Musings on Photography

Random thoughts

Posted in equipment, Photo Garden, process by Paul Butzi on October 21, 2008

One of the things about shallow depth of field is that it’s not always easy to get a grip on how much out of focus something can be but still ‘read’ as that object when the photo is viewed. The ferns in the background are a good example. Do they read as ferns, or are they just weird stripy patterns? Does it matter what size the print is?

You’ll note that this is a variation on a composition I’ve used before (and will doubtless use again). There are a fair number of these, and I used to try to resist them but now just try to make the photo and move on. It’s faster and simpler and gets the ‘pattern’ out of my mind faster.

The weather here has at last turned rainy. This has cut my camera time somewhat, since I don’t like doing the ziplock trick. It may be time to upgrade to a 5d mk II after all, just to get the weather sealing.

Other stray thoughts – I see there is a 90mm f/2.8 TS-E from Canon. I’m wondering if this lens has nice out of focus drawing. I should look up the close focus distance. With nice smooth manual focus and the ability to tilt the focus plane, this might make a nice supplement/replacement for my ancient EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro.

Finally, from this excellent post on Doug Plummer’s blog, dispatches:

Photography is only a little bit about cameras and lenses and technique. The skills to use that equipment have to be completely fluent and unconscious, of course, but I do this stuff every day. I respond a lot faster than I can think about it, but I’m paying constant attention to the equipment side. If there is backlight, I’ll adjust the exposure compensation. If I move environments, indoors to outdoors, the first thing I do is reset my ISO. I’m always watching for compositional possibilities, imagining what the scene would look like if I were seeing it from that direction instead of where I am, and if the image in my mind is better, I’ll move myself over there.

That’s maybe 20% of the job. The rest is presence.

Read the whole thing. This presence thing that Doug talks about; I think I know what he means but it isn’t always so easy. I’m hoping that, as I head out with the camera more and more often even if just for short periods, one of the things I can learn is to be here now.

One Response

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  1. JH said, on October 22, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Big thanks for pointing Doug’s posting out, he really has a good point there.

    I feel this explains many of those days when photography just doesn’t click – there is too much other stuff going on, and it is impossible to be in the moment (or so it seems).

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