PHOTO TIP - FUZZY DETAILS - using shallow depth of field to make subjects pop

A bit of spring for you today.

I pulled this image out of my archives.  It was taken two years ago in March. Spring was in full swing this time two years ago.  Not so this year.  Although my allergies seem to be saying otherwise.

I remember we ran some errands that Saturday morning and I thought I saw a large bunch of willows go by in a blur as we drove across a bridge over a ravine.  Later that afternoon I decided to take a walk with the camera in tow and check it out.

Turned out it was a group of pussy willows, and since the sun had finally come out, the colour on them was lovely and golden.

For this image I wanted to really emphasize the fuzzy nature of the pussywilow. And though the big bunch made an impressive sight, the wide shots I took were busy and the buds were so little that the fuzzy detail was getting lost.  So I isolated one of the nicest branches, opened my shutter up (small f-stop number) and used that shallow depth of field to get the one branch to pop against the blurred background. 

I was using an old lens that came with my first Nikon film camera - a Nikkor AF 35-70mm 1:3.3-4.5.  It was not the lens of my dreams, but it seemed to do a fair enough job.  Though there was always something odd about the way it blurred backgrounds.  They were never as “creamy” or “fuzzy” as I wanted. But that was easily remedied in post - I just added a blur filter to the background of the images to get them the way I like.

If you are waiting on spring like I am, I hope you see some signs of it this weekend.  And if you do spot some consider capturing it up close in way that highlights all the fuzzy detail.  Have a good one my friends.

Feeling out of your depth with depth of field?  Here are a few links to articles I found that you might find helpful.


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