Photography Friday: DOF

That would be "Depth Of Field".

I like good depth of field. When I have the option to control the DOF in an image, I think it unleashes so much creativity. It can really tell a story in an image if used creatively.

The depth of field is the area of your image that is in focus. When shooting landscapes, for example, you would want pretty much everything to be in focus so you would want a deep/large DOF. But when you want to single something out, you might prefer to use a very shallow DOF so that just the important stuff is in focus.

For example:

In this shot, it appears my subject is the red pole holding the chain. Even though the background is a bit blurry, it is still busy enough to be distracting. (f/22, 135mm)

So I chose a smaller DOF and now it is more obvious what you want the viewer to see.
(F/5.6, 135mm)

There are several ways to get a smaller Depth of Field. One way is to get a lens with a small aperture. Like 2.8 or smaller. This allows you to get a really shallow DOF and that buttery, creamy background blur. Another way is to zoom way in, as far as your lens will allow and then get as close as you can to your subject. Zooming in with a long lens will create a smaller DOF. Standing closer to the subject will also give you a smaller dof.

For these two images, I used my 28-135mm zoomed all the way to 135mm and I got as close as the camera allowed me to still focus. I can get this result with my 28-70mm 2.8 also when I set it to f/2.8. Since my 28-135 only goes as low 5.6 when zoomed to 135mm, it helps for me to stand close to the subject to get a smaller dof. Other items on my wishlist include the 85mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.4 and the 70-200mm f/2.8... Mmmm....

But you have to work with what you have, right? So, I tell those of us that don't have these pricey glass options to zoom in as much as possible, stand closer to your subject and choose the smallest F# you can. Because we all like that pretty creamy bokeh, right? =)

Happy Shooting!

P.S. The tulips and water drops in yesterday's post was taken with this same lens on my 5D with this same technique.