shots as I am taking them.

The way I learn is causing me some difficulties and I will just have to practice, take notes and practice until it clicks. Which it will!

23rd October 2019

I managed to get my daughter to roll out of bed and take the kitten to the vets with me. She also agreed to let me take a head shot to practice getting the background and subject in focus.

I set the camera to ISO 200 and shot the first batch of photos at 20mm, I altered the F-stop and then in turn the shutter speed. I began with a few medium DoF and then worked my way through to a deep-focus DoF. The results are interesting for me to see as I can now specifically analyse them and ‘see’ what I am doing. Diagrams are useful but it is until I put two and two together myself the I can begin to understand things.

The results for the first test shoot are below.

Analysing image settings above for the next test shoot:

  • Aperture controls the amount of light entering a lens and is responsible for depth of field, or the extent of the image that’s in sharp focus.
  • Shutter speed controls how long your camera’s sensor is exposed to light and is responsible for the appearance of motion in the photo.
  • ISO determines how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light while also being responsible for how much digital noise appears in the image.

On analysing my first shoot the shots that should be in focus are anything with a deep focus DoF using narrow apertures ranging from f11 too f22. The re is some out of focus points within this range still especially the f11 shots. Also depending on the SS used the images are under exposed – not enough light due to the small apertures used. This is where I should be calculating the exposure triangle more carefully.

For exposure I could have increased the ISO number or I could have used a fill in flash to highlight the object of focus. For the final f22 shot the wall is out of focus, this could be blur due to hand shake? What I didn’t do for my shots was check the point of focus spot, so it could actually be this that has hindered the focusing within the last image, which at f22 should have meant the whole picture plane was in focus.

I shall re-turn this afternoon when picking up my cat from the vets and re-test by using higher f stops and checking my focal points. I will also take my telephoto lens and use this as I have read that stepping away from the subject and zooming in renders f/g m/g b/g in focus?

I only managed to shoot three shots before the taxi arrived, but luckily the last photograph taken had the f/g m/g b/g all in focus. This was helped by the use of the lens as I took it a couple of steps away from my daughter and zoomed in.

I think I need extra practice, not just so I can get to grips with the exposure triangle and the f/stop combinations for this type of photograph but so I can also see how different lenses that I have produce different results. Again, for me I can only do this if I research and practice and review.

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