Weekly Photo Challenge (Focus)

Oh me, oh my this has utterly befuddled Yours Truly and am relegating Mrs Carmichael to Photography minus 101.

I thought I understood the 101 explanation of aperture and have spent the last 24hours squinting like a good’un. I have got my fully manual Canon camera out, dusted off and have now run the battery down trying to change the f-stop settings – nada, hopeless, need classes immediately.

My self esteem is bleached white and vanishing with the stain remover.

Here are two photos which I think show a difference in focus. And yes, I did take them but with no control and I don’t understand why the f-stops appear to contradict focus 101’s key teaching points.

If anyone has the answer please pass it on. I will attempt to learn from a prone position in my darkened room.

f: 5.6, shutter speed:1/320, focal length:18.8mm (mrscarmichae's inept right finger)
f: 5.6, shutter speed:1/320, focal length:18.8mm (mrscarmichael’s inept right forefinger)

Followed by one I feel more like jumping into than discussing my lack of understanding of focus.

f:2.8, shutter speed: 1/500, focal length: 4.9mm (mrsc watching her step)
f:2.8, shutter speed: 1/500, focal length: 4.9mm (mrsc watching her step)

I was going to write about gorse in New Zealand and Wales but I’m way too exhausted.

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55 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge (Focus)

  1. just point and shoot, Mrs C. Point and shoot – it all comes out OK in the end 😉
    …oh and I love the gorse in the first image, great shallow DOF there.
    Jude xx

  2. So glad I am not the only one challenged by my camera. It’s getting embarrassing how often I have to resort to asking the boy-child-photographic-wunder-kid. Denting my air of natural parental authority no end! Lovely photos by the way. Do share on Welsh and Kiwi gorse sometime.

      1. Excellent: just had a conversation about gorse with a friend who owns a lifestyle block. Probably should have recorded it to play back to hubby who hankers after a block of land but struggles to find time to maintain our quarter acre paradise. Sigh!

      2. True; less is definitely more when it comes to gorse. Actually that doesn’t sound quite right, but you know what I mean, and I get to quote Mies van der Rohe.

      3. Not yet; I’m definitely a last-minute shover of things into a suitcase. Besides which, said suitcase is currently in Malaysia with the Big T and I can’t quite justify going to buy another one. I do have lists though, and a spreadsheet!!!!

        And if the nice woman in Weybridge gets back to me soon, I may even have a car in which to put the bags. 🙂

  3. I didn’t finish my comment. If you really would like to know how reply to this comment. I can tell you how focus works on 35mm film, it should be the same in digital.

      1. I understand, I’m having the same problem. I went to night school 5 1/2 years for photography and was getting quite good at it, then one day in Las Vegas while checking into a hotel all my camera gear was stolen. It was in a back pack setting by my foot and bam it was gone. What was really stolen was my passion for photography. Yes I still remember the right way but I have some what of a don’t care attitude or it will be ok. Where in the past I would have made sure that everything in the view finder was correct. That is the long and the short story about me and photography. It was 5 years before I bought another camera and by then it was digital. The camera is a piece of equipment, it will only takes as good a picture that the operator is capable of taken. I hope I didn’t bore you. Jim

      2. Jim, you didn’t bore me at all but have reminded me of an equally horrific incident in a Vegas hotel.

        How ghastly for you. yes, once I could even develop my own b and w pics. The digital has destroyed me and mad everything so mathematical.

      3. I started out with a NikonFT3 manual camera and that is what I learned on. Then graduated to Nikon F3HP. I was consumed with the photographic art. I tried to compose every picture, lighting, composition and all the other facets of making a good photo in the camera. I didn’t want to do it in the dark room. At least I thought I was doing good. Looking back now at some of my pictures, I realized I was only as good as I thought I was. That blew some smoke out of my sail. I haven’t really said this to anyone before, I hope you don’t think this is confession time. Excuse my rambling. Jim

      4. Jim, I’m a agony aunt in another life (only joking).
        Even your camera numbers send my head reeling. Perhaps I should not waste my money but then damn it – I want to and if nothing else I will have more angst to write about and that has to be a GOOD thing, doesn’t it?

  4. Love your pithy satirical post. I am still trying to fathom the f Stops etc on my new digital SLR. Sometimes I get it, and the next, I don’t. It is much easier to have it set on auto and move closer. ISO speed seems to affect how fstop works, but I have yet to embark on learning that can of worms! Having said all that, your pictures are stunning! Great angles and composition. That is more important I think, and simpler to understand! i will be back to check out more from your blog!

    1. Oh, I look forward to welcoming you. My last few have been about ‘disastrous’ days so am hopping a plane to Mallorca on Friday for a week – sunshine and sangria.

      I agree about the image being the most important thing but I hate to be defeated…….

  5. So tempted by a particular Canon that can be used as a P&S, but can also be used with manual settings.
    And I’m impressed, left on my own with a manual would not leave me with the results you’ve got here 🙂

  6. Hi, Mrs. Carmichael. I can’t help you with how to manually change your fstop on your camera(a little manual reading is probably in order), but I can tell you why your 2 photos appear to contradict what you read about fstop. That happened because focal length(aka the amount of zoom) also has a dramatic effect on depth of field. The f2.8 from your first shot would have given a shallower DOF than the f5.6 in the second, if your focal length( the last # listed in each shots info) was the same. However, your first shot was at a focal length of 18.8mm, and your second was at 4.9mm. That means your first pic was zoomed nearly 4 times as much as your 2nd one(the smaller that #is, the wider angle your shot is). The large difference in focal length had a much greater effect than the relatively small difference in aperture(f5.6 to f2.8) between the 2. This is why the 2 shots seem to contradict what you read. The more you zoom for a shot, the more out of focus anything in front or behind your subject will be.

      1. After I had a good chuckle at this comment, I went back and read the comment section(which I hadn’t done before posting the link). Without going into too much detail and confusing the matter more, the commentators are arguing technicalities which you can safely ignore. For the purposes of pointing your camera at something and getting the resulting blur or sharpness in the background of your image that you wish to get, the article will serve you quite well. Leave that comment section to the science geeks.

  7. If it’s any consolation (probably not) I found myself befuddled by this one.
    So I did the most sensible thing under the circumstances.
    I gave up.
    I will keep my photos in focus, at least as much as I can.

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