Too Much, Too Little, Or Misplaced Depth of Field?

SPOILER ALERT! IF YOU PLAN TO SEE THE OJAI ART CENTER THEATER PRODUCTION OF “AND THEN THERE WERE NONE,” DO NOT SCROLL DOWN, AS THE PHOTOS REVEAL A SIGNIFICANT PLOT POINT.

A few outtakes and questionable shots from last week’s rehearsal of And Then There Were None, and the questions themselves.

Would this be a better image if both men were in sharp focus? I think it works this way, because we get a sense of depth. Our eye is drawn to the brighter, sharper foreground figure, but is then pulled to the mysterious expression of the man lurking in the background.

If she's looking at him, shouldn't we be looking at him too? And if so, shouldn't he be the point of focus rather than her?

Is this too much depth of field? Or is it just right? Compare it to the next photo.

Here, he's taken a step backwards, but the focus point has shifted forward. She's sharper than in the previous image, while he is much blurrier. Some of this is because the range of apparent focus moved forward, and some is caused by motion blur, since he's about to...

Spoiler Alert! Oh, you've already seen the photo. Well, at least the focus appears to be in the right place - sharp on the attacker and soft on the victim.

Too much depth of field? I think so. In the studio, or with plenty of time and lighting control available, I would have sought an aperture that kept the range of focus tightly on the people. But standing atop rickety theater seats trying to get a cast photo with the lens at hand after a long night of rehearsal, I just stopped it down to 7.1 and shot away. With the 11-16mm lens and my distance from the group, I probably could have shot this at f/2.8 and gotten adequate depth of field on the people while obscuring the foreground and background. Oh well.

Too much depth of field? Absolutely. Shot at f/2.8 on a lens that opens to f/1.4. At f/1.4, I suspect this would have been a stunning image, with creamy bokeh in foreground and background.

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Filed under Camera Settings, Dance and Theater

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