How I shot Sisyphus and a brief lesson on Depth of Field.

March 7, 2011 in Editorial, Photo A Day, Photography

Sisyphus
Sisyphus

I had people ask me how I did this shoot. I said to them that if I told them I would have to kill them. Since I’m tired of hiding all of the bodies, I figured it be easier to just tell everyone and be done with it.
First you need a good lens and camera with manual focus. I’m shooting with a Sony Alpha DLSR camera, which used to be Minolta; the lens I used for this shot is a Minolta 35-70 /4 with macro.

The idea behind this shot is what every kid knows, when you hold your fingers close to your eye and look at someone even a few feet a way you can squish their head.
Squish Your Head

Squish Your Head by CherieLeePhoto CherieLee.com

The key to getting this shot to work is a little technical and is called DOF (depth of field), don’t be scared, DOF refers to how much of the picture is in focus. A large depth of field has most of the picture in focus, while a shallow depth of field only has the main subject in focus.

Chinese Knight Shallow DOF

Bridge

Large DOF

The depth of field is controlled by the lens aperture, stay with me now, this is indicated by its f-number or f-stop. Smaller f-numbers mean shallower depths of field; larger f-numbers mean larger depths of field.
The f-number also tells the camera how much light is getting in, smaller f-numbers let in more light, higher f-numbers let in less light.
See, not too confusing, right?

This article is not meant to be an in-depth technical explanation of DOF. To learn more go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field

Let’s see this in action

First, this photo will give you an idea of what these objects look like side by side.

mannequin and twine

mannequin and twine

Here is my set up for this shot.

Set up

Set up

As you can see the objects are about two feet apart.
If I was using an f-number of 4.5 and manual focus, I can only get one object in focus at a time. If you focused to the middle distance of the two objects, both would be blurry.

So I changed to an f-number of f22. This will allow me to focus in between or in the middle distance of the two objects and both will be in focus as in the final piece.

 

Keep in mind the larger f-number means that less light will come into the camera and will make for a darker image then the lower f-number. So you need to compensate for this with either a brighter light source(s) or a longer shutter speed. Here is a diagram of my set up.

Light Source
I used three clamp-on reflector lamps with 100w bulbs directed at each object and one accent 60w flood light bulb in another clamp-on reflector lamp. BTW, you can buy these at a home improvement store or hardware store very cheap.   The accent light is to keep the back side of the mannequin and ball of twine from getting too dark and disappearing into the background.

Shutter Speed
If you don’t have enough light use a slower shutter speed (longer exposure time) but you’ll want to reduce blur so mount your camera to a tripod or any flat stable surface. If you’re still getting a dark image try increasing the ISO to a higher number like 400 or 800.

Experiment and have fun.

Shan

June 12, 2009 in Black & White, Photography, Portraits

More photos of my friends child. This was an impromptu photo-shoot. We were just hanging out and she was just sitting on the floor when I noticed how the light was coming in from the other room. I quick grabbed my camera and her being the little ham she is I was able to get these semi-candid shots.

Shan

Rose

September 12, 2008 in Editorial, Photography

Rose Framed

Rose Framed