Get Shallow : Having fun with focus

I’m not sure there is another occupation or area of interest where the advice “get shallow” will ever be given. In photography, however, focus plays a large roll in describing mood and isolating the main subject. Using a shallow depth of field can add depth to your photograph and aid in establishing a focal point. Typically used in portraiture, opening your lens up increases the blur in the out of focus areas. Artistically, this can also be used for very creative shots that might otherwise be, well…boring.

Below is an image of some clothes pins I had sitting around. Now, the repetition in form can be an interesting element in a photograph. However, narrowing the depth of field in this image really enhanced it and gave it a little something extra.

How can I achieve this effect? Read On!

3 pins

There are two ways to achieve blur in your photographs.

  1. Open your lens as wide as it will go. Another reason to buy a prime lens. The aperture on many primes, like a 35mm or 50mm, go to at least to 1.8. For extra creamy blur, splurge a little more and go for a good portrait or macro lens. The blur quality (bokeh) is usually nicer on the more high end lenses, but there are exceptions..do the research!
  2. Distance from subject. If your lens will let you get close enough, even at f4 you can achieve a nice blurred background. The image below was taken at f4 with a zoom lens mounted on my Nikon. I was able to get close enough to create a decent quality blur.

Notice the Yellow flower in sharp focus, while the rest of the cast gradually blurs out. This can be such a powerful tool for expression. Desert Bloom

Thanks for stopping by and please let me know what I can share with you to help you with your artistic journey. I will add a couple more photos that utilize a very shallow depth of field to show and extreme example of this technique.

Be sure to join me on instagram: Big_Wide_Lens

Happy Shooting,

Shawn

macro dropsallign

Friends and Photography

You know you’ve become pretty good friends with someone when they’re willing to get their portrait taken on a whim. As an artist and stay-at-home dad for the past seventeen years, it has been absolutely necessary for me to find time to occasionally get out of the house and talk to other sentient beings. (My labradoodles listen pretty well, but they don’t quite offer the same level of intellectual support as my human friends do) This usually means meeting for coffee in the morning with friends. By now, most of them are pretty comfortable having their mugs of caffeine sharing table space with my camera. It helps too that most of my friends are creatives. In exchange for modeling, my friends receive an updated portrait for their website or social media pages. Win win!

Luckily for me, there are also interesting places nearby the coffee and breakfast stops, and I get a bonus session at the seasonal produce stand or the many nearby inter urban trails!

Here are some shots from this mornings coffee time. Enjoy, and see more on my INSTAGRAM : Big_Wide_Lens

Thanks, and happy shooting!

Shawn

Eric PonderingCinimon rollOnion Pile

Think Wide-The Art Of Exaggeration

Okay, as I was scanning recent photographs, it didn’t take me long to come up with an idea for a new photography tip blog entry. Yay! I forgot how much I like to share this kind of stuff. Really fun!

After reviewing images from an outing last Spring, I realized many of my photos were all shot with a single wide-angle prime lens. I was following my own advice and limited my focal range for a single outing. Now it’s fairly common for one to use a wide-angle lens for such things as landscape, seascape, and cityscape photography, but shooting wide can also create fantastic spacial effects and transform the mundane into magic.  Objects shot at close range with a wide angle lens (see your lens’s minimum focal distance) can make objects that would otherwise seem relatively near to your main subject, appear quite distant. The perspective of your subject will also appear greatly exaggerated.

Please enjoy the following images I took with a 20mm lens on a full frame equivalent sensor camera.

Note the exaggerated distance in the first image of my two dogs (Danny and Sandy) and then the exaggerated perspective of the bench and the taco truck images.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Be my bud on instagram: Big_Wide_Lens

If there are other things you would like to see, please please let me know!

Happy Shooting!

Shawn Pagels

on the prowlblossomFallsTaco Truck

 

 

Divide and Conquer

Often times you are presented with a subject that has no discerning background or with a landscape that has a clear division between two parts. Understanding the relationship your subject has with the  negative spaces and applying a clear use of dominance can mean the difference between your pictures looking okay and looking outstanding.

Figure Ground:

After adjusting the image with some curves in photoshop to completely whiten the background, I cropped in a little closer to provide interesting shapes  in the negative space. This also gave the rock dominance by allowing it to occupy more space than the background.

earth_and_sky_by_starbirdsky-d7w1ban

With two main sections in this image, I had to decide between the two which would dominate. Visually it made more sense to allow the dark water to rule. The flow of the composition moves from left to right smoother and it also places my bird in a pleasing space.

lookingbacksm_by_starbirdsky-d7w1b4s

It seems to me that shooting photography down a shoreline always presents opportunity for dominance choices. Should I let the land dominate, or the water? The answer isn’t always clear and many times, both options work. Here, I chose the land. This is a case when both would have worked with a little moving around on my part.

same_as_before_by_starbirdsky-d789bbr

Now, go forth and conquer your next photography quest! As always, feel free to comment, ask questions, or request a subject for a post.

Happy Shooting!

Shawn Pagels

(artSEEguy)