Saturday, January 18, 2014

Getting better at focus

In my quest to improve as an amateur photographer, I need to take pictures like a marine fires rounds. When you have too many hobbies, as I do, it is tough to keep up on their development (I am not getting much better at playing the bass today, but writing and photography are on the rise). Today, I set up a bit of a shoot to test my skills with focus and figure out how to make corrections.

I started with a set of water goblets and a pitcher -- first real use they've gotten since the wedding gifting that brought them about. Very nice, no doubt, but we don't have enough fancy occasions that also serve water. Anyway, here's crystal goblets. 
I used a prime lens that is commonly known as a "nifty fifty," a Canon 50mm f1.8, which is my favorite since I hate using a flash, and the wide aperture lets me keep up shutter speed and keep down ISO. The set-up of the goblets didn't allow for all parts to be in focus at once, so I got to experiment with selecting different parts of the frame to focus upon. The first several had only the first goblet in focus, which is what auto focus tended to prefer -- I had to manually focus to move the center of the objects into focus, but you'll notice that the front goblet no longer is. The Depth of Field that comes with the territory of a fixed 50mm lens is something worthy of practice. 

In order to do a bit more DOF work with a single object, I dumped the water from all the glasses into the pitcher, then stuck a candle behind it just below the water level. This first one uses all three wicks, but I was concerned that it was a little cloudy, so I blew out one and then sped up the shutter speed more.
One of the by-products of the light changes was more attention to the reflection in the granite countertop. I recently read this article at DIY Photography about a granite tile, and since the combination of countertop and subway tile I already have is pretty eye-pleasing, I decided to start using it a lot more. I'd like to thank them for the inspiration, and thank you for reading this, because this is a direction for my posts that I haven't taken before -- actually discussing specifics as an amateur about my ways, means and practice. I'll do this more.

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