Thursday, June 26, 2014

Depth-Of-Field (DOF) in Photography

Hi guys, today I am writing up a general tutorial on how Depth-Of-Field (DOF for short) works in photography. It is actually pretty easy to learn. DOF is pretty much how much of an image that can be in focus at certain settings. There is actually quite a lot of physics and how light travels, but I will just be giving a pretty general overview in this tutorial to help you take better photos.

For depth of field, here are the 2 rules you need to remember:
  • The closer you are to an object, the less you can get in focus. The farther away, the more you can get in focus. That is why you see people using telephoto lenses to do portraits. Zoom in and back up if you want more in focus. 
  • The wider your aperture, the less you can get in focus, however you get more light and faster shutter. The narrower your aperture, the more you can get in focus, however less light means slower shutter speed. Don't go too narrow, or you will experience blurriness. 
The distance is quite self explanatory, but aperture might be a bit confusing for beginners, so I will go into more detail here. The scale for aperture might be a bit confusing for beginners as the scale is kind of "opposite". The aperture is measured in f-stops (generally denoted as "f/XX" where "XX" is the aperture). The SMALLER the number, the BIGGER the aperture opening (example: f/2.8), more light and faster shutter speed. The BIGGER the number, the SMALLER the aperture opening (example: f/22), less light and slower shutter speed. If you are on a tripod and want everything in focus, you can use a smaller aperture, however when handheld, you want to balance these to not get motion blur, but still get a usable image. The widest aperture for the lens is generally denoted in the name of the lens (you can't go wider than that). Some zoom lenses have a variable aperture where the widest aperture will change as you zoom in and out. You usually find two aperture numbers in the names of those lenses. 

For landscape shots, you don't want to go all out f/22. When the aperture opening gets that small, a different type of distortion occurs and you will get a blurry image that looks out of focus. I generally use an f/14 and f/16 for my landscape shots, but the "good aperture" varies lens to lens and is something you want to experiment with and balance out with DOF. When handheld, I use a middle of the road aperture for landscape shots somewhere from f/8 to f/11.

If you want to experiment with the aperture controls to further control DOF, you can do so in the following modes of your camera: A or Av (Aperture Priority), M (Manual), or B (Bulb) modes.

Below are some sample photos to show you the DOF from controlling the aperture. These photos are shot at Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA on my road trip from the SF Bay Area to Vancouver, BC, Canada. You can view the photos from my trip here. The photos are of the giant steel cables keeping the bridge up. I thought they would make a great DOF subject to do a tutorial on.

This first photo is shot at f/2.8, a very wide aperture with less of the cable in focus. 

Here is a photo at f/5. As you can see more of the cable is in focus now. 


Here is a photo at f/2.8. See how very little of the cable is in focus. 

Here is another photo at f/5. As you can see more of the cable is in focus. 

This is it for the tutorial! I hope it has helped you out a bit with your photography. :) Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My first portrait shoot!

Today I have something special. Here are the photos from my first ever portrait shoot. These photos were also shot on 5/31/2014 in Fremont Central Park in Fremont, CA. I met up with a friend that day and got her to model for a few shots and she agreed to have me share it out. This was the first ever portrait I tried with a reflector. I did blind her on a few shots with the silver side of the reflector because this was the first time I tried using one and had no clue what I was doing. The only other practice I had before with people was in street photography, which is very different than using a reflector and shooting photos of a model. Even though I had watched many tutorials and lectures on Youtube on how to do portrait photos, the hands on experience is quite different than just watching other people do it. If you want to see a higher resolution of any of the photos you see here, you can do so with this link. In this blog post I will also point out some beginner mistakes and things that beginner portrait photographers should be watching for.

The shade is always a good spot to shoot portraiture as the light is very soft in the shade however always pay attention to the background and try not to blow it out. I had a few people tell me the background looks a bit blown out. No reflectors or flash was used in this portrait. Usually, when you compose, you want the background to also be in the shade or try to balance out the light with an external flash or by bouncing some light in using a reflector. This was my first portrait shoot so I was still experimenting and didn't pay too much on the background. For the background in this photo, that was as much as Camera RAW will go at recovering the highlights. Always shoot your photos in RAW! There is a lot more room to work with the shot after than JPEG. 

