Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Depth of Field

Depth of field is always an issue when you are filming in low light. You are constantly trading off between how fast a shutter speed you can use with what will be in focus.  When the light is low, you often can't have both. I remember focusing on the bright leaf and hoping both of the mallards would be in focus, but the female in the lead didn't make it. There is a lot to like in the image - the orange leaf, the grasses draping down and framing the left side of the image, the swirly burnt oranges in the water in the foreground - all things that convey the idea that it is fall.  But the eye keeps returning to the out-of-focus head of the hen and how annoying it is.  Especially since she is closer than almost anything else.  Your mind says she, being closer, should be in focus.  I could wish I had focused on her and let the leaf go slightly soft.  I think that would have worked.

You see that same kind of thing in movies a lot. My wife and I were watching a movie over the weekend where I noticed that same thing.  The object in the foreground was blurred while the person in the background was sharp. Sometimes it can be used to good effect, but I think it works no better with video than with stills in most cases.

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