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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Depth of field question...I recently found a spot where I could photograph surfers surfing off a rocky headland. I could get good composition ...
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:35   #1 (permalink)
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Depth of field question

I recently found a spot where I could photograph surfers surfing off a rocky headland. I could get good composition with my Nikon 70- 300 zoom lens. However I was trying to get some overhanging casaurinas [ a local she oak with needle like weeping leaves] in focus as well. The leaves were approximately three metres in front of the camera. I set the camera on aperture priority F22 iso 200 and tried to manually focus between the surfers and the leaves. I took quite a few shots and the shuter speeds varied between 60 and 250. There was plenty of mid afternoon light. The results were disapointing. Should I have used my tripod? Should I have used a wider aperature? Any ideas? Thanks Mark
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:41   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Depth of field question

Welcome to Pixalo Mark

When you mention using a tripod, I guess you have some bluring of the action. If you are trying to get that much depth of field you certainly need a small aperture, but you also need a fast shutter speed. I think the first thing to try is upping the ISO by around two stops and see how you go from there.
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Old 05-04-2009, 12:45   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Depth of field question

There is some pretty major assumptions having to be made to reach the following but I would say that I am not a million miles away (pun intended)

Using a tripod will not help in this situation as its all about the distances. You are working with the short distance between you and the weeping leaves and the large distance to the windsurfers. You would need to shorten the distance between the leaves and the surfers or widen (by a significant amount) the distance between you and the leaves so that they appear closer together. Doing the latter would obviously make the surfers look like dots though and unless you have some god qualities, moving trees and the ocean is just not possible.

In this case I really don't think you would be able to capture what your mind was seeing
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Old 06-04-2009, 17:28   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Depth of field question

There is something called a DOF calculator you can find online. It will tell you exactly under WHAT condition you will achieve HYPER FOCUS - which is what you are looking for. To have the foreground, mid ground and background in focus. It has nothing to do with your use of tripod or not. It is all physics/optics. If the conditions are met then you can do what you want, if the conditions cannot be met then you need to come up with a new idea.
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Old 08-04-2009, 22:41   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Depth of field question

Depth of field is much narrower on long lenses ,they only thing you can try as said is move back a few feet from the leaves.
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Old 09-04-2009, 09:00   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Depth of field question

@ 300mm / F22 when you're subject you are focussed on is over 100m away then the nearest object in focus will be 72.23m away.

same figures but @ 70mm we get you nearest item in focus is at 12.38m

We really need to know exactly what focal length you where using and how far away the subject is. However all we're gonna tell you is you can't get both in focus

As has already been stated, telephoto lenses have small depth of field.


The only way I can think of doing it is to use the tripod, shoot focussed on the surfers then focus on the plant and shoot again, then blend the frames together. It's less than ideal and you'll probably notice the change of focus is liable to change the composition slightly. There's also a good chance it might look a bit artificial without intervening focus planes.
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