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Shallow depth of field: are we becoming obsessive about it?


Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
20 Jun 2012 12:32PM
I think the article is about a change in perception as to what is 'good' in photography. Once upon a time deep DoF was hard to get, so photographers used to pull all the stops out, and spare no expense to get it.

Now deep DoF is very easy to get with the very short focal length lenses used on small-sensor cameras. Therefore shallow DoF has become some sort of Holy Grail.... whereas once upon a time it was easy to get, with larger format capture areas and longer focal lengths, and it was therefore taken for granted.

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llareggub 4 756 United Kingdom
20 Jun 2012 12:33PM
What people choose to do with their pictures is upto them however I do skip over the "blur the living snot" out of it photographs, I've done a couple project 365's in recent years and it is a lazy way for me to grab a picture in less than ideal conditions when the thought of trying to get that perfect DOF for the image every day is too much work.

However I do see people that take 365 photographs of blurred the snot out of pictures and cannot work out what they are learning, but each to their own Smile
kodachrome 3 530
20 Jun 2012 1:18PM
Depth of field has its place and can have good effect for approriate subjects. However done too often with out other formats to break up the monotony can become boring and smell of 'Look how clever I am'. I say chose your subject carefully for shallow depth of field but not at the expense of other settings.
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
20 Jun 2012 2:13PM
Its an interesting little read there....

The word that is most responsible for these shallow DOF shots is "distracting"

People say this on just about any shot where there is something other than the subject in the frame...

So a natural reaction of people is to avoid these "distracting features" of a shot, and one way is to go blurry with the background.

You need to make your DOF decision on a case by case basis really... many times, the background is a bit rubbish so blur away. Others, it may add to the shot... imagine a nice portrait on Lindesfarne... may as well get the castle in the background?

All my early studio stuff was shot between F11 and F16

Strobist... well due to battery life, tend to be a bit kinder to the batteries and shoot as wide as I can given the ambient light. Gets annoying waiting 5 seconds for a full burst of flash to recharge...
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
20 Jun 2012 2:16PM

Quote:Now deep DoF is very easy to get


Depth of field ? as in shallow or great CB.

I do think people are becoming somewhat lazy regarding composition, looking for a quick fixes, you hear it all the time, the backgrounds distracting, use a shallow dof with no talk or consideration for layering a comp.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
20 Jun 2012 2:22PM

Quote:Now deep DoF is very easy to get



Quote:as in shallow or great CB


Er, I said "deep" meaning the opposite of "shallow", Paul! Wink
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
20 Jun 2012 2:30PM
Lol Smile

Gets confusing with all these people talking about depth of field without using the words shallow or great
Overread 6 3.9k 18 England
20 Jun 2012 6:16PM

Quote:
The word that is most responsible for these shallow DOF shots is "distracting"

People say this on just about any shot where there is something other than the subject in the frame...

So a natural reaction of people is to avoid these "distracting features" of a shot, and one way is to go blurry with the background.



I would add that a larger number of people into photography are not coming to it from a strong artistic background. As such composition in a busy scene can be a very difficult thing for them and the use of shallow depth of field can greatly simplify the process and give them a clear, good result.
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
20 Jun 2012 6:44PM

Quote:I would add that a larger number of people into photography are not coming to it from a strong artistic background. As such composition in a busy scene can be a very difficult thing for them and the use of shallow depth of field can greatly simplify the process and give them a clear, good result.


Interesting take, Alex. I can see what you mean, e.g. rather than (say) getting down low and thereby avoiding b/g distractions - and possibly getting a more interesting view - they may shoot from eye level and rely on blurring the b/g. That type of thing.
Overread 6 3.9k 18 England
20 Jun 2012 6:48PM
Exactly - also people with a reduced artistic background are more likely to copy what they have seen - which is whatever is going to be common in the market. As a result any style tends to reinforce itself.

Of course those who stick at it long enough and push their boundaries will branch out - however there will always be a ready and larger number of newer people starting up. Thus the common themes will remain and will shift at a much slower rate.
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
20 Jun 2012 6:58PM
What gets me are the recommendations for fast primes, no one ever states the obvious, simply that you can use a shallower depth of field.

An extra stop or two can make a lot of difference to a viewfinder Smile
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
20 Jun 2012 7:27PM

Quote:I wonder what the next fad will be?

Low viewpoints for landscape shots? Just guessing... Wink



Milky waterfalls perhaps?
Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
20 Jun 2012 7:48PM

Quote:Low viewpoints for landscape shots? Just guessing...


Already tried that, must have looked like I had me ear to the ground in the local cemetery Smile
Carabosse e2
11 39.7k 269 England
20 Jun 2012 7:56PM

Quote:I had me ear to the ground in the local cemetery


Did you hear anything or................... anyone?! shocked-dark.jpg






Grin
StrayCat e2
10 15.5k 2 Canada
20 Jun 2012 9:50PM
Well guys, I'm going to continue doing things the way I enjoy them, milky water, shallow DOF when I feel like it, and so on. I don't have an artistic background like you lot, and I do try to copy some of the best wildlife photographers in the world, or more precisely, do what they say is a good way to do things, and I have never been influenced much by what I read in this forum. Wink

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