2011 Week 2 DLS Exercise: Depth of Field

After spending the last 3 days laid up with some kind of mutant virus that rendered me an incoherent slurring lump, it's good to be back in the saddle and feeling like I am human again.  Yay!!!  And of course the first thing I thought of was torturing you with the second set of exercises for this week.  Yay some more!!!

This is essentially the exact same exercise as the Focus exercise, only we're going to explore Depth of Field or "DOF" as it's commonly referred to. This is the "A" in FAST, being of course your "aperture" which in addition to adjusting the amount of light that comes into the camera the same as your pupil, will affect how DEEP your focus is. So, here's how this works.

Your challenge this week is to create images that demonstrate a variation on your Depth of Field. Once again I'm going to ask you to set your camera to M(anual) F(ocus), in M(anual) mode. Select 5 similar or same objects and set them in a row along a flat surface. Make sure you pick someplace that has good natural light. You may want to use the same objects as last week so you can compare and contrast, or you may want to explore your options and create a new scene. Again, as long as you've got good daylight, be as creative as you like.

Once you have your still life setup, set your ISO to 400, your aperture to 3.5, and adjust your shutter speed accordingly to get an exposure you like. Get as close to your still life as you can and position yourself so that you can see all the objects, either slightly above or to one side, and focus on the third (centre) object only. Take your first image, then adjust your aperture to f5.6 and take a second shot. It is going to be underexposed, so you will have no choice but to adjust either your ISO or your shutter speed in order to get a proper exposure. If you were on film I'd feel bad about letting you all figure it out on your own if you've forgotten, but since I know you're all digital... figure it out! ~smirk~

Keeping your focus on the middle object repeat this process at f8.0, f11.0, and f16.0. What do you notice about your ISO? What do you notice about your shutter speed? Is the relationship between aperture, ISO sensitivity, and shutter speed starting to make sense as it applies to the Law of Reciprocity? What do you notice about the foreground and the background of your images?

Upload the images to your blog and either post the link in the comments here or send it to me via email to h dot walls at shaw dot ca. If you are having problems, PLEASE do not hesitate to send me your questions. I am happy to walk you through the process so you aren't lost when we get to the next workshop!!!

Examples to follow shortly :)

Happy shooting,




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