I try to approach every scene with the understanding that the possibilities are endless, limited only by my ability to see them. When I get in that place, time loses meaning as I explore the scene knowing every missed rock or leaf is also a missed opportunity.
I spent several hours on this overcast fall afternoon patrolling McGee Creek, near Bishop in California's Eastern Sierra, with my camera and 70-200 lens. (I love a midrange telephoto in these situations because so much of what I'm looking for is isolation shots of individual subjects.) In a world bursting with colorful leaves, there was really nothing to set this pair apart, but for whatever reason my eyes found them.
With close scenes like this I generally focus on the foreground subject, using the background for context. I wanted the creek to be recognizable but soft--too much detail in the creek would have competed for attention with the leaves. I also found that eliminating the colorful trees and leaves on the far bank gave me a monochrome background that made the leaves appear to jump out of the frame. As it turned out, the angle that best served my objective required me to sprawl on my belly.
Achieving the desired depth of field was mostly trial and error with the DOF preview button. I know it's a pain, but I can't emphasize too strongly the importance of becoming comfortable with DOF field preview. The biggest problem with DOF preview is the light drop-off that increases as your aperture shrinks. But like any other situation that involves reduced light, your eyes adjust. (It also doesn't hurt to close your eyes for a few seconds before pushing the button to give them a head start.) With the histogram and blinking highlights I rarely bracket for exposure anymore. But photography is an inexact science, so I often bracket for DOF, trying several apertures (at least a full stop apart) with the same composition and selecting the best later, on my computer.
Next post: August 10 (please view my previous posts by clicking the arrow in the upper left of today's image)
* Website: Eloquent Images
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