Isolation: Use a Wider Aperture - Project 52 - week 11

It is week 11 in the project 52 challenge and we are to 'isolate our subject using a wider aperture.  Using a wide aperture means we are supposed to use a small f/stop number such as f/1.8.   The assignment's goal was to help us get a better sense for the difference between shallow focus, deep focus and the middle ground also known as depth of field (DoF).  DoF is something I really struggled to understand but over the past month or so, I've gotten a better handle on it.  I thought the aperture was the only thing that affected the DoF but just as our book states, camera to subject distance matters when it comes to DoF.  I worked on this several weeks ago so where I normally feel like I'm trying these exercises from a kindergartner's perspective, this week I may have progressed to elementary school level.  Woo hoo! If you like to study the detail in a photo, these images will give you a chance to do that.  Can you immediately see a difference in these first two photos?  If you'd asked me that a year or so ago, I probably would've said no, I don't see much that is really different.  Now though, I do see some differences.  More of her face is sharper in the top image and the only adjustment I made on the camera was the aperture.  The top photo is at f/8 and the 2nd one is at f/16.

wider aperture

I am really close to Lucca in both of these photos.  To be this close to her and to get a super sharp image, I should have increased my ISO.  With my ISO at 640 and an aperture of f/16, my shutter speed was too low to at 1/6 to handhold the camera for this shot.  I would've needed my tripod to get the shot sharp at an aperture of f/16.  Her right eye is pretty sharp and that's where I had my focus point but the rest of her face isn't tack sharp.

not using a wider aperture

wider aperture of f/1.8

For this last photo, I used the widest aperture on my lens, f/1.8 and in this case I am isolating her eyes.  When the camera is as close to the subject as I was at f/1.8, you will have an extremely shallow DoF (and by shallow I mean just mere inches.)  Here Lucca's right eye is sharp but her nose and the fur around it aren't.  That is what using a shallow DoF and being really close to your subject will do.  I could've put the focus point on her nose to make it sharp which may have been funny but her eyes wouldn't have been sharp.  A sharp DoF can be just a few inches and in this case, it was.

Knowing all of the above is just one element of photography that makes it so complicated.  Soooo complicated BUT fun!!

Thanks to my lovely model Lucca.  We'd been out for our walk, she'd followed a bunny scent around her yard and then she decided to chill on her deck.

Go to Beyond the Fence Dog Adventure Photography's page to read her take on this week's assignment.