The next set of exercises is aimed at the subject of focus. The objective of the first of these is to fix the lens at the widest aperture (f/4 in my case) and focus at three different places along a row of objects. I shot this sequence several times, initially outdoors using trees, a fence and an old church wall and compared these images with shots set up indoors using rows of books or dominoes. Although all four sets clearly exemplified the different focal points, I settled on the dominoes as demonstrating the effect best to be added to my learning journal for the purposes of the exercise.
The dominoes were placed on a black woven mat and the weave pattern is clearly visible in the images as the focal point was shifted along the row; this very obviously contributes to the definition of the area of focus. The image where the focus was closest to the camera held my eye at the bottom of the image with little inclination to move upwards; I guess an image focused in this way could have utility in magazines where text could be at the top in the de-focused area, but it was not an image that held appeal for me. The image where the focal point was in the centre of the row of dominoes, actually on the double six, lead my eye smoothly into the image, hit the key area of focus and then moved upwards following the gradual fall off in sharpness. Where focus was at the top of the image, I’m not sure my eye was lead anywhere!
This was a good exercise to go through and I think its value was enhanced significantly by taking the opportunity to shoot different sets of images under different circumstances. The outdoor sets still had the same visual impact on me, but as they were shot over greater lengths of objects, they lacked the clarity and impact of the dominoes.
Canon 5D Mk II with 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens
105mm | f/4 | 1/45sec | ISO200