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Thread: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

  1. #1
    Shambhala's Avatar
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    What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    So for my classes at school, we are working on DOF and being able to blur the background. I managed to blur the background but my poor little chipmunks nose is out of focus... Any tips on how I could have made the face more in focus? I think maybe the problem was I was using a zoom lens and maybe zoomed in too close?

    What not to do .. Chipmunk.

  2. #2
    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    Hi Shannon,

    Looking at the exif shooting data you used a 250mm lens at f7.1 with 1000th sec shutter speed at ISO 6400. I am not sure how far away this little fellow was but with f7.1 on a 250m lens DOF will be vary shallow. You have done the right thing by focusing on the eye. Better the eye is sharp rather than the nose. You could hand hold this lens at 250th sec so that's 2 stops under the shutter speed you were using. You could have moved the shutter to 250th (a slower shutter) in which case the aperture would have increased by 2 stops to around f16 giving you a wider DOF that MAY have allowed the nose to be sharper.

    Having said this shooting at ISO 6400 is going to give you a lot of noise, which is particularly evident in the blurred background. Again sometimes this is a trade off to get the aperture/shutter combination to get the DOF you want or even just the shot you want but wherever possible try shooting at ISO closer to 200 or 400 for better iamge quality.

    Nice composition.

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    Shambhala's Avatar
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    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    I agree 6400 was way too noisy!! It was actually really dark and pouring rain on me in the woods.. I had a "raincoat" on my camera and I was scared to use the flash, so that was the only way I knew how to get more light by increasing the ISO while still trying to blur the background. Thanks again for all your help! I am going to get this DOF down pat.. one of these days.. Our assignment was one picture with a very shallow DOF and one with everything in focus. This was the shallow one.

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    Peter Ryan's Avatar
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    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    Your response tells me you know what you are doing so the course is working. So you have got the shot you need for one part of teh lessaon so now let's see the shot showing sharpness front to back - remember hyperfocal focusing.

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    Shambhala's Avatar
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    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    LOL, Yes I remember.. I am going out tomorrow to take pictures for my assignment due on Tues. We are still working on DOF.. so hopefully I will be able to post a picture tomorrow using the hyperfocal focusing and get some feedback before I hand it in. I will be trying all your great suggestions! My teacher was the one that actually suggested this site to the class, I am really glad that he did. I love it!

  6. #6
    rob marshall

    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    Hi Shannon

    I had a similar problem the other day. I came across the most friendly squirrels in Wales, who proceeded to raid my camera bag for muesli bars!

    I used 100mm at f/2.8 on a full-frame camera, as the light was poor (under trees) and I wanted to blur the background as it was uninteresting. I probably got a bit more DOF than you, but npt much. It's always a trade-off - you want a blurred background, but you also want good DOF on the subject.

    What not to do .. Chipmunk.

  7. #7

    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    I came across the most friendly squirrels in Wales
    Don't believe him. if they get you cornered they will rip your throat out Squirrels in wales worry sheep.

    Shannon, I don't know whether you have read THIS yet but I think it is a very good explanation of the effect of DoF. You will soon get the hang of it. I always think of it as composition of the 3rd dimension. 2D composition is covered by a set of sudo-rules but composition in depth is far more difficult to define. Good depth composition jsut feels right immediately you see it so keep going.

  8. #8
    rob marshall

    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Don't believe him. if they get you cornered they will rip your throat out Squirrels in wales worry sheep.
    They sit on your lap. They ask about pension plans. They discuss existentialist novels with you. The peer up your trouser leg. And they steal your food.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Shannon, I don't know whether you have read THIS yet but I think it is a very good explanation of the effect of DoF.
    I'd forgotten that calculator was there. According to it my shot (I was 1 metre away) has 1.5cm DOF, which looks about right.

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    Shambhala's Avatar
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    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    Rob Thanks for posting that picture.. It's amazing!! That is what I am practicing trying to achieve. I have only been taking pictures for about two months.. and it's only been the last few weeks that I put my camera in manual.. LOL.. You have to start somewhere though. I really appreciate all the tips and advice!! I would love to meet a squirrel that loved to sit on my lap and read existential novels to me.. hehe. Thanks Wirefox.. I love to read anything I can get my hands on about photography. Thanks everyone for the encouraging words too

  10. #10

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    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    Shannon. You probably haven't covered Selective Sharpening yet, but it is possible to just add a little patch of extra sharpening to small areas of a photo. I think this method would greatly improve your squirrel's nose. The eye is sharp which is the main thing.

    Create a Duplicate Layer and sharpen to suit the weakest area (ignore any oversharpening elsewhere) add a Hide All Mask and the sharpened area 'disappears'. Use a soft low opacity 'white' brush to gently paint over the required areas until that part of the 'hidden' sharpened layer appears (in this case the nose).

    In reality this is a lot easier than it sounds but don't worry if it doesn't make sense at the moment. There are a lot of simple tricks like this which are waiting to be discovered in due course.

  11. #11
    Shambhala's Avatar
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    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    Thanks Geoff.. I will write all this helpful information down... I don't know how to use Photoshop yet. I don't start those classes till June. So for now I pretty much get what comes out of the camera. I will definitely make note of your suggestions and when I start learning I will definitely pay attn. !! Thanks again!

  12. #12

    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    They sit on your lap. They ask about pension plans. They discuss existentialist novels with you. The peer up your trouser leg. And they steal your food.
    thats what they want you to think...its all part of the plan to take over the world

    Ahem sorry Shannon. We have Welshmen in here you know. Normal viewing will be restored following our short interlude of insanity

  13. #13
    Shambhala's Avatar
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    Re: What not to do .. Chipmunk.

    LOL, it's ok I have a great sense of humour!!

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