Sept 26, 2017 Session


  • Review of Sept 12 Session
  • Composition rules and examples.
  • Submissions review.
  • Break.
  • Depth of Field – Aperture preference setting – Distance to subject.
  • Indoor and (weather permitting) Outdoor Practice.

I have been away for a couple of days on two photoshoots to capture the fall colours before they disappear. ( I will post my pictures under photography outings later this weekend). Here are some of the slides I showed during the Depth of Field session last Tuesday September 26th sorry for the delay.

What the camera does to a line of equally sized dots in a row,
when you focus on the middle dot. On either side of this dot the image
shows increasingly bigger fuzzy dots

Here is an actual photo of increasingly fuzzy lines on either side of the focus point.
Taken with a macro lens, which have a notoriously shallow depth of field.

Our experiment on the Crescent Heights meadow overlooking downtown Calgary
Click to enlarge, use the browser back button to return here

Here is the link to an easy Depth of Field and Hyperfocal distance calculator. Note: Go to the “Advanced” mode to get the Hyperfocal distance.

Here is a quick lookup table for Canon Cameras with APS-C sensors (1.6 crop factor)

It is really simple, know what lens you have on your camera. If it is a zoom lens, read off the focal length setting. Check what f stop you have selected. (I am assuming you are using “Aperture Preference” or are on “Manual”) Read off the Hyperfocal Distance from the chart where the vertical and the horizontal meet, then take the same number of (large) paces as is indicated in meters. Turn around focus on your subject (in our case that was Gertrude) and take your picture. Both your subject and the skyline should be sharp. Of course you can take a few extra steps to make absolutely sure. If the space is tight, go to the next f stop.  Go from f/8 to f/16 or f/22, that way you can be closer to the subject and still have everything sharp.

Thanks for attending everyone. The page is now open for submissions.

Try out your camera on Aperture Preference or Priority,  “A” on most cameras or “Av” on  Canon cameras. Try opening your aperture to the maximum your camera lens allows. At home try taking pictures of an object such as a vase on your table an move as close as possible while still keeping the object in focus. See if you can “isolate” the object from the background. If you can figure it out from the camera manual, set your ISO (sensor sensitivity) to automatic. This way, all you have to do is pay attention to the aperture, and keeping your subject in focus. The camera will figure out shutter speed and ISO setting for you. If you want to try an easy Depth of Field Calculator, click here.

Here is my example. A vase on a coffee table in front of a loveseat. In this shot the camera is about 40 cm away from the focus point, a pouch of knitting needles leaning against a glass vase. The couch cushion is about 90 cm from the vase. The zoom lens is set at 35 mm and the aperture at maximum f/4.5. ISO (sensor sensitivity) is on automatic.

Below the second picture with the same camera settings, focused on the knitting needles but I have now moved further back, and am 70 cm from the knitting needles.

As you can see this has a dramatic effect on the sharpness of the background cushion.

Give it a try at home, and post your results. Remember no more than 800 pixels wide.

33 Responses to Sept 26, 2017 Session

  1. Henri says:

    Here is my first picture of Gertrude. Taken at a distance of 15 meters, my zoom lens at 105 mm and my aperture at f4.5. Shutter speed and ISO were automatic as I had set the camera on Aperture preference. The objective was to get Gertrude sharp and the background “fuzzy”. A technique often used by fashion photographers to make the model stand out. At 105 mm focal length, I would have had to walk 280 meters away from Gertrude to get both Gertrude and the Calgary skyline sharp. At that distance Gertrude would have been just a small speck on the image.

  2. Henri says:

    Here is my second picture of Gertrude. This time the objective was to get both Gertrude and the Calgary skyline in focus. I chose 50 mm as my focal length, and I set the aperture at f/8. I then paced the required 10.5 meters to get to the “Hyperfocal” distance, read from the chart for my full frame camera (lens multiplier of 1). For a cropped sensor camera, the Hyperfocal distance would have been 16.7 meter. (Lens multiplier of 1.6) As you can see it worked! Note: I cropped the picture so the gory detail of Gertrude’s “accident” does not show. You can just see that her hair is a little roughed up.

  3. Greg says:

    this picture was taken in April 2017. The crocuses were at their peak. It is an attempt to show the depth of field in particular with respect to the prairie grass and the fuzz on the crocus buds

  4. Greg says:

    this was was taken with a 28-70 zoom. set at 28mm, ISO 100, F8,1/200. It was while snowshoeing at Chester Lake. It was a very lucky shot representing depth of field. The detail on the frost is amazingly perfect

  5. Ron says:

    This is an example of a portrait shot utilizing depth of field and bokeh. It was taken with a 75-300 telephoto zoom lense set to 21o mm. Settings were ISO500, f/5.6, 1/320

  6. Ron says:

    Another depth of field example taken with a 75-300 telephoto zoom lens set to 130 mm. Settings were ISO160, f/4.5, 1/200

    • Bill says:

      Great examples Ron and Greg. We viewers appreciate that you included the image data, focal length of lens, if telephoto what specific distance at which it was set, as well as ISO, SS and fstop. For images showing hyperfocal distances the focal distance i.e. how far away the camera is from the foreground is necessary so we can all learn from the examples. Henri’s examples does include this portion of the data.
      Thanks for posting them.

