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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Depth of Field

Photo from yesterday of Pyramid Mountain - 'stitch' is about halfway up the image

If you look closely at these photos you will realize that my camera did the impossible.  It managed to keep everything in focus from about 2 feet or less in front of the camera all the way to infinity.  I achieved this look by taking 2 photos - one of everything close to me, and the other of everything in the distance - and then stitched them together into a panoramic.  Basically, I took 2 pictures with the same exposure but at a different focus point and then stitched them together where they overlapped in focus.

Ansel Adams was famous for this look in his landscape photographs.  But he did it by 'closing down'  the lens of his camera (high 'f' stop) and taking pictures with a really slow shutter speed.  He had to use a tripod.  A closed down lens has a much bigger depth of field, but it needs more light (think slow shutter times).  A wide open lens has a thin depth of field but needs very little light - hence you can take pictures at a faster shutter speed when the lens is wide open.

I developed my technique for increased depth of field on my own, and I wonder if it is considered a valid technique.  Has anyone heard of 'real' photographers using this trick? It certainly works for me.  In the photo below I am actually looking down into the bear  footprint - if I had tried to do this in a normal fashion the camera angle would have been too oblique to even see the track.  You would have seen just the hole in the snow and not down into it.

Tracks from a bear fresh out of hibernation - April 5, 2008.

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