Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Shallow focus flowers

click photo to enlarge
I can remember the first photograph that I took where I deliberately sought an out of focus background.  It was of the engraved metal head a processional cross in a church. The camera I was using was the Russian-made Zenit E with its "kit lens" of the day (though that phrase hadn't been invented then), a Helios 58mm f2. Needless to say I took the shot with the lens wide open at maximum aperture from a fairly close distance. I've been reading about the methods that cameras use to overcome shallow depth of field when close to the subject (as in macro photography). Most involve the merging of multiple shots each taken in a different plane of focus. Very clever and very useful if you want everything in focus as some kinds of photography do.

My photography, by and large, involves taking shots where I want a large depth of field but in situations where it isn't difficult to achieve by stopping down; for example when shooting architecture. When it comes to macro photography I rarely want everything to be in focus because this is a discipline in which I like to produce soft, out of focus effects.

Today's photographs are details from a bunch of flowers in a vase in our living room. I could have taken both shots with much greater depth of field, but the dreamy effect of the out of focus areas appealed to me more. The depth of field of the chrysanthemum shot is minimal, with the sharp edges of a couple of petals betraying where the point of focus rested.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo 1 Title: Lily Stigma and Anthers
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Manual
Focal Length: 35mm Macro (70mm - 35mm equiv.) crop
F No: f3.5
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off