A failure of focus

I learnt a lot this week.

Not from my great success at my depth of field homework. Which actually left me with 9 photos – shot at three different apertures for three different focus objects – that were virtually indistinguishable…..

Despite this I do know I can actually shoot one object out of a line of three in focus with the others blurred. Honest. But this week I learnt more from my almost complete inability to achieve that effect than all the times I have done it successfully.

Why I wondered hadn’t it worked? Why was it so hard to get just one object in focus? Well the reason seems to be that I was too far away and shooting from a raised angle looking down rather than along the objects. So – note to self – don’t do that again. Unless it what I want to achieve.

My failure also came in part from me trying to be too clever by making a story with three stages about cooking based on my mums fabulous old cookbook. Instead of being sensible reading the instructions carefully and putting the camera on the table and using near enough identical objects like three peppers or three lego figures. Although cropping helped make a picture that told the story I wanted anyway! Even without the fancy effect.


Our main homework was actually about the different effect you get from using a wide angle lens versus a telephoto zoom. This I did get. And came away with a far better understanding of the difference than ever before.  The dramatically different amount and type of information you can get in the frame from a wide angle which expands space versus a telephoto which collapses it. See my two shots of the same lock on the community pool gate. One only reveals a a blurry patch of blue the other shows a whole swimming pool. You can see why  estate agents love wide angle. So much more space in the first than the second.

The same with the playground the first shot makes it seem so much bigger.

The challenge to get the foreground object the same in both certainly had me moving my own position much more than I have ever done in the past. It is also going to make me far more likely to try to get close where I can use the wide angle. I just love the stretching feel of it.


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