Creative focus.  There are so many in camera techniques we can use to make the focus used in the image shine and make the image a little more special.  This month we will be exploring as follows:  out of focus, wide aperture, long focal length and specialty lenses.

18/52 - OUT OF FOCUS

An out of focus image is special because the image is out of focus.  Yes!  It's true!  A photographer can intentionally use a lens out of focus!  To get this technique right, it has to look intentional.  It should not be an image that focus just missed on a subject. 

 

19/52 - WIDE APERTURE

A wide aperture really makes the subject separate from the background.  As a result, the viewer's attention falls on the subject which is in focus.  Remember, the lower the f/stop, the wider the aperture, and the more separation between the subject and the background.  The below image was taken with a 35mm lens set at f/2.8.  Focus falls on the flower, but the blurred background gives us a sense of place without detracting from the flower.

 

20/52 - LONG FOCAL LENGTH

Another way to create separation between subject and background is by using a long focal length.  In the below image, I used a 90mm lens set at f/3.5.  The horizon in the distance is blurred.  In fact, the plant in the background is also blurred due to the focal length and the low f/stop.  The viewer's attention first falls on the plant in the foreground, and then the viewer can explore the soft background for a sense of place.

DEL20170330-DSC08667-Edit.jpg

 

21/52 - SPECIALTY LENS (MACRO, TILT SHIFT, LENSBABY, FREE LENS)

Another fun way to get creative focus is to use a speciality lens.  Macro lenses take pictures as close to 1:1, so you can focus on the tiniest of details.  Tilt Shift and Lensbaby lenses create an area of focus with a distinct area that is not in focus.  A Lensbaby Sweet will create a more zoom-like blur to the spot that is in focus, whereas a Lensbaby Edge will create sliver of focus.  You can also accomplish creative focus by using a technique called freelensing.  In order to freelens, you separate your lens from the camera and hold it closely in front of the camera.  Tilting it slightly will change where the area of focus will be.  Reversing the lens and shooting this way will create a macro freelens image.  Just remember to set your aperture on the lens, and Nikon users will need to hold open that aperture from closing down.  In the below image, I used a Lensbaby Edge to create the sliver of focus on the beach.

 

22/52 - SEASONS PART 2

And since a new season has begun, show us your season this month!

I hope you found this information helpful.  Please remember to post your images to the appropriate albums on Facebook no later than May 31, 2017.  The albums are located here:  18/52 Out of Focus19/52 Wide Aperture20/52 Long Focal Length21/52 Specialty Lens and 22/52 Seasons Part 2.

I look forward to seeing your work.  

Finally, if you have not yet joined, please consider visiting the Grace Project and join today.