Project 2: Focus with a set aperture

[2-3 photographs]

For this project I decided to try out the technique using some Russian dolls from Ikea. This enabled me to concentrate on setting up the composition in my own time rather than dealing with external factors when outside. Because the figures were small I used a Canon macro EF-S 60mm lens on a tripod, with the aperture set at it’s lowest f-stop of f/2.8.

Taking the camera off auto-focus was new territory for me. It made me question why I had never used manual focus before. Maybe it’s because I’d previously had a ‘point-and-shoot’ camera which did everything for me, whilst I just had to press the button. Using manual-focus for the first time opened up a whole new world of photographic possibilities. It made me realise that I’m in control of the photos I want to take, not my camera!

Setting up the scene I realised that with such a contrast between the sharp, focused subject and surrounding bokeh effect, it was important to keep my camera as still as possible when the shutter was to be released. I decided to set my camera to it’s timer setting so that I wouldn’t be holding the camera when making the exposure. Below are my captured images, starting with the nearest Russian doll in focus.

ISO 100 60mm f/2.8 1/50

ISO 100 60mm f/2.8 1/60

ISO 100 60mm f/2.8 1/60

Early on this project has made me realise the importance of selective focusing on a particular area of the image. These images look much more interesting than a line of dolls all focused equally. It is the blurred areas of the image that add the interest. My favourite is the first image. At first the viewer’s eyes are drawn to the subject in focus  in the foreground, to the left of the frame, and then you like across to the blurred background. Whereas with the other two images my eyes were drawn to the focused subject and I missed the blurred regions of the image.Another thing I noticed is that the first frame had a shutter release time of 1/50 seconds whilst the others were both 1/60 seconds. I hope to explain this as the course develops.

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