Depth of Field Matters

One of the things photographer needs to think about is a depth of field. When photographing grand landscape, I typically set aperture to middle point between widest and most closed to get most sharpness in the image. For a landscape overall sharpness of an image is typically more important than depth of field.

The story is completely different when photographing close-ups. Depth of field becomes extremely important. It can make or break the image. And getting everything sharp is not necessarily a good thing. And I just happened to have two images to demonstrate the difference.

First, an “everything sharp” image. The aperture was closed to the sharpest setting for the lens that I used (f/8). To me the image ended up too flat. There is no separation between the lupine and shed boards, the lupine seems to be carved in the wall.

Lupine by a Shed

The second image, which I like, is with the lens wide opened (f/2.8). The lens is well focused on the lupine. It is tack sharp. The wall is slightly out of focus. This creates a three dimensional feel in the photograph, there is a space between the flower and the wall.

Lupine by a Shed
Lupine by a Shed

Another interesting thing to note is that I experiment with different depth of field, light, composition while photographing. I took 38 photos of this lupine over two days. Later I reviewed and pick just one of them that I felt worked the best.

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