Friday, 20 September 2013

Exercise 13 - Standard Focal Depth

What: The main brief of this exercise was to set the focal length of the camera lens as close to “standard” focal length as possible.
Where: Edinburgh, Outdoors
When: Afternoon on a mild overcast day.
How: I held my camera in portrait position and with both eyes open I moved the focal length of the lens so that the scene I was looking at the camera focal length matched that of my normal eyesight and they looked the same.

I think I may have had a slight problem here as due to my topic pupil the focal depth of my vision is abnormal, as the pupil is being crushed by the eye muscles I cannot focus my eye properly.

Using a kit 18-70mm lens on my camera I found that after a few adjustments that my focal depth is somewhere around the 40mm range on this lens rather than the expected 27mm to 32mm range.

While at a community gathering in Edinburgh, I went around the entire site looking out for subjects or actions that I found interesting, once I had spotted something I noted the location and came back later where I could find a position to be inconspicuous and where I could photograph without attracting too much attention.
The requirement to have little distance to the subject did not allow for clear and concise framing, by hanging the camera a lower position meant that the frame could be interfered with by practically anything from passersby and the simple fact  that I had to shoot and trust the I had captured what I wanted.

While circling back around the site I noticed someone trying to attract people to attend a nature event.

Nikon D80, Exposure Mode Manual, focal length 44mm (35mm equivalent 66mm), aperture f5.6, speed 1/180 second, ISO 800, Auto white balance, Matrix metering, Hand held camera, 17-80mm lens,


The subject made eye contact a number of times and I waited until they went back to attracting visitors before I fired the shutter. I wanted her to be relaxed and comfortable with being photographed.

I had noticed a person dancing to the various musicians and performers through the day, I wanted to get close and photograph them as they danced but they were just moving too fast and I could not keep up.

I waited until they stopped dancing around the site and had settled in one position and was dancing with a large piece of white cloth which caught the slightest breeze.

Nikon D80, Exposure Mode Manual, focal length 44mm (35mm equivalent 66mm), aperture f5.6, speed 1/100 second, ISO 800, Shade white balance, Matrix metering, Hand held camera, 17-80mm lens,


I had to crop the shot down as I was still too far away, but I am much happier with the framing and action within the frame. The subject is caught within their thoughts and movement to the music and is not focussed on what is going on around them.

I am much happier with the second image as it really keeps the attention on the central subject. Using a zoom lens would probably have created a large amount to bokeh in the background and would have isolated the subject completely from their surrounds. Up close with a wide angle lens may have produced quite a dynamic image but it would have distorted the subject if I had tried to compose both the dancer and the cloth within the frame.

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