Exercise: Focus with a set aperture

I found this exercise a little tricky to start with, perhaps through choosing the wrong subject. I initially tried photographing in a local car park. Although there was a difference in how clearly focused some of the photos were this did take quite an examination.I think that this was probably due to the fact that I was using my lens at it’s widest angle (18mm). As I was to later read, depth of field is greater with wide angle lenses than telephoto. Also I wanted a slightly different shot to the normal rows of cars in a car park, so I included a lot of foreground showing the disabled spaces. However this meant that it wasn’t easy to see what was in focus and what was not.(It didn’t really give much of an end product either!)


I was in the garage and noticed a lot of paint tins on the shelf, together with a few other things. I thought that these would be a suitable subject for this exercise so I rearranged the shelves so that only the paint tins were visible. This time I had the lens at 32mm.

Initially I took the shots straight on, which seemed OK

But then I remembered what I had read in ‘The Photographer’s Eye’ about making the frame interact with the image. So I tilted the camera to make thebottom shelf of tins parallel with the bottom of the viewfinder frame. I think this gives a more pleasing result. The first photo was focused on the first paint tin on the shelf, the second was focused on the tins in the middle of the shelf while the last photo was focused on the tins at the end of the shelf.

All photos were taken with the same aperture and shutter speed, f4.8, 1/10 second.

I think that I prefer the first photo which was focused on the first tin. This seems to most closely resemble what you would expect to see when you look at the scene in real life. Perhaps also because the colour is showing so much on that first tin the eye is drawn to it and expects it to be in focus.

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