Depth of Field First
In the photo below there was such a close distance between my camera lens and my subject, I had to carefully select my focus point. Did I place my critical focus where it needs to be? I knew I would have both soft and sharp blossoms, I wanted the visual journey of future viewers to be pleasant. I actually first shot at a lesser f stop, and placed the out of focus blossoms in front of the sharp ones. That does “sometimes” work, but their light tone was very disturbing. The front two blossoms have the first 50% tack sharp and the front blossom to our lower right is about 33% sharp. That seems to work for me. I made several images further away from the flowers, and I was able to either get the entire group sharp, or the softer back blossoms were not noticeable at that distance. I usually try to make a variety of compositions when working with any given subject. As you can tell by the dimensions, this image has some space above and below the blossoms cropped off.
In the 1990s I used to teach students to bracket depth of field the way some photographers bracket exposure. Eventually I figured that for a teacher to teach such a cavalier attitude towards depth of field/composition, while being one who did not teach bracketing exposures, didn’t make a lot of sense, so I changed my methods.
Close-up work of all sorts puts a premium on depth of field or maybe more appropriately stated, point of focus. The old rule for members of the animal kingdom was to “shoot for the eyes”. That is still true although images like this with only the eyes sharp are going out of style. Insects especially dragonflies worked well in the sharp eyes sense, as they have very big eyes to shoot for.
It’s funny because as equipment marches forward and it becomes easier to get everything sharp, or at least covered with focus, it is actually taking some of the art out of photography. Of course you can still create an image of a wild animal with shallow depth of field, but it seems like nobody wants to try. The only thing I would dislike more than seeing the majority of the images on display becoming interpretive or overly abstract, would be for everything to be totally literal. I guess everything goes in trends and eventually we will return to a wide variety of styles.
Variety of Light = Variety of Mood and Subject.
Well this certainly has been a good summer for pictures like the ones you see below. Just the same it might be just as well for me that I only snapped one picture during the entire summer of 2013. As much as I love making blue sky photos of birds, I am a nature photographer and I thrive on variety of subject, mood, color and texture. I know we have had a few foggy mornings as of late. I also know that there has been at least one storm (in my area) and it has rained once or twice, and it has been overcast for about 10 minutes (seems like) the whole summer, but really, sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny, etc., etc., boring, boring.
Anyway I thought I’d share some sunny, sunny, sunny, sunny day pictures of a Red-tailed Hawk and American White Pelicans. It is of course true that sunny days do work well for this type of imagery, it would just be nice to see some variety.
Seldom Seen. You don’t see a lot of American Wigeons in these parts but I got these along Highway 49 at Horicon Marsh MWR a few years ago. The light for this shot was very difficult. Sunshine can be a blessing or a pain in wildlife photography.
I appreciate you stopping by at Earth Images and may God Bless, Wayne