photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

Near or far ?

or somewhere in between ?

in Photography , Thursday, August 11, 2011

A recent blog post I read, and which early-onset Alzheimer’s is preventing me from linking to (Blogheimer’s, maybe ?), led me to realise that for quite a while I’ve been breaking one of the Cardinal Rules of landscape photography - one that I certainly used to fully subscribe to, but which I’ve been flouting for quite a while:


Or something like that.  But I have sinned, and have been guilty of letting the background sort itself out.  This is a conscious move to some extent. My reasoning was we expect far off objects to be less distinct, and shoving everything into one plane of focus doesn’t seem all that important, in particular given the tradeoffs.  Of course, it’s not a point one could argue with Ansell Adams (well, obviously, but you know what I mean).  But I bet it would get me into serious trouble in the average British Camera Club.

Here’s a prime piece of evidence, freshly created this morning:

Lavertezzo, Ticino

The foreground is pretty much in focus, by my usual standards, but the middle and background rocks are distinctly soft. And the bridge, well it’s practically blurred.

Of course, there are some practical reasons for this.  With the Olympus 4:3 sensor, diffraction sets in noticeably at f/11, and any smaller aperture than that is going to be a compromise. And although, on the other hand, the depth of field at a given aperture is roughly twice that of a 35mm size sensor, it’s not quite enough to compensate, even at wide angles like here.  Sometimes I use this characteristic to my advantage. Sometimes it becomes a bit of a handicap.  I don’t really know if I’ve become more aware of the diffraction issue, and am over-compensating, or if if I actually like the look… when it works, that is. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Is full field sharp-as-a-proverbial-pin-ness overrated, or I am I denial ? Do I need .... a new camera ???