D is for Depth of Field, and Disappointment…

One of the main reasons for my initial interest in DSLR photography was to be able to produce shallow depth of field in my images. So when not playing safe in automatic mode I’ve basically spent the past few years with my particular camera du jour on Aperture Priority, playing about with putting as much depth of field into as many images as I can – which works sometimes, but has also proved thoroughly disappointing on many occasions.

I’ve discovered it’s not always advisable to take every single image with the aperture wide open – in bright sunlight too many images are blown out, completely over-exposed as the poor camera tries its best (but fails dismally) to find a shutter speed fast enough to compensate for the excessive amount of light hitting the sensor. Other images are exposed beautifully but the plane of focus is so small, so narrow, especially when close up to the subject that quite simply too much appears out of focus leaving the overall effect looking disappointingly blurry (more of that thorny issue later, when I get to ‘F’)…

These two images of spring flowers taken recently with very shallow depth of field have nevertheless benefitted greatly from me stopping down the aperture a little bit instead of leaving it quite so wide open – f2.8 instead of f1.8 – so that the flower heads still stay sharp in a beautifully blurry background. It seems I’m finally learning the hard way to be far more selective in my choice of aperture, understanding that sometimes less is more, in the hope of achieving much better, more consistent results in the pink-rose-bush


10 thoughts on “D is for Depth of Field, and Disappointment…

  1. These are very pretty. I have always wanted to be able to take photos like this. I have an older DSLR but I stopped carrying it after a shoulder injury made it painful. Thanks for a little bit of inspiration. Enjoy your day off tomorrow & Happy Easter if you celebrate.


    • Thanks Dan – unfortunately I’ll be spending my Easter Sunday at work, serving Sunday Roast Dinners in our local pub! Happy Easter to you too 🙂


  2. NotAPunkRocker says:

    Oh, pretty!

    I keep saying I want to take a photography class, but I worry about investing in a camera and not having time to use it. Decisions, decisions…


  3. I often pine to be able to create a shallower, more romantic depth of field, but I’m sure that my flower pictures often benefit from the fact that I can’t play about with this quite as much as I’d like. It’s hard enough getting flowers in focus when they’re bouncing around on their stems when you’re working with a decent depth of field. But I hope one day I’ll have change to follow your lead and experiment myself!


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