Project 9: focal lengths

Task: Find a view – details in distance and middle. Take a sequence of pictures in the same direction.

The below images were taken of the signal box at Beamish Museum. It was built in 1867 and came from Rowley near Consett. In the background of the photo there is a goods yard complete with warehouse and office from Alnwick, Northumberland.

ISO 100, 33mm, f/9.5, 1/60

It was a bright sunny day so I could use an aperture of f/9.5 to have details from the foreground through to the background. At 35mm both the signal box and warehouse are in view. The signal box is in focus while the warehouse is not as clear. There is also surrounding trees in view towards the background.

ISO 100, 65mm, f/9.5, 1/60

Zooming in at 65mm the ‘Beamish Waggon’ sign on the warehouse is much clearer. The railway track connects the foreground with the background. Less of the signal box is in view but it takes up 3 quarters of the frame.

ISO 100, 135mm, f/9.5, 1/60

At 135mm the warehouse is virtually out of sight. The window of the signal box fills almost the entire frame. A closer view offers more information about what is in the signal box, including a plant.


Using a tele-photo lens has helped me to understand the different types of image I can capture. Close-up shots are great to photograph details of a subject, but this can be at the expense of losing the context of both the background and foreground. Also using a smaller aperture enabled me to include details in the distance. This is something I should do more of as I do get into the habit of photographing at the highest aperture. I think this used to be because I used to mistakenly think that a wider aperture would mean a larger amount of the scene would be in focus. However I know realise that a wider aperture produces a shallower depth of field.

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