Monday, May 31, 2010

The Power of Manual Focus and Depth Perception

Don't be afraid of the manual focus setting!  While it may not be idea for quick images you don't have time to compose, when you take the time to set up a shot and adjust your focus point you can change how an image is perceived.  Below are two examples of the same object with two different focal points used to compose the different images. 

The seeds in the foreground are the focal point of this photo while everything else becomes blurred quickly. 

In this shot the focal point is on the center of the flower.  Notice how the outer seeds are virtually transparent and the flower now has almost a halo appearance.

To accentuate or embolden your focal point you would want to blur much of the rest of the photo.  This means you would create a small depth of field.  If you read my ABC's of Photography page or are a little educated on photo technique you might recall that depth of field is the part of the photo that is in focus.  When composing a photo it is very important to consider what part of the photo you want in focus and how much of it.

So how do you create a shallow depth of field? (ie: have a little area of the photo in focus)
You simply lower your aperture.  The smaller the setting the smaller the depth of field will be.  That is what I did to take the above photos!  My aperture setting was as low as it would go at 2.5.  That created the very narrow focal area in my photo.  And how I changed what area was in focus?  Simply by adjusting my lens focus.  

Now get out there and experiment with focusing and depth of field!  

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