The idea is easy; go wide and get close. Sometimes to the extreme.
Go Wide, Get Close
It helps if you have a wide angle lens, such as a 16mm on a full frame sensor or a 10mm on a cropped sensor. Most people use these lenses for their ability to capture wide angles for grand scenics. Wonderful and all, but the lenses also have the ability to focus close.
Go wide, get close means just that. Find an object and get as close as you can, dropping it into one of the lines for the Rule Of Thirds, just as a place to start. Now move. Your body or the camera, that is.
From side to side and at different angles, the amount of focus will change as well as the depth of field.
The idea here is to try to bring some of the background into focus, so you’ll need a higher f-stop, such as f/11 or so. If not enough of the background is not in focus, back up just ever so slightly. Little changes make a big difference.
The alternative is to let the background blur to abstraction. Along with this, let the image flow in a direction so the viewer’s eye is lead across the image, even if into the blurred area. Kind of opposite of the Hyperfocal Technique.
This method can be handy on a number of subjects. Here are some examples to help get the juices flowing.
Below are just a few examples from my galleries. What can you come up with?
Questions? Pop ’em like Pez in the comments section below. or email me at email@example.com.
Photography Basics – A 43 Day Adventure, and its companion 40 Photography Experiments, are series written by professional photographer Peter West Carey. The series are designed to unravel the mysteries of photography, helping you can take better pictures. Subscribe here to receive all the updates and bonus material. Your comments are always welcome.
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