22 Dec 2007

Depth of Field 2

In my last post I showed you a landscape photograph I took with a very wide aperture in order to limit the depth of field. Also contributing to this limited depth of field was the use of an 85mm lens. Normally, the longer the focal length of a lens the less depth of field it will give. So using a wide aperture with an 85mm lens is guaranteed to limit it and throw much of the scene out of focus. It is a technique that must be used with great care in landscapes. It can look dreadful. Usually it is used to isolate a particular part of the scene. In the case of that picture taken in Thassos, it was used to give an abstract feel to the shot.

It is far more common to aim for the maximum depth of field when taking landscape photographs. That means smaller apertures – f16 or less.

A wide angle lens is a favourite for landscape photographers because it has inherently tremendous depth of field. It also has and the ability to exaggerate the perceived perspective, which has the effect of creating the illusion of depth within a two dimensional image.

In the picture of the old wooden wreck above, I wanted the absolute maximum depth of field, so I have used a wide-angle lens, stopped the aperture right down to f22 and used a shutter speed of 1/4sec. The camera was, of course, put on a tripod, so I was able to use ISO 100 in order to get maximum quality.

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