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Depth of field #photography


On Sunday, I photographed the Remembrance Day parade and began using a 300 mm lens on my Nikon DSLR. I’ve seen a few definitions of the depth of field and I’ve tried to describe it before, but I think this shot shows it well.

I selected single point focusing on my camera, so only one of the 11 focus points lit up when I had focused. It is hard holding a 300 mm long lens steady when you’re freezing cold though and so I missed my subject. I was trying to photograph the bugler, but in a happy accident got the priests instead. If you imagine a force field at the distance of the priests from the camera, that is my depth of field. Anything closer or farther away is blurred. I used a wide aperture for this, not only to get a sharp image but also to get a fast shutter speed on aperture priority. The rain had stopped, perhaps by the power of prayer, but it was still dark and cloudy.


I got my focus point on the bugler this time and considering the poor light, it’s a good shot. The priest to the left is a little blurred, but the people in the background are very blurred.


For a shot like this I used matrix focusing and I try to get as many of the focus points to light up as possible. The aperture is narrower, I think it was F/8. Where is my invisible force field this time? I think in the centre of the frame around about where the serviceman in khaki is. With a narrower aperture, the blur closer to us is hardly noticeable and farther away it’s noticeable, but our eyes look for the sharp parts of the image.


You can use a wide aperture for a group photo, but you have to get all your subjects at the same distance from the camera. I was lucky to get this shot, it doesn’t have much blur, just a little in the background.


Here I’m back to focusing with one focus point over the heads of the crowd. I wanted to show there was a crowd but focus on the uniforms in the background. It worked quite well, considering.


The 55-300 mm lens was OK for zooming in from a distance, but for this shot, I needed to zoom out more and so I swapped my lens for an 18-105 mm lens which was more versatile with my subjects closer.


I took a lot of photos, over 300 and changed settings either to change the aperture or change the ISO when the light changed. It was mostly dark, but the sun did break through briefly. For most of the shots, the ISO was set on 400, but I did adjust it higher for a few shots. I experiment a lot when I take photos, but I take a lot of shots so if something doesn’t work it’s not a great loss. I deleted some shots that I took after the lens change because I caught the AF switch on my camera case and accidently switched it off. That ruined about three shots before I realised.

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