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| p.1 #4 · Learning to use prime 35 mm. |
The photos are good studies in the characteristics of the lens and how to control it, but not out of the park home runs in terms of using those characteristics to tell and interesting story a stranger seeing them will understand an enjoy.
The "keyhole" gimmick works best when something interesting is seen through it. The first one in the second batch finally puts something it the hole, but a railing, rocks and do not enter sign isn't particularly interesting.
Apart from allowing shallower DOF a wider lens allow for creative distortion of the near/far objects. You can use that creatively to either make the near objects a stronger focal point than "normal" (seen by eye) as here...
... or background objects smaller and less dominant by comparison as here...
I didn't use shallow DOF for ether because I want the viewer to explore every nook and cranny in both and find the hidden surprises they didn't notice immediately, like the ducks hidden in by the similar colored water reflections. In terms of compositional cause and effect the goal is the same as using selective focus, creating contrasting size relationships in a photo also which tells the viewer what you the creator of the image feels is most important. Contrasts of tone, sharpness and relative size in a photograph are the perceptual dynamic that tempt the viewers eye to one part of the frame or the other. You edit the visual narrative by trying the best you can to control what content they focus attention on and when they see it.
For example in the first shot the elephant is hard to miss. That's true in person when you walk into the National History Museum because it's huge and right inside the door. You stand there and take in the space and all the signs for the exhibits deciding where to go first. That's what I tried to convey with the near/far distortion, not the literal seen by eye perspective but the feeling of being in the space.
If you live in the Washington, DC as I do you develop a love/hate relationship with the tourists. I worked near the National Mall for years an would walk where took the photo of the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool 2-3 days a week at lunch time, not to see the sights but for exercise and to watch the tourists. We don't hate them, only the traffic congestion. Helping them when you see them looking at a map and lost and overhearing their comments make me remember what it was like 40 years ago when I first arrived an marveled at the place. The ducks? The are the ones who really own the place
While it appears that focal length creates the near/far distortion it is actually the shooting distance. Wide angle lenses by virtue of optics have shorter min. focus distances. For example with my 200mm min distance is 1.4 meters. With my 10-22mm it is .24 meters. When I got my 10-22mm I did this test at 10mm at different shooting distances to understand how it would distort perspective and how it changed with shooting distance.
So for your next learning exercise look and find some interesting detail and try to build an interesting story around it by using both the near/far perspective to make it larger or smaller than normal in relation to the background context. Then having "edited" the scene that way to predict what the viewer will think more important, use your DOF control to make that thing sharply focused and the less important context blurred so as not to be distracting, not an unrecognizable blob of Bokeh either.
The goal should be a balance of seeing the background context, but not having it compete with the star of the show you define via larger size and sharper focus... See this thread and the edit I did on the OP's photo..
The woman is made the focal point by virtue of being sharper an bigger. Had it been taken closer with a WA lens the pot of joss sticks would have been smaller as would the guy seen behind her changing the compositional dynamic by making the context of the pot of sticks less important. For that photo I think the balance is good because the pot full convey the idea it is an oriental temple, not just some oriental lady with a dud sparkler on at a 4th of July parade.
Start with a story idea, use the choice if shooting position, distance and lens to edit it first, then DOF to make the less important elements less distracting.