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Photo Project – Article Three

Gears: Ian Timothy

Sharp Focus Verses Composition – The standard Canon 5000 and 40mm STM lens is used for the sequence of bike images. Remember the objective of this project is to discover if a hundred pounds worth of analogue equipment will reward the photographer. To my mind composition outweighs ultimate sharpness and quality. If the image is interesting, it will hold the viewer far longer than a cut-throat sharp picture of a cardboard box.

I’m not interested in the ‘my lens is sharper than your’s’ mindset. The feeling is, justification comes to play in the statement. Let’s be clear, if you have paid a thousand pounds for your lens, the need is to believe the lens is ten times as good as a ‘user’ purchased for a hundred pounds.

It is not possible for a single lens to be ten times better than any high performer. And if the photographer is unable to focus correctly, the expensive lens has no advantage. So, we return to the idea composition is of greater importance than sharpness.

Sharpness has no concern for the real photographer. Wide apertures give a shallow depth of focus. There are little foreground and background sharpness when using a wide aperture. As the aperture closes, the extent of the in-focus area increases and isolation of a subject diminishes. The nearer the lens to the subject the shallower the depth of focus. If you look at these images, you’ll discover there are areas of sharpness and the other regions which are blurred. Although, the limitation of the auto exposure does give a smaller aperture than I would have preferred.

The way to focus with autofocus is to place the central focus area on the part of the image you need to isolate: focus and hold the shutter button while recomposing the image to your minds-eye’s composition. See if you can work out where my point of focus is in these images.

Autofocus is good, but manual focus helps better with compositional areas of focus. Only when using an SLR, can you compose and then critically focus on your chosen field without MOVING the camera. When using a standard or short telephoto lens with wide apertures, you may be off with your focus. Look through the images and see where the focal point is for the composition.

The negatives are sharp and would provide excellent six by nine-inch prints. All images are straight out of the scanner with NO adjustments. Many people will comment “‘it is only when you are enlarging to 12 by 16 will you find the resolution of the lens”. There is merit in their claim. However, the accurate reply is how many 12 by 16 images have you in your portfolio? And if I needed a 12 by 16 or 16 by 20 print, my choice of the camera would be medium format.

First Image: Ian Timothy
Short Photo Essay – The ‘Whole’ Picture

The inference here is close up images have great impact. And although the separate frames are indeed sharp: the information has more interest than the resolution of the photograph.

Gears: Ian Timothy
Aspect of the Bike – Gear Cluster
Gear Lever: Ian Timothy
Gear Shifter
Handlebars and Shifter: Ian Timothy
Handle Bars and Shifter
Bike Seat: Ian Timothy
Detailed Image of Leather Seat

When recording an ‘object’ photograph the whole picture and then a few composite parts of the subject. And remember: Although sharpness is a factor considered as important. Composition and information gain more attention from the reviewer of the images.

The film used is FomaPan 100 developed in Rodinal at 50:1 dilution: Time – nine minutes: Temperature 20 degrees C.

See you soon

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Well written Ian!

    April 27, 2019
    • Thank – You Isreal – Getting back into the site – Thanks for your support my friend – Ian

      April 30, 2019

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