Focus – eyes. If the eyes are in focus, just about anything else is forgiven in a portrait. The image is an edit discard if the eyes are not focused. If you stand back far enough everything looks in focus. Up close – focus is critical to the success of an image. Have I said focus is important? In a family of ten it’s important to be focused. Ha ha! I did a go around the house and got everyone’s eyes, mine included. (I chose to be upside down.) I suppose this is photo lesson 101. Focus!
I did a composite of three images, it is obvious if you know what to look for. Or, it is obvious if you notice something is not quite right. I will explain. Look closely and you will see three distinct levels of focus: front, middle, and rear. And in between each zone, the flower is out of focus: soft. It’s subtle but distinct. It gives the full view of the flower. If you didn’t notice then my manipulation was successful in illustrating the flower. Me? I noticed it was unnatural right away. Then it took a moment to realize the explanation. The macro lens I used has no depth of field whatsoever. It is the nature of the lens. And, in this case, it illustrates the concept of depth of field nicely. Confused? No worries. You can appreciate the image without understanding the technical details.
As if you might care – macro photography has a very limited depth of field. This is good or bad. I have had to adjust. The critical focus makes it imperative to be certain of the point of interest. Lack of focus is unforgiving. Either you got the shot or not. Ok! Enough! You want to see? The African daisy is in focus at the back and not the front. It’s subtle but makes all the difference between “ok” and “wow!” If you didn’t notice or don’t care, good for you!
Before auto – everything, photography required a bit of set up: shutter, aperture, lens, focus, film, ASA/ISO. Ha ha! Point and shoot – iPhone, then on instantly to Instagram. I, too, am impatient. Too much. The eye and the mind can think faster than camera and fingers. I see things I can’t shoot. The camera does its best to keep up. Sometimes it fails. Focusing through a window screen it’s too much to ask. The lens/sensor it too good but not smart. Or, you can fool it. I thought I did. Confused. It’s why you shoot doubles and hope one came out. There is still image degradation shooting through the screen. But I’ll take it. The alternative was, miss the shot, or climb out the window.
It’s in the eyes. You focus on the eyes. That is the heart of the image. You knew that. Right? I’ve lately been having trouble with my trusty Nikon D610. Hey, it’s four years old now. I don’t even know what their latest greatest (new model) is. I no longer have camera envy. But, I do want good images. I’ve been having focus problems for a while Well, I dropped it to the sidewalk in 2016. It’s hasn’t been right since it came back from repair. User error! Me. I finally sat down with the manual again today. Yeah, yeah, I actually read the instructions again. Don’t laugh. Don’t tell. And I think I’ve figured it all out again. I wanted closest focus done automatically. I want to just compose and shoot. Unfortunately, I also want to place the main subject off-center in the image. This does not always comply with what the camera is doing. I’m go… and the camera is still deciding what to do. I get shots. But I would like a higher percentage of success. I read the manual, I made my adjustments, and now I’m holding my breath.
Speaking of instructions – did I tell you this one? We got Jules an Easy Bake Oven for her birthday – many many years (decades) ago. My brothers happily got to work and assembled it. There were two leftover screws (that went somewhere) when they were done. Not extra screws! I saw them toss the screws into the oven. Fine by me. We’d find out where the screws went later. It’s a guy thinking here. No! No! The wife/mother tossed the screws in the trash. I witnessed that too. Why didn’t I act? And we eventually found the place the screws were missing. And that oven rattled forever more till we threw the thing out. Let that be a lesson!? Read the manual?