Lesson 3: Motion & Depth of Field Pics

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    erja kaikkonen


    I am back at going through the lessons and assignments with a little bit more time in my hands now. So today I walked down to the Beirut Corniche and started shooting.

    I am including two pictures for the ‘movement’ category and one for the depth of field.

    For some reason my camera’s aperture does not go below F5. Is this normal? I have a Canon EOS 500.

    I also find it amazingly difficult to ensure sharpness of the photos whilst paying attention to illusion of motion or depth of field. I have better ones that I have taken before but that was before I knew what I was doing. 😉


    Duncan Rawlinson

    Hey Erja,

    Thanks for submitting another assignment!

    Which lens are you using with your EOS 500?

    Regarding focus.

    You should learn the difference between your focus modes. Namely: One Shot, AI Focus and AI Servo

    I can explain them quickly here. One shot means the camera will autofocus on whatever you’re pointing it at when you press the shutter release half down or all the way down. It’s good for stationary objects. AI Focus is basically for objects that are stationary but could move. Like a bird sitting in a tree that is about to take off. Now once the bird has taken off and is in full motion that’s when AI servo works best.

    In AI servo mode your camera will continue focusing constantly until the shutter release is depressed. It’s great for say a big muscle man walking toward your camera!

    Speaking of big muscle guys…

    You have submitted three photographs. Let’s get right to it.

    Your first photo features a big man walking toward your camera. You’ve achieved shallow depth of field here and the photograph itself is interesting so job well done!

    The photo is slightly out of focus but now that you know AI Servo would be ideal for this situation you’ll get better shots next time right?!

    Now for your motion photograph.

    I suspect you we’re trying to achieve something like this:

    Hard green shell by SergioTudela, on Flickr

    Check out how this photo was taken:
    Camera: Nikon D80
    Lense: Tokina AT-X 12-24 f/4 AF PRO DX
    Exposure: 1/8
    Aperture: f/8
    Focal length: 12 mm
    ISO speed: 100
    Filter: B+W F-PRO UV + Cokin Z121S
    Tripod: Manfrotto 190XPROB + Manfrotto 486RC2

    Note the aperture and exposure(shutter).

    You need a tripod to shoot photos like this.

    Otherwise if you were not trying to achieve that look than your photo doesn’t really show motion. It shows a frozen image of water. I can imagine that the water is moving but I don’t really see it in the photo.

    I hope you understand what I mean.

    Your last photo certainly depicts motion but the photo itself is not very interesting. A better option for this photo would be standing on the ground and panning as the scooter goes by. Like this:

    Family Outing by judepics, on Flickr

    You’ve shown that you can achieve both shallow depth of field and motion in your photos but you need more practice here.

    I hope my examples we’re helpful.

    See you on the next assignment!

    erja kaikkonen

    Thanks for your feedback! With the water moving that’s exactly what I was aiming for.. I guess I still have to practice a bit. I was shooting with a tripod but it wasn’t very stable. Perhaps I need to buy a new one.

    Thanks for the tips re One Shot, Al Focus and Al Servo – very useful.

    As to the lenses and my problem with the aperture. I have two lenses – a basic Canon EFS 18-55 mm – with which the aperture goes down to about f/4.0 – and a Sigma DG 70-300 mm – with which the aperture goes only to about f/5.0.

    In fact, I find it difficult to keep changing lenses for close and far away shots. Could you recommend a lens that covers for as many types of photos as possible?

    Thanks again!

    Duncan Rawlinson

    If you want to get serious about your photography you will want to get used to changing lenses. You get better at it over time and it becomes second nature… Take a look at how professionals do it. Just look it up on youtube and there are videos showing how to change fast.

    For the water shot you might also need a neutral density filter to make it so less light gets in… Honestly the best way to learn this is to learn from other people. Just google something like “how to photorgraph a waterfall” or something like that.

    I like this lens:


    It’s a bit pricey though 😮

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