EYV Exercise 2.6 Shallow Depth of Field

The brief for this exercise was to use a combination of a wide aperture, long focal length and close viewpoint to take a number of photographs with shallow depth of field.  Further, since the out of focus areas of a photograph can be a significant part of it, we were asked to give careful consideration to the composition of the blurred areas.

Here are some of the unedited photographs I took.

Stanley 12 Stanley 11 Stanley 10 Stanley 9 Stanley 8 Stanley 7 Stanley 6 Stanley 5 Stanley 4 Stanley 3 Stanley 2 Stanley 1











Here are the six images that I liked the most:

Stanley Ferry 1

F5 1/500 ISO:125 55(82)mm

Stanley Ferry 2

F6.3 1/100 ISO:125 210(315)mm

Stanley Ferry 3

F7.1 1/400 ISO:125 55(82)mm

Stanley Ferry 4

F7.1  1/800 ISO:125 110(165)mm

Stanley Ferry 5

F7.1  1/250 ISO:125 107(160)mm

Stanley Ferry 6

F6.3  1/400 ISO:125 210(315)mm

I used my 55-210mm telephoto zoom lens. Its maximum aperture at the shortest end is f4.5 and, at the longest end f6.3.

My inclination during this exercise was to use my widest aperture for every image. I was genuinely surprised, when I looked at my file data, to see that I had used my widest aperture in only two of the six photographs.

I have a camera with a digital viewfinder. This means that I have a continuous live view and can instantly see how a change in my camera settings will affect the final image. I often use this facility as well as checking the aperture setting, when setting up my photographs. The learning curve on this course has been significant, and I am aware that when concentrating on a new skill area, I have a tendency to forget to check everything else. So, here, I was concentrating on composition and, while my attention was also on creating a shallow depth of field, it seems that I forgot to ensure that I at least considered a wider aperture.

However, in all these images, I have achieved a shallow depth of field, and consequently a blurry background, and I have attempted to create a recognisable background that locates the subject without detracting from it.

I like how a shallow depth of field emphasises the main subject and guides the viewer to look at a particular part of the image. Creating a soft background separates the subject from the background and in my photographs, it provides a soft and dreamy feel appropriate to a relaxing life on the water.

I really like Kim Kirkpatrick’s use of extremely shallow depth of field in his images, and the way that this technique highlights specific subjects. He uses an extremely shallow depth of field to direct the gaze to previously hidden and un-noticed beauty in his surroundings.


I have reworked this exercise following my tutor’s feedback. He suggested that I should try to simplify the foreground in my images to improve the balance between foreground and background. My revised images can be seen here .


Kimkirkpatrick.com. (2017). Early Work. [online] Available at: http://www.kimkirkpatrick.com/GalleryMain.asp?GalleryID=97163&AKey=FGWAF5R9 (Accessed 19 Mar. 2017).




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