Selective depth of field, sometimes called depth of focus, is a standard part of photographic teaching. It’s easily overlooked in popular photography when students use compact and automatic cameras. It’s difficult taking them back through photographic process explaining shutter speed, aperture and ISO when they’re used to pressing a button oblivious to what’s happening. It’s a step backwards, except it isn’t.

That button is the culmination of a process which is not complicated, but becomes so if you weren’t aware of the machinery of photography. This was easier in the film era, when you were compelled to learn these details as you are required to learn gear change in a car.

It’s not often I use selective depth of field. With outdoor and mountain photography you more typically want an expanded focus. You have a marvellous view and want all of it sharp. That requires a small aperture, designated as the larger numbers on your lens or in your camera as f16, f19, or f22.

I’d not had any great interest in Rosebay Willowherb prior to this moment. When they cover a large space, it’s a fine autumnal sight. They’re a prolific flower. When they seed, wispy cotton fills the air. Look close, and you see spirals and curves.

 

Chorlton Meadows Flower Blur

Tuesday December 22, 2015