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Creating a sharp image #photography

Usually, I am trying to create a sharp image when I take a photograph but not always. I have been known to use a filter to soften an image. To get an image sharp I try to shoot wide open with the widest aperture I can and often zoom in too. This creates a focal plane where everything is in focus. The objects nearer the camera and farther away then tend to be out of my focal plane and out of focus. This image of pound coins demonstrates that perfectly.

Coins as a sharp image

Focal plane

Can you see where my focal plane is? When I’m taking the shot I use the focus points to identify where that focal plane is. I wanted the edges of that pile of coins quite sharp for this image.  The shiny coins reflect the light and so make quite a good image but the difference between light and dark isn’t quite so distinct on the silver and so add to the blur where the coins are out of focus.

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Sandwell Mayor

I photographed the Mayor of Sandwell giving a speech on Saturday and the same principle applies to get the image quite sharp. This was at the town hall and so I needed enough light for a fast shutter speed so I used a flash. The flash was controlled using TTL metering but there is a degree of skill involved in getting just the right amount of light all the same. The balance of light and dark in this image is about right to get a good flash of light from the metering.

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Photographing these musicians wasn’t so easy because of the music stands so I took a few shots from the side of the stage. The aperture was f/4.8 so the musicians closest to us are in sharper focus. I have the ISO set on 400 which is fine on my camera and gives me a flash that isn’t so bright and so doesn’t distract the musicians so much. I could bounce the flash off the walls and ceiling too.



For this shot, I wanted my focal plane to be really deep to go from my camera to those trees in the distance. To get that I needed a narrow aperture but that means less light getting into the camera. I increased my ISO to 200 and that gave me a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second at f/11. That was about right but I might have got an even narrower aperture and the pylons in the distance sharper at ISO 400.  It is quite a sharp image, though, we can clearly see the railings with little blur.

Sharp image

Getting a sharp image is about getting your aperture right and because there is always camera shake, movement and vibration we have to get a shutter speed that is fast enough too. I usually want a shutter speed of 1/100 second or faster for fast moving action.

That’s it for this week. If you would like to follow this blog just enter your email address at the top of the sidebar or follow me on Twitter for updates. You can also find links and pictures on my Facebook page.

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