Also when composing your shot, pay attention to what is in the background! I did not see that trash can until I was back on the computer. The first photo is a the edited one with the trash can patched out. Pay attention to your background or prepare to spend a lot of time in 
Photoshop patching things out with the Healing Brush. The mistake I made at the beginning was just checking to see if the exposure was good, making sure everything is in focus, and checking to see if there is any motion blur as I was on a non-image stabilized lens.


Here is another portrait photo with a slightly different pose at almost the same spot as above. 

The trash can was also in this photo sadly. Another method is if there is an unavoidable obstacle in the composition, position the person to block out the object in your photo, however this can be tricky at times. 


My friend suggested that we do some on the swings so that is the next spot. Since this was under the sun, I decided to experiment with my reflector a bit. I blinded her a bit with the silver side. I tried a few photos with the silver side however they did not work out so well. The silver side is way too intense. I think the silver is used for further away light bouncing. I'm not too sure how to use it. Either way, whenever you plan to bounce some light in, have the person you are shooting face away from the sun. 

Here is another photo shot with the silver side of the reflector. 

After all that squinting, I decided to give the white side of the reflector a go. With the white side of the reflector, the light bounced is a lot softer however you do need to get pretty up close to the model in order to see it have an effect. However after switching over to white, the photos turned out a lot better. The background is still a bit blown out on this photo. A lot more learning to do. :)

One last portrait of my friend with the white side of the reflector. 

These are all the photos for today. Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Macro Photography (Bug, Flowers, & Strawberries)

I recently did some macro photography shots and I am here to show you guys. In this blog post you will see bug photos, flowers photos, and strawberry photo. The photos are shot using my Canon EOS 5D Mark III with my Kenko Extension Tubes and Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens.

Full Resolution Photos and Prints: If you want to see full resolution photos or buy prints of any of the photos you see, they are up on my portfolio for viewing. To see my best macro photography for 2014, use this link. To see all of my 2014 at home and backyard photography photos, use this link.

I found this bug outside on a tree. I think it might be a cricket but I am not sure so I am just going to call it bug.

Update 11/11/2014: Some of my followers on Google+ pointed out this is actually a kissing bug. I am so glad that this thing just stayed pretty still in the petri dish for the whole photo shot and didn't bite me or anything. Never again am I going to bring a bug I can't identify into my house for photos!

I recently got myself some glass petri dishes and a few small food storage containers to catch bugs and photograph them so there will definitely more photos coming soon of small bugs! That is if I don't end up breaking all 5 petri dishes I got! HAHA If you know me, I am pretty careless with my stuff. After this bug photo shoot, I already broke one of the dishes. LOL That is why I got a pack of 5. 


I noticed that the logo on the box I was using to elevate the dish was showing up in my photos so I replaced the background with a piece of paper. 

One last photo of the bug. 


The next day I took the macro set up outside into my front yard for a few photos. Here is a macro photo of a dandelion. 

I then got photos of some really really tiny flowers under macro conditions. 

Black and white process of the photo above. 

I got some strawberry plants growing in the front yard. Here is a photo of an unripe strawberry. 

These are all the photos for today. I hope you have enjoyed them. Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Fremont Central Park (6/9/2014) - Fremont, CA (Part 2)

As you guys know, ever since I moved out of Fremont, CA, I haven't visited Central Park (Lake Elizabeth) much after. I recently met up with a friend at the park and took some photos. I will be splitting the photos I shot there into 2 parts. I have some scenery shots, some flower shots, and some wildlife shots. I hope you enjoy these photos. These photos were shot on 5/31/2014.

Full Resolution Photos and Prints: If you want to see full resolution photos or buy prints of any of the photos you see, they are up on my portfolio for viewing. To view my best Fremont Central Park photos, use this link. To view my best wildlife photos, use this link. To see all of my 2012 to 2014 Fremont Central Park photos, use this link.

Parts: 1 | 2 | 

The photos for today will all be bird photos and scenery photos.

A photo of a seagull. On the left you can see a geese has photo bombed this shot. :) 

Black and white process of the photo above.  

  Another photo of a seagull. 

 Black and white process of the photo above. 


 A photo of the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis). 

 Black and white process of the photo above.  

