Sarah Scott

OCA Expressing Your Vision Notes & Learning Log

Exercise 2.6

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.

Durdle Door 1
Durdle Door f/2.8 at 140mm

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.

Durdle Door 3
Durdle Door f/2.8 at 66mm.


Between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door f/2.8 at 55mm

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.

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