Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where is your focus?

This could also represent lesson #2 on depth of field. The background fades into insignificance without being so blurred that it is entirely lost. Again, we are in Alaska but the main focus is the emotion that is created by the subjects of the picture. Obviously, related and obviously sharing a private joke, it went something like this, "pssst, do you think Dad knows which button to push?" The truth of the matter is the new digital cameras do alot of the work for you so you have very little editing post picture taking. A great picture may not be the one taken by the "professional photographer" but it will always be the one that invokes the sweetest memory.

Sometimes you have to turn your camera....

Same picture, cropped 2 different ways. The landscape view (side to side) focuses more on the "who" of the picture because the subjects fill the frame. The portrait view (top to bottom) gives you more information about the "where". Yep, it's Alaska. This is only true for this example. A landscape picture can record vast vistas and tall mountain ranges if that is what fills your frame. The point is, identify what composition you are trying to create and don't be afraid to turn you camera on a an angle to get it. This is also proof that we did take our kids somewhere, so later in life they can't make us believe that we never did anything with them. Oh and that pretty blonde girl, she's always making a "face" so we have to record what we have to work with. ;D

To answer your questions about "depth of field"

Ever taken a picture like this and wondered what went wrong? The background is the Savage River of Danali Park Alaska and is a very interesting composition. The person in the foreground is my son, Jared and "No, he's not moving". When taking a "still" shot, something in motion will blurr out, but that didn't happen here. What happened was caused by the aperture setting of the camera. The aperture determines how much light gets through the "hole" to create your image. You may be more familiar with calling it the "f-stop". (no swearing implied or intended) A common portrait practice is to use a large "f-stop" (indicated by a smaller number, think fractions, see your math teacher was right, you will use it later in life.) of say 5.6 which gives you crystal clear images in your foreground and soft blurry non-detracting images in the background. The exact opposite of what we have here. This picture was more than likely shot with a small "f-stop" of around 22, so what is clear is far away and the foreground is blurred. So how does this work with depth of field. Depth of field is a term used to identify where your camera will shoot a sharp image and what will be blurred. A small "f-stop" has a greater depth of field, yards and yards of distance are clear, you just have to know where it starts to be clear and where it is not. At 4-6 feet from the camera as illustrated here...not clear. Maybe I should have titled this "It's all about your focus".

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Can you remember anything from 30 years ago?

It's disenhertening to know I have memories fo 30 years ago. Recently I participated in my 30 year High School Reunion (just so you know I am literally younger than all these people because I skipped kinder garten and graduated early) It's a peculiar ritual we subject ourselves too. We visit with people we don't recognize to be reminded of things we'd rather forget. Reunions are all about facing your own personal insignificance.
A reunion is only a success when the people you remember show up. Thanks to Brent for flying in from New York and Brad came from Arizona and Romy from California. It was their collective sacrifice of time and effort that convinced me to attend.
But to Mike and Brendon, Gwen, Barbara and Teresa, what happened to you? Can we count on you in 10 years? Reunions are all about reconnecting if for no other reason then to remember why you lost touch in the first place.