Task: “Use a combination of wide apertures, long focal lengths and close viewpoints to take a number of photographs with shallow depth of field”.
I find many of these exercises quite hard, not because they’re technically or intellectually beyond me, but because of the way I take photographs. I tend to work in a way where I see things and take a photograph; I see images everywhere, or the potential for them, and I work out what I need to do with the technical bits to give me the image I am seeing in my mind. It also means the when I set out to complete these exercises I often find myself distracted by all the images I could get and usually end up assuming I’ll come back with images that have completed the brief, and then when I come home I realise that I don’t have them.
I’ve often also found myself limited by equipment. The camera I started the course with just would not give me sufficient depth-of-field which was frustrating.
However, I think because I tend to use depth-of-field a lot when I compose an image, and because I now have a camera that I find easier to use, combined with a lens that goes to f/2.8 at all focal lengths, this has been much easier for me to achieve. In fact, I have taken far too many photographs at f/2.8 recently, just because having that option has opened up a whole new set of images to me. So, many of these images are, clearly, showing my sheer joy at being able to experiment with new equipment.
This is Durdle Door in Dorset. Not a traditional image of it, but I’d set out to get something different. This is f/2.8 at 140mm.
The following images are really a series of test shots, I wanted to try the effect of varying the f-stop on depth of field from a fixed position. I really liked the way the violin strings narrow at the point that is in focus, almost spreading out and creating the illusion of varying thicknesses along their length. I repeated this sort of exercise several times, just trying to see how shallow that focus was at various focal lengths.