Archives for July 2010

Tech Tuesday…Depth Of Field Part 3

So far we have covered depth of field as it relates to aperture and focal length. This week we will discuss the relationship of distance to our subject and distance of our subject to the background.

The closer you are to your subject, the less depth of field you will be able to achieve to the point of mere inches of depth of field (closed all the way down) when using a macro lens at minimum focus distance. I was using a 70-200mm 2.8 VR at it’s minimum focus distance of 4 1/2’…

The farther away from your subject, the greater the depth of field. When everything is basically at infinity, you don’t even need to close your lens down very far to maintain depth of field throughout the frame. My distance scale on the lens showed the focus point to be at infinity in this image of Bryce Canyon standing on the edge of the canyon focusing on the hoodoos in the distance…

The closer your subject is to the background, the sharper the background will appear (even with a wide aperture). This sow and her cubs were ON the cliff therefore both the bears and the cliff face are sharp even at a relatively wide aperture…

However notice in the above image (the distant mountain in the upper right corner is out of focus) and the one below that the far background is rendered out of focus due to the distance of the foreground subject to the background. When the subject is a great distance from the background, increased depth of field (using normal procedures) is not possible even with the lens closed down…

Tip: want to get less depth of field to make your subject pop? Try getting down to eye level with your subject. This will put your subject at a greater distance to the background (in most cases unless your subject is up against a rock or bush, etc) giving you less depth of field and a softer background in addition to a more pleasing composition…

Images created with (in order) Nikon D2XS, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR. D2X, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR. D3, AF-S 600mm f4 with TC-14E II. D3S, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR with TC-17E II. D3X, AF-S 70-200mm 2.8 VR on Lexar Digital Media.

Back By Popular Demand

I had a great time doing a webinar to a sell out crowd last week with OnOne and they have asked me to do an encore so those who where unable to log on (there were over 700 logging on and only 500 spots available) and anyone else interested in seeing my real world workflow using the OnOne software in action can stop by for an hour. Date: Wed July 21 @ 11:00AM. See you there!

Pretty In Pink

When the alarm jarred me out of a deep sleep this morning at 4:00AM, I did not groan, I did not hit the snooze button, I hopped out of bed filled with anticipation of this morning’s shoot. We had a date with Capt James Shadle to go out on his boat to a great rookery where there were Roseate Spoonbills had nests. After all, who can resist a pink bird…

And when those pink birds have babies, it’s twice the fun…

It was great to watch as the parents flew in and the babies chased them around the sand bar until they were able to catch the parent and wrestle breakfast from them…

It was a great morning with conditions just right as the tide was high forcing the birds into concentrated areas within frame filling distance from our lenses…

Not only was the weather a bit cooler, we stayed refreshed by kneeling in the water to shoot the birds at eye level. What a great morning! Thanks James!

Images created with Nikon D3S, AF-S 600mm VR, TC-14E II, TC-20E III (baby Spoonbill) on Lexar Digital Media

Black Skimmer Colony

We spent the afternoon working a Black Skimmer colony. It was amazing to see such a concentration of skimmers in one place. They come together in colonies to nest. There was mating behavior, birds on eggs, newly hatched chicks and some who were a good size. As the afternoon wore on to dinner time we were fortunate enough to witness and photograph the skimmers as they brought in fish for their young. Some of the fish seemed as big as the chicks that ate them but, they didn’t seem to have too much trouble getting the fish down with a little help from their parents as they would “tenderize” this fish in their beaks before giving them to the chicks. It was cool to learn new behavior…

Images created with Nikon D3S, AF-S 600mm VR, TC-14E II on Lexar Digital Media