EYV 2 Exercise 2.5

The brief

Find a subject in front of a background with depth. Take a close viewpoint and zoom in; you’ll need to be aware of the minimum focusing distance of your lens. Focus on the subject and take a single shot. Then, without changing the focal length, set the focus to infinity and take a second shot.

My shots

f/4.0 1/200 ISO 800 focal length 59.00 mm

f/4.0 1/200 ISO 800 focal length 59.00 mm

Comments

A few issues arose for me while I was doing this exercise. In my first attempts the contrast between the lighting conditions of the near object and the far background was too great, and because I was using aperture priority mode as instructed in the preamble to these exercises, the automated metering consistently made the near object so dark as to obscure any details in it, even when I selected spot metering. I eventually chose a situation with more consistent lighting throughout.

This set-up, however, didn’t have quite enough depth for the background to be brought into perfect focus on the infinity setting. I was tempted to simply use the auto focus to obtain a crisp focus on the background, but decided to follow the instructions and set the focus to infinity. This of course required switching to manual focus to prevent the autofocus from kicking in every time I pressed the shutter button.

This exercise was a useful reminder that the point of focus in an image and the degree to which other areas are in or out of focus are important factors in directing the path of the eye through the image. In the image with a single near object in focus the attention is drawn to that object and doesn’t investigate the background in any detail, treating it mainly as a backdrop that influences the overall sense of balance of the composition. In the image where the background is in focus the eye is drawn to the distant area of focus and doesn’t explore the blurred object in the foreground until later. There is a noticeable shift in the balance of the composition between the two images, with the area of focus in each case seeming to have greater weight within the composition.