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Nature Tales issue #10-- Working With Depth of Field
July 08, 2007
Tips and Tricks For Taking The Best Nature and Flower Pictures You Have Ever TakenHi
Welcome to Nature Tales, the newsletter with insider tips for getting the most from your nature photographs. We will be sharing some of our secrets and strategies for better pictures and some don'ts for those not so good shots.
July, 2007 Issue #10
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It isn't the mountains that wear you out. It's the grain of sand in your shoe. -- Anonymous
Wisdom Flash - Creative VisualizationAre you familiar with Creative Visualization? This months wisdom flash features beautiful nature and flower pictures and music.
Enjoy this beautiful wisdom flash from Shakti Gawain. Explore your inner power and outer manifestations with .Creative Visualization. You will be glad you did.
How to Handle Depth of Field in Flower Pictures
The first time I heard the term depth of field I was totally lost. I had no idea what the phrase meant. Right away I began to feel inferior and unsure of my ability as a photographer. Even if I do just call myself a photo enthusiast, I still feel unsure when I come on common terms used by the pros.
So I looked into depth of field. Are you familiar with macro photography? I have talked about it before. Macro photography is where your subject (like flowers) is in focus while the surrounding and background areas are blurred. Well in depth of field, everything is in focus. One goal may be to take a close up picture of a flower with all parts of the photograph in focus.
This months article by Amy Renfrey has some great tips for improving depth of field in flower photography. Enjoy!
How To Work With Flowers And Depth Of Field In Digital Photography
This week, I’ve had the privilege of being very busy with photography. Included in my great fortune was a question by a lovely gentleman by the name of Steve asking about depth of field. He asked me about taking photos of flowers and getting the “perfect depth of field.”
In an email to me, Steve explained “I like to photograph flowers, very close. OK, no problem if the flower is fairly flat...needing very little depth of field. The problem occurred when I tried to get the outside and inside of a 1 and 1/2 inch flower at about 1 inch away. There is just not enough depth of field! Got any more ideas for me? Thanks again, Steve.”
If I am correct in my understanding, what Steve is asking is about getting a depth of field close enough for digital macro photography shots of flowers but not getting too close where the parts of the flower is in focus and parts are out of focus.
In digital macro photography and traditional macro photography taking photos can be a fine balance between distance and the camera lens. You certainly can take ideal macro shots but you need to look at the lenses you are using. If you are using a high magnification in your macro lenses then you will find your depth of field is shortened considerably. The more magnification you go in your digital photography lenses the less depth of field you have. The less magnification you have, the more depth of field you have and the more the camera will look further a field.
So what’s the answer? In my experience I have found that the right depth of field was obtained (take this picture of the rose above for example) by taking off the “flower Setting” on auto, and using macro lenses instead. (You can certainly use the flower setting if you don’t have enough magnification in your lenses.) I used mag x 7 for this one. That means that I used one macro lens that screwed onto the front of my lens with a magnification of 1. I stood up close and realized I needed to be closer in, so I added another lens that was a magnification of 2. Hence magnification of 3. I felt I still wasn’t close enough so I used another lense with a magnification factor of 4 and then I was satisfied with my result. That’s when I ended up with beautiful magnification of 7.
Mag 7 is pretty close. The closer you are the sharper your nearest points will be, but you may find the depth of field is very touchy. What I mean by that is that if you take a flower that’s 5cm across, the first section will be in focus which may only be the first centimeter, yet the rest of the flower will not. This is why you need to remember to experiment with taking the flower setting off and just using different macro lenses to give you the most accurate depth of field instead. The right magnification will create the right depth of field for you.
Don’t forget to use a tripod, or monopod. Outside even the slightest breeze can ruin your flower macro photo. Any slight movement, even you breathing accidentally on the flower, can blur the whole picture.
To summarise, it’s your lenses and distance of the camera that will provide the most accurate depth of field for your flower photography.
Happy shooting, Amy Renfrey
If you like Amy's style of explaining the mastering of digital photography, you will love her book Digital Photography Success. I highly recommend checking it out. Her book is like having your own private tutor. You will save tons on photography lessons.
After reading this article I had to give Amy's suggestions a try. My only complaint about the article is that reference is is explaining depth of field if you are using an SLR. Right now I am using a Canon A510 point and shoot camera. The good news is you can still get good depth of field.
I experimented using my flower macro setting and also leaving it off. I took a couple pictures of my african violets from the same close up position. And it works.
What's New at Nature and Flower PicturesI have created a whole new look for Nature and Flower Pictures. I have had several viewers say they had a hard time finding pictures on the site before. So I put together a new look and organized galleries so they are easier to find I hope. Please be sure and let me know what you think. Drop me a line here
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