Photography podcast transcript 2 — Depth of field —

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Please note that this is an audio tran­scrip­tion. Gram­mer and punc­tu­a­tion will not be perfect.

Hi there every­one and wel­come to the pod­cast #2.‚ My name is Marko and I am you host.‚ Today is August 24, 2006, and we are com­ing to you from Mon­treal, Que­bec, Canada.
First off, thanks so much to those few peo­ple that left some com­ments on our bul­letin board about the first pod­cast that we did.‚ I would encour­age more peo­ple to leave com­ments as that is really the best way to make the show as good as pos­si­ble.‚ For those peo­ple that may have stum­bled upon this pod­cast by acci­dent, really, there is not that much that you need to know.‚ You just go to the bul­letin board on‚ It is com­pletely free to join.‚ You nav­i­gate your way to the pod­cast forum and you can post some feed­back, any sug­ges­tions, what would you like to learn, what would you like to know, what would you like me to research for you.‚ It is absolutely free to join the bul­letin board and while you are there, you could post one of your own pic­tures and get some cri­tiques from me and per­haps from other peo­ple as well.‚ You can always give cri­tiques for those pho­tos that are already there.‚ The forum could use a lit­tle bit more actions so it would be really appre­ci­ated if peo­ple could leave more com­ments and post more pic­tures.‚ In that way, it will become an even bet­ter forum.‚ The forum as a whole is really ded­i­cated to more alter­na­tive tech­niques in pho­tog­ra­phy, not pic­tures that are so straight up.‚ There is a lot of fun we can have post­ing dif­fer­ent pic­tures.‚ So, again, please post them.‚ Please leave com­ments about the pod­cast.
Today, I would actu­ally like to talk about depth of field and chang­ing it up when we are shoot­ing in dif­fer­ent types of sit­u­a­tions.‚ Because is all about exper­i­ment­ing, well, it is nice to exper­i­ment.‚ In nor­mal sit­u­a­tions where you would choose a small depth of field or a large depth of field, well, I encour­age you to change it up a bit and see the results that you get.‚ For those who do not really know that much about depth of field, there is a pretty good basic arti­cle on‚ Just click the arti­cles link and you can find it, but to recap in a nut­shell, depth of field sim­ply refers to the degree of sharp­ness between the fore­ground and back­ground of your scene and sub­se­quently your pho­to­graph.‚ You can con­trol depth of field by two main ways by either mak­ing the aper­ture larger or smaller or by choos­ing dif­fer­ent lenses.‚ If we talk about aper­ture, well, the smaller num­bers on the bar­rel refers to a larger hole or aper­ture and the larger hole or aper­ture makes the fore­ground sub­ject sharp but the back­ground blurry.‚ If we choose the larger num­bers around the bar­rel, well, that makes the entire scene from fore­ground to back­ground fairly sharp.‚ The num­bers in between will give you some­thing in between.‚ In terms of choos­ing lenses, well, wide angle lenses tend to give you sharper depth of field than longer lenses.‚ So, wide angle lenses, 24 mm, etc., 20 mm, even 35 mm, that is going to give you a much sharper image from fore­ground to back­ground than, let us say, a zoom lens of 200 mm.
Tra­di­tion­ally, when we shoot land­scapes, we want to make the fore­ground to back­ground the sharpest pos­si­ble, so what peo­ple do is they will put it on a really small aper­ture like f/16, f/22, f/32, or even f/45 depend­ing on what cam­era they are using.‚ They will often stick it on a tri­pod and they will get a sharp, sharp fore­ground to back­ground shot.‚ Now, that can be extremely inter­est­ing and it is beau­ti­ful and it is the clas­sic way to shoot land­scapes.‚ What I would sug­gest doing is doing the exact oppo­site.‚ Choose a really large aper­ture, some­thing where just the fore­ground is going to be sharp and the back­ground is going to be blurry and exper­i­ment with what you are going to get.‚ Maybe focus on a rock or a tree or some small ele­ment in the scene and focus on that ele­ment and let the back­ground go soft or blurry.‚ Shoot it at f/2.8 or f/4, see what hap­pens.‚ Take a shot at f/5.6 instead of f/32 and see the dif­fer­ence.
