Wick Communications

Beyond the focal plane

In Photography on November 19, 2010 at 11:02 am

(Once again, I asked Half Moon Bay Review photographer Lars Howlett to talk a bit about his craft. Actually, this is taken from a regular monthly magazine feature we do, called “Sightseeing,” in which Lars tells readers about the process of taking a particular image. Here’s Lars:)

The decision of where to focus an image depends not only on the focal point chosen with the lens, but also the range of acceptable focus or ‘depth of field’ which is achieved in three ways.

Commonly photographers rely on the aperture where the lower numbered f-stops yield a shallower area of focus. Equally important, the closer proximity to the subject and stronger magnification of a telephoto lens will also further limit the depth of field. Intentionally forcing areas out of focus can eliminate background distractions and add a painterly quality to an image. This photo, taken at night during a street festival in Half Moon Bay, takes a straight-forward approach to a sign that becomes more interesting and subtle with reflections and abstractions to either side that have been intentionally ‘de-focused.’

(Students of photography may be interested to know that Lars took this photo with an exposure of 1/40 of a second at f2.8, ISO 1600. – Clay)

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