My busy fall schedule has made me a little slow to post in recent weeks. Right now I'm in Utah with Don Smith--it's the fifth of five workshops for me since the end of September. This has been a great fall, with lots of fantastic people and photography to match, and I'm sorry it's coming to an end. (I must be getting tired, but I probably won't feel it until I get home.)
Rather than wait to post until I can get to my backlog of recent images, I thought I'd put up this Yosemite reflection image from a couple of years ago. This scene perfectly illustrates a point I try to make to my workshop students: The focus point for a reflection is the focus point of the reflective subject and not the reflective surface. In other words, if you want objects in the foreground (like these leaves) to be sharp, unless you maximize your depth of field, your reflection will be soft.
This is counterintuitive for many people, but it's an easy thing to verify the next time you find yourself photographing a scene like this. Try focusing on the reflection and watch your foreground go soft; focus on the foreground and watch your reflection go soft. The solution to this to stop down to a small aperture to maximize your depth of field. If you find it impossible to get both in focus, I almost always opt for a sharp foreground over a sharp reflection.
For this reflection of El Capitan basking in warm pre-sunset light, I stopped down to f18 and focused on the most distant leaves I could see through my viewfinder (seat-of-the-pants hyperfocal focusing). My small aperture ensured that all the leaves would be sharp (the smaller the aperture, the wider the sharp zone in front of and behind your focus point), while still giving me the most distant focus point possible.
* Website: Eloquent Images
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