Saturday, March 8, 2008

Depth of Field

I love to play with blurring portions of floral images to create a soft, romantic feeling. In a field of flowers, I focus on a blossom that catches my eye and allow the rest of the image to blur. For those who are not accustomed to using the manual settings on your camera, this is a great way to try it out. You can also try this using the aperture priority setting if you are not comfortable with the fully manual mode. There are many web sites that explain how to do this, so I won't go into detail or use any more jargon here to explain it. (Here's a good detailed explanation if you want to learn more.) A macro lens will intensify the blur of the background. I use a 1:1 100 mm macro lens for my images. In a field of flowers, I can get in very close, focus on a small detail and blur out the rest. I use a Canon 30D digital SLR (DSLR) camera. Many "point and shoot" cameras also now offer macro settings and a variety of modes for shooting. I have a point and shoot that I carry in my purse for "emergencies" when I don't have my "fancy" SLR with me.

An "emergency" may involve passing a wildflower flower field that I didn't expect while driving, doing a quick U-turn, and checking my glove compartment to make sure that I have Tecnu before I wade into a field of wildflowers. (Tecnu is a product that you rub on your skin to prevent a poison ivy rash.)

The image on the left was taken in my own garden. The one on the right was taken in a wildflower field across from my local Target. I'm sure many people pass it every day and don't even notice it. You can find beauty in the most unexpected places. Become familiar with the features on your camera. This will allow you to better use it as an artistic tool to express your creative vision. The famous photographer Dorothea Lange said "The camera is an Instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." The more you practice with a camera, the more you will spot natural wonders all around you. The more you practice, the better you will be able to work with nature to express its awe.

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