T H E ( A L M O S T ) W E E K L Y P H O T O G R A P H
11 July 2016
How Much Depth-of-Field (In Bhutan)?
Two young boys pose in the Paro Dzong at festival time, Bhutan. 14mm lens, 1/250 second @ f2.8, ISO 800
On the way home from school, Bhutan. 200mm lens, 1/320 second @ f2, ISO 100
The great thing about DSLR and CSCs is that we have control over our aperture and lens selection, whereas the majority of travellers with their smartphones or simple compact cameras do not! It means we can create much better portraits of the people we meet when travelling.
For instance, we can choose whether to use a telephoto or a wide-angle lens. And we can choose whether to use a small aperture that keeps everything in the background nice and sharp, or a large aperture so our subject is sharply focused against a dreamy background blur.
The photos accompanying this article were shot with two lenses: a 14mm ultra wide-angle which produces lots of depth-of-field and a 200mm shot at a maximum aperture of f2 for incredibly shallow depth-of-field. You will work out which is which pretty easily, I dare say! Which do you like the best? What lens will you take on your next trip? Maybe it will be both!
So, what are the tricks of the trade? With the wide-angle, it is almost impossible to blur the background, so you need to frame your subject against a simple or informative background. This usually means getting in quite close to your subject, even though they may still look quite distant in the final photo. With the 200mm at the wide-open aperture, the closer your subject is to the camera, the more blurred a distant background will be.
I've chosen some portraits taken in Bhutan for this week's newsletter with the transparent intention of encouraging you to visit Bhutan later this year with David Oliver and me. We'd love to have you along! Click the Read More link to see some more portraits and to read why I think you should visit Bhutan this year!