Focus as a Creative Choice

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When I shoot, I pay particular attention to where I am setting my focus. When I’m shooting with a wide angle lens, I use the principles of Hyperfocal Distance to get everything in focus. When I’m shooting with a macro lens, I often use focus-stacking to get around the limitations of a narrow Depth of Field.

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While it may be technically feasible to get everything sharply in focus, is it always necessary? Or artistically pleasing? Take a look at the image above. For this shot of barnacles, I used focus stacking in an unconventional way. Rather than blending the sharpest parts of a series of images to get everything in focus, I chose to use the out-of-focus parts of each image – creating a soft focus effect around a single sharp barnacle. I also used a lens blur filter and the simple mask show below to further soften the area around that one sharply focused barnacle. As a result, the main subject stands out among other similar subjects.

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Here’s what a traditionally focus-stacked shot would look like. This image is more about texture and repetition than it is about showcasing a single barnacle.

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Do you use focus creatively at times? Feel free to share a link!


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About Author Jay Patel

I could startoff like this – “Seeds of Jay Patel’s appreciation for beautiful places were planted early in his childhood….” but it would get boring really fast. I will just sum it up and say that I am a Landscape and Wilderness Photographer who loves to capture dramatic light. My photographs have been published in various magazines, calendars and advertising materials throughout the world.
Patience is a virtue...unless you are chasing your dreams