Looking towards the summit of Mt. Evans, CO.
An Aspen grove
A natural world, a natural frame.
A recent memory is almost forgotten under the growth of time.
My latest trip yielded some nice pics. Though not a trip dedicated to taking photos, I took shots while keeping on the move. The landscape seemed to do all the work. This was taken atop the Cathedral in Sedona, AZ, after an improvised approach to avoid the crowds. The pic is taken from the non-road much less traveled. Much to my liking!
After my hard lesson the other day mentioned here, I decided to return to see if I was right in my diagnosis (f-stop too low). I took another series of photos of the two trees in full manual mode, starting at 5.0 f-stop and going all the way to 22, adjusting the shutter speed and ISO accordingly.
When I got home, I noticed a stark difference in the uncorrected sharpness of the photos, especially between f-stops 6.3 and 10. After 10 they started to lose sharpness. F.22 was very soft. It seems that a tripod may be required for f-stops 10 and above when not increasing the ISO (I tried to avoid that as much as possible, but did it when the shutter speed decreased below 100).
This was a better shot in terms of its sharpness, but I think the overall composition of the two tress from the first session is better (link above – the last pic in the series is the best shot).
Here it is at f-stop 8.0, 1/250:
This is an experiment in how light moves over a stable scene. The three photos below were shot between 5:00pm and 7:00pm. I was interested to capture how, as the light angle increased, the contrast and geometric shape of shadows on the two subjects also increased and became more pronounced. Notice the sequence below, the final shape of the shadow on the right-most tree appears, from my angle, as a kitchen knife, the handle pointing towards the tree’s canopy. Very pronounced.
I also learned some hard lessons today. Most of my shots were rejects due to lack of sharpness in the photo. I am still trying to figure out if they were genuinely out of focus (even though I was checking meticulously using the LCD zoom feature), or if I was introducing some movement into the shot (I was shooting without a tripod). However, my most solid guess right now is that I had the f-stop entirely too low for the duration of the shoot. These were taken with a 50mm f1.8 and only once did I increase the f-stop to 4.5 — coincidentally it was the sharpest photo in the bunch.
I’m learning that f-stop is important not only for how much light enters the aperture, but for how deep or shallow the depth of field appears. The latter is probably not unrelated to the former, but I’m new to this so please feel free to clarify my misconception if there is one. It seems to me that for landscape photos, you want a higher f-stop, thus rendering the depth of field deeper, thus making objects far away sharper and appearing more in focus. Is this right?
At any rate, I’m sure a tripod would have helped. The problem is, I was on the ground most of the time, sometimes lying down to get the shot I wanted.
Any helpful comments are welcome.