For a photo to work, compositional elements are chosen, background is prepared, lighting is arranged and exposure has to be spot on and this could not be more true with a still life. It’s an area of photography is a real challenge for me. It is unforgiving and rudimentary mistakes and rushed shoots can lead to utter failure.
Most importantly for me is getting the depth of field just right. When I set a shot up the previous night, I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses. I hadn’t noticed until I downloaded the images to Lightroom the depth of field was unacceptably shallow. A silly mistake. Having the lens close to the subject means that even at relatively high f-stops it is easy for parts of the main subject to become out of focus.
I set the shot up again this morning (this time with my glasses on). The temptation was to focus on the flower, but even at a narrower aperture than the f/5.6 I had chosen yesterday night the bottom of the vase became unacceptably blurry. So, I selected a focus point on the rim of the vase. I could have decreased the aperture size further to increase the depth of field but diffraction around the aperture blades in the lens causes the image to soften.
To get the shot the vase was placed on some black cloth. The camera was mounted on a tripod with my favourite 35mm lens. The exposure was 0.5 seconds and f/13 using a slave flash mounted behind the subject, a heavily diffused flash on camera, daylight through a window and an overhead lamp.
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