On the other side of the coin, if you are shoot­ing a por­trait, let us say, well, a lot of peo­ple are going to choose a larger depth of field, which means a smaller num­ber on the bar­rel and that will iso­late the sub­ject from the back­ground.‚ It gives a really beau­ti­ful effect, but why not mix it up a bit?‚ Stick it on the tri­pod, try to get your per­son to stand as still as pos­si­ble and shoot at f/32 or f/22.‚ Make sure you get some fast film when you are doing this, but see what hap­pens.‚ Take a pic­ture of their whole face in per­fect sharp­ness, mix it up, change the angles.‚ That is really what it is all about.‚ That is the best way to exper­i­ment.
Play with your lens choices as well.‚ If you have more than one lens, try doing dif­fer­ent things.‚ Use a wide angle lens and try and use the largest aper­ture pos­si­ble.‚ See what hap­pens.‚ See what you get.‚ Put a zoom lens on and try and use the small­est aper­ture pos­si­ble.‚ See what you get.‚ Exper­i­ment, try both ends.‚ Record, record, record.‚ See the results.‚ Com­pare one from the other.‚ Find your own style.‚ Depth of field, it is one of the key things about pho­tog­ra­phy.‚ It is one of the main choices to deter­mine how you want your pic­ture to look.‚ It is really up to you and exper­i­ment­ing is really the best way to make your pho­tog­ra­phy even more inter­est­ing.‚ Of course, that is what we want.‚ We want inter­est­ing pho­tog­ra­phy.‚ We do not always want the same old shots, the same old per­son in the mid­dle of the photo.‚ We want to change it up.‚ We want to make it excit­ing.‚ Along those same lines, choose dif­fer­ent angles, choose dif­fer­ent heights.‚ If you are shoot­ing a per­son, get on the ground and angle your cam­era up at that per­son, make them look large like a tree or get up on a table and shoot down at the per­son and give them a weird angle on their face.‚ Exper­i­ment and see what you get.‚ We are all about exper­i­men­ta­tion around here and we could not encour­age it more.‚ If you want to really change it up, use a com­bi­na­tion of the tech­niques we just talked about.‚ Shoot a por­trait or shoot a land­scape bet­ter.‚ Yeah, shoot a land­scape with a really wide open aper­ture and get on a crazy angle.‚ Take a pic­ture of the tree from the ground using zoom lens instead of a wide angle lens.‚ Do some­thing uncon­ven­tional.
On the other side of it, instead of tak­ing a pic­ture of a per­son with a wider open aper­ture for a more shal­low depth of field, stop down a bit, go to f/8, f/11, use some faster film, stick a flash on there, choose a dif­fer­ent angle, mix it up.‚ Choose a lens that you nor­mally would not use, mix it up.
I guess that is really the theme of today’s show, mix­ing it up by using dif­fer­ent depths of field that you nor­mally would not use, but in order to learn it is really impor­tant to record and remem­ber what you did.‚ Take some notes while you are doing it.‚ If you are lucky enough to have a dig­i­tal cam­era, the notes will be there as well.‚ They will be on the EXIF data.‚ Just learn, just record and learn.
That basi­cally cov­ers it.‚ It is a really short episode today.‚ Next time, we will make one a lit­tle longer.‚ Again, I encour­age every­one to leave some com­ments about this pod­cast, what did you like, what did you not like.‚ Please go to the forum and post your com­ments.‚ You can always send me an email at‚ and I will be sure to reply just as soon as I can.‚ I absolutely appre­ci­ate emails and I absolutely appre­ci­ate feed­back.‚ So, thanks again for lis­ten­ing every­one and we should be back in about two weeks with a brand new tip and a lit­tle bit more of advice.‚ Until then, every­one.‚ Take care and happy shoot­ing.
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  1. admin says:
  2. les storme says:

    what books would you rec­om­mend that cov­ers the sub­ject of depth of field throughly…


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