Depth of Field
Depth of Field (DoF) is one of my favorite areas in photography to play with. This is the zone in a photograph that is in focus, and everything outside of that zone is out of focus. When there is a tiny little zone in focus, that is called shallow depth of field. A wider zone of focus where nearly or all of the image is in focus is called a deep depth of field.
On Monday, I took the dogs out to our favorite hiking spot and let them run run run. I was armed with my 50mm f1.8 which isn't the best for action shots but is wonderful for playing with shallow DoF.
I typically save my deep DoF shots for wider landscapes but up on the hill, it can be used to my advantage as well. The area closest to the camera (the grass in the lower left) is out of focus while Galileo and the surrounding grass is in focus.
Here's an example of a bit of a shallower DoF. Galileo is bouncing over the brush, in focus, while the green hills and trees in the background are out of focus. This helps separate the subject from the background and draw's the viewer's eye to the in-focus focal point.
If you want to get super shallow, there are a number of ways to achieve this. A nice wide open aperture (the smaller the number, the shallower: f2.8, f2, f1.8, etc.), getting very close to the subject, and if your lens is a zoom then expanding it to the maximum mm focal length.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some muddy dogs who are very overdue for a bath!
project 52 is a a blog circle project! Click the link at the bottom of each blog to go to the next blog, and eventually you will end up back here. Next up is Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area.
I missed the cut off time for Project 52 - catch light, because I was out of town helping a friend take care of her precious 2 week old borzoi puppies!
Catch lights are the reflected bit of light on the surface of the eye. These reflections help create a sense of the glossy, wet surface of the eye. They can also aid in creating the look of a solid round surface, instead of an empty black socket. You can see the tiny white highlight in this little puppy below!
A more obvious example would be my photo from last week - Galileo filling the frame. Do you see the bright stroke of a highlight along the top of his eye? Catch light!
Now, these borzoi puppies had only recently opened their eyes. At such a young age, they still can't see in any great detail. They also answer to no-one except their hungry tummies and their sleepy bodies, so finding catch light on an open puppy eye was mostly a waiting game! Much of the time, their little eyes were squeezed shut like this:
Get that camera out of my face, lady!!
The full gallery of borzoi puppy photos can be viewed here.
The theme of week three is fill the frame. This theme was definitely a compositional challenge for me. I had all kinds of ideas of filling my composition with the spiral my dogs make when they rest, or pulling out my macro lens and getting an extreme close up of the eyes... alas. What ended up happening this week was a whole lot of birthday celebrating adventures with various friend groups. On Monday, that friend group included my fellow jackrabbit chasing enthusiasts.
We packed up the dogs (2 Magyar Agars, 2 Silken Windhounds, and 1 Borzoi), drove for a few hours out of the California urban areas, strapped on their GPS collars, and went looking for jacks.
At the time, I thought "Now's my chance to work on this week's challenge!"
That wasn't my brightest moment.
See, the thing about very very fast dogs with lots and lots of prey drive is that when given the opportunity, they really like to zoom. So most of my images were a blurry mess of trying to fill the frame with speedy dogs. Yeah, that didn't work.
Still, this wasn't my first rodeo and I knew that within an hour or two, they'd chill out. And indeed, eventually they got to a point where I could get closer...
Well I filled [most of ] the frame with that image. I think the composition leaves something to be desired; I even ended up giving the tip of Galileo's nose a bit more space because the tangent was creating far too much tension for my taste.
This was a tough challenge and I definitely intend to revisit it in the future!
This pet photography challenge is part of a blog circle! To see the next photographer's take on the challenge, visit Pet Love Photography, serving Greater Cincinnati and the San Francisco Bay Area. Continue clicking on each photographer linked at the end of the blog and eventually you'll find your way back here!
Last week I started the Pet Photography 52 Week project, but posted to my tumblr blog which caused a number of problems! So this time, I'm using my trusty web hosted blog service.
The theme for week 2 is "Rule of Thirds". This is a composition technique that I often implement in my drawings and photos. I chose to photograph my borzoi, Bandit, who doesn't get nearly enough photo love these days but is an absolute joy to shoot.
Bandit is 4 years old now and he was my first borzoi. He has never been camera shy and always gives me lots of fun angles to work with. We used to go hiking all the time together, but a rare bacterial infection destroyed some of the soft tissue in his knee when he was just two years old. These days, he lives the quiet life with me at home, forever my inspiration, my muse.
Canon 760D 50mm f1.8 at f2.8
Project 52 is part of a blog circle. To view the next photographer, check out:
Beyond the Fence, Adventure Dog Photography
If you continue to click at the links on the bottom of each blog, you'll end up back here!
This year brings many new ambitions. Having just finished an intensive BFA program at the Academy of Art University, I'm ready to dive into new adventures. The biggest adventure, perhaps, is starting this photography business.
I began the new year with one of my favorite activities: hiking.
Just 20 minutes from my home is 1700 acres of public land maintained by the city. It hosts beautiful rolling hills, large oak trees, miles and miles of hiking trails, and several natural ponds.
Typically when I take my speedy dogs out, I bring my 18-135mm f3.5-5 lens. It's the kit lens that my camera came with, and it has served me well. Nevertheless, the last hiking trip of 2017 left me feeling frustrated with my photos. I so enjoy a shallow depth of field and that soft, glowy, dreamy look that comes with wider apertures. So this time, I grabbed my 50mm f1.8 and away we went.
Both Obie and Galileo were fantastic little models, as usual. I didn't give them any commands to aid the photos, but simply let them enjoy the wide open expanse of land.
I have been eager to take them out again, but we've had 3 days of nonstop rain. The hounds are feeling cooped up, but I'm eagerly anticipating the look on their faces when they see their favorite ponds filled up again.