Images of Nature - Instruction - Workshops

Views of Nature Photography


Depth of Field

A Photographers Guide to Understanding Focus

This book is a guide to one of the most critical parts of image making, namely that of focus. The human eye/brain have a remarkable capability to bring into focus an extremely large depth of field or rather to allow us to see everything from the closest to the farthest element in sharp detail. The camera and lens combinations we use to make photos are not so capable. We are limited by the laws of physics, specifically optics. In this book we shall explore the concepts of depth of field, hyperfocal distance and focus stacking. These tools help us recreate the images as we envisioned them in the field.

What is depth of field and why should we care about it?

Simply put, depth of field is the range of elements in an image that are, as seen by the camera, in sharp focus. We should care about it because it’s one of the creative tools that we have to make strong images. By controlling depth of field (abbreviated DoF), we can produce images that have the entire image in focus. Alternatively, by using limited DoF, we can reduce or eliminate distractions such as a busy background.

We will first explore some of the technical parts of DoF, we’ll then look at tools to help us extend DoF using hyperfocal distance and focus stacking. Please don’t be intimidated by the “physics” involved in DoF. Hang in there until we get into the tools that will help you control DoF in your field work.

What's in the Book:

Depth of Field  
      What does “In Focus” mean?  
What really controls depth of field  
      Focal length  
Hyperfocal Distance  

      What is hyperfocal distance?  
      How to use hyperfocal  
      Using Smartphone Apps      
Focus Stacking  
      Using Adobe™ Photoshop™ 
      Using Helicon Focus™  
Using Focus Creatively  
Appendix 1 - Sensor Size and Focal Length