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Writeup of our June 17, 2006 Trip to Ardenwood Farm

Tips -n- Tricks

Depth Of Field (DOF)
"Depth of Field" refers to the range of distances from your camera lens at which objects will be in focus.
A deep Depth of Field means that objects both near and far will be in focus. A narrow Depth of Field (DOF) means that only objects in a very narrow band will be in focus.
Deep DOF is great for landscape or panorama shots, or if you want to capture all the people in a scene, such as at a party.
Narrow DOF can be used for very dramatic effect to isolate one particular object in clear focus against a blurry background. It is very effective at drawing the user's eye towards the center of interest that you as the photographer intend.
How to alter DOF There are 2 things you can do to affect your DOF:
  1. The closer an object is to your lens, the narrower your depth of field. So if you've zoomed in on an object of interest from far away, you can make your DOF narrower by zooming back out and physically moving close to the object. Conversely, the further you are from an object, the deeper your DOF.
  2. The shorter your exposure time, the narrower the depth of field. For example, if your camera determines that the correct exposure setting for a particular shot is 1/60th at f22 but you want to make the depth of field narrower, you could move the shutter speed setting up one to 1/125th, and the aperture setting down one to f11. This should result in the same level of light exposure (i.e. it should not under- or over-expose the shot), but will reduce the DOF, helping you isolate a subject from the background.
  • Slower Speed = Deeper DOF
  • Faster Speed = Narrow DOF.
Bracketing (Exposure or Focus)
"Bracketing" refers to a setting on your camera that will intentionally vary from the "Correct" setting in order to try and guarantee that you get the shot you wanted. There are two examples seen most frequently on today's cameras.
  1. Exposure Bracketing - intentionally takes one shot underexposed, one shot at the "correct" exposure setting, and one overexposed shot. This gives you three pictures to work with, and is very useful if you're going to use photo editing software to touch up your pictures. The highlights tend to hold more detail in the underexposed shot, while shadows reveal their details in the overexposed shot. By using the information in all three pictures, you can sometimes turn a very good shot into a real stunner!
  2. Focus Bracketing - less common on cameras. This setting tells the camera to take one picture focused at the correct distance, but then take one picture focused a little "too close" and another focused a little "too far". Again, the idea is to help correct for small errors, and make sure that one of the three shots taken is what was intended.

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Recommended by J.D. for buying bags in bulk. Great for holding matted photos.

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