January 30, 2011

Weekly Picture Project: Week 4 (Depth of Field)

This week's assignment was a bit more difficult for me, partly because I was pretty busy with an English teachers conference in San Jose, and partly because I don't know a great deal about Depth of Field. Learning about it was important, though, like eating vegetables for my photographic brain.

So, what I did was to take two very similar pictures, three times. For each pair, I took one with a large aperture (and therefore a lower f-stop number, and theoretically a more shallow depth of field... if your eyes glazed over while reading that, don't worry; just check out the pictures, and you'll likely see a difference), and I also took one with a smaller aperture (which would reverse all that crap in the previous parentheses).

In any case, just compare the two pictures. The smaller the f-stop number, the more limited the focus should be (which would lead to hopefully pleasantly blurry background, for example... I think):

Pair 1: Swing-set in the jungle gym at work:



Pair 2: Coffee mug at work



Pair 3: Angela in the San Pedro Mall



This hurts my brain, but I believe you get the point. I haven't noted the shutter speed or the ISO for each of these pictures, but if you're interested in that, that's too bad.

Actually, if you really do want to figure those out, you can click on the picture and find that information in flickr.

Thanks for reading, and I'll hope to see you here again next week!

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Lucy said...


very nice, and very nice explanation. that is something i always seem to be trying to learn, and find out about and then forget/scramble in my tiny brain....

but this was a nice visual explanation. most excellent

in every case I here I wildly prefer the blurry background - large aperture? low f-stop number? - version.

Sitzman said...

I agree, and I think that usually that's probably a lot more desirable, unless you're shooting a larger scene, or other scenarios that make me confused once again.

I think I've learned about f-stops, shutters, and ISO about 50 times, but it's never really stuck... It MAY have this time, but the jury's still out...