 A scenery shot of Lake Elizabeth at Central Park. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 32 43 N 121 57 49 W  

 A photo of a Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus). 


After the wildlife shots, I decided to focus on some landscape photos. Here is another photo of Lake Elizabeth. 
 Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 32 46 N 121 57 36 W  

A scenery photo of Central Park. 
  Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 32 46 N 121 57 39 W  

 Another scenery shot from Central Park.
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 32 49 N 121 57 43 W  

Another photo of Lake Elizabeth. 
 Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 32 51 N 121 57 47 W  

Another photo of Lake Elizabeth. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 32 48 N 121 57 47 W  

These are all the photos for today and for this trip to Central Park. Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

Parts: 1 | 2 | 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fremont Central Park (6/9/2014) - Fremont, CA (Part 1)

As you guys know, ever since I moved out of Fremont, CA, I haven't visited Central Park (Lake Elizabeth) much after. I recently met up with a friend at the park and took some photos. I will be splitting the photos I shot there into 2 parts. I have some scenery shots, some flower shots, and some wildlife shots. I hope you enjoy these photos. These photos were shot on 5/31/2014.

Full Resolution Photos and Prints: If you want to see full resolution photos or buy prints of any of the photos you see, they are up on my portfolio for viewing. To view my best Fremont Central Park photos, use this link. To view my best wildlife photos, use this link. To see all of my 2012 to 2014 Fremont Central Park photos, use this link.

Parts: 1 | 2 |

The photos for today will all be just bird photos.

A photo of a mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos). 

 A photo of the American Coot (Fulica americana). 

A photo of a House Sparrow (Passer domesticus). 


 Several photos of a mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos) and its baby. 


A photo of a seagull.  

Processed the photo above in black and white for a more moody look.  

 Another photo of a seagull. On the left you can see a geese has photo bombed this shot. :)

Black and white process of the photo above. 

These are all the photos for today. I will continue with more photos from Central Park tomorrow. Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.


Parts: 1 | 2 |

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park (Part 4) - Sunol, CA

Another hiking trail pretty close to my house is Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park which is somehow not in Pleasanton, CA but in the bordering town of Sunol, CA. Unlike Augustin Bernal Park, this park is less shady but the scenery is even more wonderful and the trail is less steep. I recently sprained my foot a bit while hiking Augustin Bernal Park so after several days to let it heal up a bit, I decided I'd work back into hiking with a slightly less steep trail at Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park. After going there, I fell in love. While a bit more sunny, this park is a lot bigger and has much more scenic views as it is further in the wilderness here in the valley. I hope you enjoy this series of photos. This series will have photos from several days, not just one day.

Full Resolution Photos and Prints: If you want to see full resolution photos or buy prints of any of the photos you see, they are up on my portfolio for viewing. To view my best Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park photos, use this link. To see all of my 2014 Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park photos, use this link.

Parts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |  

The photos for today are from 6/7.

 Sunset view from the mountain. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 36 44 N 121 53 26 W  

A patch of grass on the mountain. 
 Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 36 46 N 121 53 29 W  

 Sunset on the mountain. As the sun gets lower, the shadows get longer. 
 Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 36 53 N 121 53 31 W  


 If you visit my personal Google+, you'll see I have a shadow for my profile picture. I decided I'd get a new one. Here are three shadow photos I took. 
 Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 36 59 N 121 53 40 W 


Sunset on the mountain. 
 Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 37 02 N 121 53 50 W  

HDR composition of the sunset.  

 A sunset photo of trees. 

 I felt this tree would make a great silhouette contrasted against the setting sun. 


A tree with golden yellow leaves. I just thought it was weird seeing a tree like this during spring so I got a photo of it.  

HDR composition of the sunset. 
 Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 37 16 N 121 53 58 W  

HDR composition of the trail during sunset. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 37 00 N 121 53 43 W   

 I thought the one lone tree on a hill would make a nice composition. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 36 59 N 121 53 39 W   


 The sun has set behind the mountain. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 36 46 N 121 53 28 W   

Another sunset scenery shot. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 36 44 N 121 53 29 W    

Another photo of sunset. 
Approximate GPS location (type into Google) according to the Canon GP-E2 GPS Receiver: 37 36 50 N 121 53 23 W   

These are all the photos for today. I hope you have enjoyed them. Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

Parts: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |  
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