In most of todays cameras, there is the option of using auto focus, allowing the camera to choose the focus point for you. Even the attached lens, in most cases have the facility to use either auto focus or manual focus. In some cases I like to use manual focus, to actual focus on the part of the image I want to be in focus rather than let the camera choose where to focus. Although in this exercise I did have the lens on auto focus.
There is facility, in addition to auto focus to train the focus point on a particular area with in the shot. In the images below, of my canon 1200D camera, I am able to change the focus position using the menus. The image (top right) will put the emphasis for the focus in all areas of the shot, while the other two settings will put the focus on the right side and centre respectively.
There are times when you will need to have the focus setting on all areas, such as landscapes, buildings, still life and in some cases portraits. I say some portraits as this depends on the aesthetics on the image I want to portray. As any photographer knows, focusing on the eyes is important, as in the case of the portrait to the left, of my niece, enjoying sponge cake on a recent family celebration.
“What ever the reasons, never underestimate the visual power of focus. The fact that the sharpness is the virtual unquestioned standard is enough to show that whatever is focused on becomes the de facto point of attention. Deliberate misuse-or rather, unexpected use- works extremely well because it flouts established procedure”
“The focus creates an order of importance in the depictive space by creating one plane of focus in the depictive space. This separates the subject of the photograph from its content. P.H. Emerson’s photograph During the Reed Harvest has a little depth of focus, i.e. a shallow depth of field, which separates the reed harvesters in the foreground from the one in the background and the background itself”
In this exercise we are not using the zoom, but focusing on various parts of the image. Therefore the focal length is the same, set at 55mm, the exception is the focus point. The difference between these shots and shots in previous exercises is that the image is not compressed, ie zoomed. This is showing how DoF can be altered by focusing. The image where the focus is on the foreground was easy to take, but in order to the shots that have the background in focus and the foreground blurred, I had to move the camera away away from the object nearest, focus on the distant object, then come back down into the shot I wanted.
For example, the two shots below, taken through my garden wall, of the neighbours blue car. I took the first shot, focusing on the wall, then raised the camera, over the wall and focused on the car, so when I brought the camera back to level I had taken the first shot, the car was still in focus. To keep it in focus by keeping my finger pressed halfway down on the shutter. I could have just altered the focus manual, by turning off the auto focus, but I wanted to try something different. The result is still the same, although I will go back to using manual focus as it means I am in full control of the shot being taken.
Canon have an extensive section on tutorials. When I first got my Canon 1200D I used these tutorials as an aid to getting around the menus as all cameras, (although have similar menus) are different. I had been using an Olympus as my main camera before buying the canon.
Previous Exercises Relating to Aesthetics and Composition
Books Further Reading