  7. Geoff Turner says:

    This is an attempt to increase the DoF by moving the camera back. I couldn’t find a musician to sit in on the session, hence the Boyds Bear.
    This was taken at f3.5, 1/125, and ISO on auto at 1100.
    The distance from camera to focus point – which was the second fret – was 66 cm, and the distance from there to the bear was 76 cm. Zoom was at 19 mm.

  8. Geoff Turner says:

    The second photo has about the same settings.
    It was taken at f3.8, 1/125, and ISO on auto at 1250. (I meant to keep the f stop the same but forgot that it changes slightly with the zoom, as the aperture was at max.)
    The distance from the camera to the focus point – second fret again- was 300 cm.
    BTW…….my previous photo has the wrong distance. Camera to focus was 40, not 66 cm.
    Focus point to bear in this photo, still at 76 cm. Zoom was at 56 mm.

    • Henri says:

      Good experiment. Depth of Field is a great tool in photographic composition. For inspiration you can google “artistic depth of field photography”

  9. Val says:

    Viburnum fruits. f2.8 1/60

    • Henri says:

      Good example of DoF Val. How close were you and what was the focal length of your lens? The fruits are well placed in the frame and there is a leading line, which is a bit out of focus. The rest of the image has many distractions.

  10. Val says:

    Beech Nuts. f3.5 1/60

  11. Henri says:

    I like this composition much better. The DoF is well executed and in the background you can see some interesting bokeh sparkles. The attention goes to the in-focus beech nuts without being distracted by other elements. Well done!

    • Kim says:

      Hi Henri. What do you mean by booked sparkles? How is this accomplished.?

      • kim hunter says:

        I mean bokeh

      • Henri says:

        Hi Kim. Bokeh is out-of-focus sparkles or point light. Here is an example. I took this picture, focused on a Christmas ornament with a macro lens. The light points of the Xmas lights are very much out of focus and show up as sizeable bright “bokeh” blobs. If you look at the bokeh shapes you can see the octagonal pattern of the leaves of the camera aperture shutter.

        • kim hunter says:

          Very cool. How do you accomplish this?

          • Henri says:

            Hi Kim, This particular picture was carefully staged. I draped a black cloth over a stand and hung Christmas tree lights in loops over top of the cloth. I placed a black lacquered coffee table 1 meter away from the lights and placed the Christmas ornament on the near edge. Placed a spot light next to the ornament. Took a spot light meter reading on the ornament with the camera on manual and with the aperture at f/4.5 adjusted the exposure time. (The size of the aperture determines the size of the bokeh blobs.)Then composed the picture on a tripod. That is how these type of pictures are done.

  12. Bill says:

    I used the chart for 1.6 conversion factor and asked Val to stand to the side in a close foreground position as proof of hyperfocal distances working. Both the buildings in the background and Gertrude not to mention Ron, Greg and Henri are all in acceptable focus while Val is not.

  13. Diane Wilkinson says:

    This was from a walk in the neighbourhood on the weekend. ISO 100 F 1.8 1/160 from about 1 foot back. Just getting used to my new lens – 1.8 to 3.5.

  14. Kim says:

    I must admit the idea of the pencils was not original. I googled images of DOF and decided to try myself. Not as easy as I thought. Getting the light right was a big challenge. This was shot at 105mm, SO6400 (needed tripod), F5.6, S1/8, manual focus. Sorry, can’t tell you the exact distance but it was about 30cm. Tried some others but found it very hard to get the pencil tips in focus. Think I might try with a longer lens and see what happens. Thoughts?

    • Henri says:

      Well done Kim! Getting better at photography is about trying new things. Kudo’s for setting up this arrangement and trying to take pictures with a tripod. I love the vibrancy of the colours. The depth of field is very effective and the eye is led diagonally to the sharp pencil points, that are perfectly placed in one of the 1/3 intersections.

  15. Ross says:

    It was my turn to try.
    Same as Kim’s source.
    Photo was taken at f 2.8 with exposure compensation of – 1.0
    Shutter speed was 1/30th.
    Focal length was 35 mm
    ISO was 900 ( The lowest ISO on the D90 is 200 before going to L0.3,L0.7 etc. So I thought the ISO was less than 200. Why do you think the camera information showed ISO of 900? Could it be because I used exposure Compensation?
    I was trying to put the pencils in random order and focus in the middle of the pile. I wanted to have both ends out of focus.

    • Henri says:

      Interesting addition of a lemon and changing the locations of the pencil points. I cannot answer your question, unless you tell me if you were on Manual, Aperture Preference or Shutter Preference. Only in Manual do you have full control over all other aspects of your camera. Exposure compensation will work on the semi automatic modes but it is hard to comment on why ISO settings do what they do. It all depends on what Av or Tv modes decide to change first.

  16. Dave Arnold says:

    Bill and his tall friend Gertrude en route to the ridge —- demonstrating some apertures (on Bill’s shirt) and leafy bokeh. Settings : 55 to 300 mm zoom set at 210 mm, f5.6 at 1/160. ISO 400.

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