Week Four: Reflection

January 21, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

4/52: This week's assignment is Reflection. Does this mean literally or figuratively? You're the photographer, you decide.

If perhaps, you want to create an image telling a story of self-awareness, and thought...go for it. I think that would make for an interesting image.

In the literal sense, the task will be to locate a reflective surface, and frame a subject within the confines of that surface. It can be water, a mirror, glass, polished metal, a fender on a '41 Willy's Coupe (sure wish I had one to use!), doesn't matter...it just has to be a reflective surface. Think of it as a frame within a frame. You're filling your camera's frame with the reflective surface, and in turn filling the frame of that reflective surface with another subject. Clear as mud, right?

One thing to keep in mind, the reflection will be a lot like a photograph itself. It will be two-dimensional. If you're shooting up close, the depth of field will become critical. In particular, the closer you are to the subject and when shooting from various perspectives.

Having a narrow depth of field (wide aperture...f/1.4, f/2.8, f/4, etc.) at a close range will cause areas of the image to fall out of focus. If doing so is part of your creative vision...go for it. However, if it isn't, it may become necessary to use a narrower aperture around f/8, f/11, or even higher to get an acceptable depth of field.

Most of us use a smart phone nowadays. A handy tool to use is a Depth of Field Calculator. A DOF calculator can be used to help determine where your settings need to be by selecting the distance to the subject, your desired aperture (based on your creative vision), the particular focal length your shooting at, and the camera's sensor crop factor (1.5x, 1.6x, Full-frame). The calculator will then determine the depth of field, hyperfocal distance, and near/far focus distances based on your input. Knowing the depth of field can (and should) be used to your advantage, or for creative purposes. For example, if you are making a portrait against a backdrop or background that is less than desirable (too busy, doesn't add to the composition, etc.) and the subject cannot be moved...throw the background out of focus using a wider aperture or narrower depth of field. At the other end of the spectrum, if your creative vision calls for a wide depth of field, choose a narrower aperture.

TIP: If your lens does not have image stabilization, or you don't have access to a tripod, keep the shutter speed close to or greater than the focal length you're shooting at (e.g.- 100mm...1/100s, 50mm...1/50s, etc.). This will help eliminate camera shake. If a narrow aperture is used, and the available light is rather low, the shutter speed will slow (1/50s, 1/30s, 1/15s, etc.) quite a bit and any movement in the camera will be noticeable in the image. Either adjust the ISO (sensor's sensitivity to light) to compensate, or stabilize yourself as solidly as possible. Increasing the ISO, in particular on a crop sensor camera, has its drawbacks. Digital noise, and reduction of image quality, are primary concerns.

Clean your lenses and sensors, grab your gear, and get out there. Above all...have fun!

Recommended Reading:

Google Search: Reflection Photography

Frame Within A Frame  



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