Exercise 2.7

Use a combination of small apertures and wide lens to take a number of photographs exploring deep depth of field. Because of the small apertures you’ll be working with slow shutter speeds and may need to use a tripod or rest the camera on a stable surface to prevent ‘camera shake’ at low ISOs. Add one or two unedited sequences, together with relevant shooting data and an indication of your selects, to your learning log.

Achieving deep depth of field might appear easy compared to the difficulties of managing shallow depth of field. We’re surrounded by images made with devices rather than cameras whose short focal lengths and small sensors make it hard to achieve anything other than deep depth of field. The trick is to include close foreground elements in focus for an effective deep depth of field image. Foreground detail also helps to balance the frame, which can easily appear empty in wide shots, especially in the lower half. When successful, a close viewpoint together with the dynamic perspective of a wide-angle lens gives the viewer the feeling that they’re almost inside the scene.

The above images are an attempt to follow the brief given for the exercise, to achieve a deep depth of field I have attempted to frame elements in focus in the foreground using a wide angle lens and small aperture to create a deep depth of field.

The image above that may struggle to deliver the desired effect of deep depth, is the picture of the band stand framed square and centre in the picture and although there is a deep depth of field in the picture, the subject in the centre of the frame seems to restrict or at least discourage the viewers gaze from venturing further into the picture.


Exercise 2.6

Use a combination of wide apertures, long focal lengths and close viewpoints to take a number of photographs with shallow depth of field. (Remember that smaller f numbers mean wider apertures.) Try to compose the out-of-focus parts of the picture together with the main subject. Add one or two unedited sequences, together with relevant shooting data and an indication of your selects, to your learning log.

Wide apertures create shallow depth of field, especially when combined with a long focal length and a close viewpoint. In human vision the eye registers out-of-focus areas as vague or indistinct – we can’t look directly at the blur. But in a photograph, areas of soft focus can form a large part of the image surface so they need to be handled with just as much care as the main subject.

Don’t forget that the camera’s viewfinder image is obtained at maximum aperture for maximum brightness and therefore at the shallowest depth of field. Use the depth of field preview button to see the actual depth of field at any particular aperture. (This is especially useful in film cameras where you don’t have the benefit of reviewing a shot immediately after you’ve taken it). It’s surprising to see the effect that a single f stop can have on the appearance of an image.


All of the Photographs above were shot at f 2.8 on a very overcast day. The shallow depth of field does seem to guide the viewer to the sharp area of the photograph. The blur in some of the shots seems to contribute to the overall composition, where as in others it detracts from the main subject. In the photograph with a single swing chain running down the centre of the frame, the blurred block of colour to the left of the frame seems to detract from the main subject.

I can see the importance of visualising the final outcome of an image, setting the camera to obtain the desired effect, being aware of how things will look in the frame even with a shallow depth of field.

Exercise 2.5

In the two shots above both have a subject close in the foreground and then some distance to the background.

In the first shot the subject is clearly in focus with the background behind blurred, this invites the viewer to focus their attention on the subject in the foreground which is clear and sharp and more comfortable to look at, the shallow depth of field has drawn the viewers gaze away from the blurred areas in the picture.

In the second shot with the focus set to infinity causing everything past a certain point to be in focus, the background is now sharp with a large depth of field and the main subject in the foreground is out of focus. Of course it’s not impossible to look at the blurred subject in the foreground, but the eye does seem to relax on the sharp areas of the image.

For me the first shot is the easiest to look at, the sharp subject in the foreground sits easy in the composition with the blurred background complementing the over all effect.

Exercise 2.4

Setting the camera to aperture priority and using a 24-70mm lens I set a wide aperture of 2.8 at a focal length of 48mm the film equivalent of 72mm. With these settings the overall effect seems to compliment the subject in the portrait. The shallow depth of field seems to push the subject forward from the blurred background, the result of a wide aperture, coupled with the slight compression of the features of the subject from the use of a telephoto lens appears to have very attractive results.


My camera settings for the portrait  below are not exactly as set out in the course instructions but the overall effect is approaching the goal set, something for me to watch out for in future exercises, also I need to work on my composition when doing Head Shots I seem to either frame to tight or leave to much space around the subject. Another thing for me to be conscious of in future.Rachel Ex 2.4


Exercise 2.3

Exercise 2.3

Choose a subject in front of a background with depth. Select your shortest focal length and take a close low viewpoint, below your subject. Find a natural point of focus and take the shot.

You’ll see that a very wide lens together with a close viewpoint creates extreme perspective distortion. Gently receding lines become extreme diagonals and rounded forms bulge towards the camera. Space appears to expand. The low viewpoint adds a sense of monumentality, making the subject seem larger than it is, and tilting the camera adds to the effect as vertical lines dramatically converge. Not the ideal combination for a portrait shot!

Rachel 005

10mm f3.5 1/50 ISO 200

In the shot above with the subject central, I felt as I took the shot I was much closer to the subject than it now appears, to the point were the subject is no longer the dominant focal point to the viewer, the area around the subject has become monumental and as predicted in the brief, the low view point  tilting upwards has created extreme perspective distortion. I agree not ideal for portrait but a good stand by for a punk rock band.

In the shot below, the use of a very wide lens and small aperture gives an almost abstract quality to a shot of the Humber Bridge the extreme diagonals seem to shoot towards the vanishing point helping with a sense of the dramatic. This may be one of the ways to approach some pictures of architecture given the very dramatic effect it achieves.


Humber Bridge

24mm f22 1/50 ISO 100

Exercise 2.2

Select your longest focal length and compose a portrait shot fairly tightly within the frame in front of a background with depth. Take one photograph. Then walk towards your subject while zooming out to your shortest focal length. Take care to frame the subject in precisely the same way in the viewfinder and take a second shot. Compare the two images and make notes in your learning log.



In the two shots taken above, the first shot is taken at a focal length of 70mm and has zoomed in on the subject at some distance, this has resulted in the shot having the feeling of space around the subject.

In the second shot taken close in to the subject at a focal length of 24mm, the shot seems tighter on the subject and as mentioned in the course notes, we see ‘completely new elements crash into the background’.


The reason the shot was not composed as tight as recommended in the Brief was down to my chosen location for the exercise not being as snug as I would of liked so resulting in the full profile shot.

My main reflection from this exercise would be to say “it’s amazing what you don’t see when your not looking for it”. This exercise has taught me so much in such a short space of time, having in the past mostly concentrated on what I would of classed the main subject, I never really considered the effect the focal length and positioning was having to the over all subject and was probably now I consider it, making all my selections of images post shoot on what felt right rather than a considered process of what I wanted pre shoot. Great Exercise.


Exercise 2.1

Ex 2.1 001

fig.1 24mm/ film 36mm

Ex 2.1 002

fig.2 32mm/ film 48mm

Ex 2.1 003

fig.3 52mm/ film 78mm


Ex 2.1 004

fig.4 70mm/ film 105mm

Above are four images of the same location recorded at different focal lengths. As we zoomed in we appear to loose some of the scene as though we are walking into the picture. Looking at the right hand wall as we zoom into the picture we see little change in the ‘angle of view’

Looking at the different images I feel fig.2. feels closest to the view of our normal vision.