Photography Lesson 2 – Depth of Field

Depth of Field Using f/Stops (Apertures)

Shoot 30-50 images using the camera as a vehicle for making unusual visual juxtapositions. Shoot from a variety of high and low angles, getting close (within 6 ft.) to your subject. This will help you loosen up in your picture making as well as give you some fresh ideas about what goes on inside the “frame”. Shoot each image in pairs, one with shallow depth of field and one with greater depth of field. Begin by framing and focusing on your subject, getting as close as possible will help highlight the differences. Shoot the first frame at a large aperture such as f/2.8 using the appropriate shutter speed. Make a second exposure at a small aperture such as f/16 using the appropriate shutter speed. Remember to change your shutter speed proportionally when you change aperture (i.e. f/2.8 @ 1/500 gives shallow depth of field while f/8 @ 1/60 yields greater depth of field). Use your meter as a guide. Do not change focus between shots. You will show 3-5 pairs of photos to complete the assignment.

Close-Up Abstraction
The object of this assignment is to learn to get close to objects, include no extraneous details within the frame of your image and to learn the physical limitations of your lens. This picture must be in focus. Control the depth of field using various apertures from f/2.8 to f/22 with the appropriate shutter speeds based on your meter readings.

Bird’s Eye View
The object of this assignment is to look at the world as though you are a bird looking down on your environment. Consider the different look of angles and how abstracted the view is from our normal, walking on two feet, view. Don’t take this assignment too literally and get yourself into dangerous positions. It is important to always be aware of your relationship to your surroundings when you shoot.

Worm’s Eye View
You must approach this assignment as though you are a worm looking up (that is assuming worms had eyes) from the surface of the ground. Again you will notice how different the angles of trees, buildings, roofs, people, etc. look from the view of a worm. Try to represent this unique perspective in your images.

Assignment Objectives
Depth of Field is one of the most difficult concepts in photography to understand. It is also one of the most important. This workshop will teach you what depth of field is and how to apply it to make more interesting photographs. Another step towards understanding “camera vision”. You’ll also know what all those tiny numbers on your camera actually mean!

5 pairs of images demonstrating both the visual and technical aspects of the assignment.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson

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