A Look Through the Grass

Click on the image to view a high res version.

Focal Length: 105mm
Aperture: f/16
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 100

This photo is also something along the lines of what I want to experiment more with. If you notice the f-stop, you might wonder why the lighthouse in the background is so out of focus. Shouldn’t more be in focus with an f-stop of 16? There are 2 factors you need to consider when trying to get a blurred background. The one that most know about is a wider aperture such as f/2.8. The less common approach is what I did here, being close to my foreground element and having a lot of distance to the background element. There’s another thing that also comes into play in this photo as it wouldn’t be able to be replicated with a wide angle lens. By using a lens more on the telephoto side I was able to compress the elements together, or make it seem like the lighthouse was much closer than it actually was.

For those that don’t have a complete understanding about the laws of focal lengths, I’ll explain the basics of how I understand them. I don’t have time to put together a complete post with photos so hopefully an explanation will be enough for now. Generally if you want to get a photo of something that resembles the way the human eye sees it (which means no distortions), you would shoot with a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera (full frame). When you start to go wider, foreground elements start to appear larger than background elements and they appear to be farther from one another. When you start to go more telephoto then the opposite occurs, where background elements start to become larger and elements appear to be closer to one another.

Now this is where things may start to get a bit confusing. In order to achieve more of a blur in the background, one of the easiest ways to do this if you don’t have a fast lens (f/1.2 – f/2.8) is to get closer to your foreground subject and make sure there is as much distance as possible from the background subject. Depending on the results you are looking for, you can produce photos where the background is completely indistinguishable or have it blurred enough that you can tell what it is, but not have it overpower the rest of the photo.

I tend to like photos like this because it gives you a small subject that is often overlooked, but still interesting in its own way, then a more well known interesting subject that isn’t the primary focus of the shot. Composition is also key when doing photos like this as well. When getting this shot I purposely put the lighthouse where it was because I wanted it to be sort of ‘framed’ between pieces of grass rather than having one of the larger pieces going right through the middle.


A Look Through the Grass

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