Exploring Depth of Field Assignment Gallery

Our last Newsletter assignment was to explore depth of field. Participants were asked to choose an aperture and shoot a series of images that use only this f-stop. The subject matter could be all the same or all different. This assignment forced the photographers to visualize their images and use their chosen depth of field to obtain the final product.

Each person was asked to submit three photographs for this assignment and answer the following questions:

  1. What aperture did you choose?
  2. What visual impact were you looking to make with your chosen depth of field and composition?
  3. What was your biggest challenge with this assignment?
  4. What was the most exciting part of this assignment?

I’d like to thank all the people that participated, and once again, submitted stunning work.

To enlarge the thumbnails just click on the images. Enjoy the results!

Dolph McCranie

1. I shoot a lot of close up and macro. I decided on f/22 which gives a reasonable depth of field for close up photography and is, I think, in or near the sweet spot of my 200 mm micro Nikkor lens.

2. I was looking for adequate DOF for the subjects involved. For the lizard the eye  was perfectly in focus, the nose went a little soft calling more attention to the eye. For the Gerber daisy F/22 allowed the foreground to go a little soft and the background a little less so with the heart being sharp. The Southern anemone is a small flower that is relatively flat so the entire flower was in focus.

3. The biggest challenge was to find the appropriate subjects that would benefit from the focal length chosen.

4. The biggest challenge was also the most exciting, forcing me to choose the subjects and really think about the upside and downside of that particular aperture.

Ginny Post

The aperture chosen was 5.6 using my zoom lens at the 400mm setting.

The visual impact was intended to highlight the birds of our winter garden without the distraction of background items such as trees and stone walls.  While I love stone walls and trees, they were not the intended subject matter for this assignment.

The biggest challenge of this assignment was to work with the light afforded by the weather and the fact that these were shot through double paned windows with a “low E” coating.  Even though we have limited sunshine in our NE Ohio winters, the sun still moves across the sky and affects how the light comes through the glass.  One must move from window to window to avoid reflections on that glass.  Fortunately, our kitchen has lots of windows.

The most exciting part is always the birds.  We are fortunate to enjoy the company of a variety of birds all year long.  Winter affords us a greater visibility especially for the cardinals.  The early return of the robins is always a treat.

Scott Fuller

I was tempted to explore selective focus with the new f/1.4 lens I just got, but I opted for the greater overall sharpness of f/16 in landscape shots because these are more obtainable in my area in the late stages of winter.

I have only one shot that joins close foreground with a distant horizon.  I hoped to produce more, but light and conditions didn’t cooperate as well as I would have liked.  I missed the best time to photograph Red Rocks, because I was at work when the storm cleared; when the mists prevail and icicles hang from the red ledges.  An approaching storm front produced incredible summer-like storm clouds in the late afternoon light in my last shot.

My biggest challenge was choosing between f/1.4 and f/16, and finding a strong subject to support my decision.

The most exciting part is the fun of getting out and making images I really like and sharing them with everyone.  I really enjoy looking at everyone elses shots, as well.

Mary Beth Allen

1. Chosen apertures: 3.6 and 4.0; Shallow DOF

2. Visual impact: Emphasize a specific detail element of the subject

3. Biggest challenge: Focus

4. Most exciting part: I was outside in the botanical garden on a beautiful spring afternoon, shooting with a good friend. How much better can it be?

Jane Clark

1. Chose: a shallow depth of field.

2. Visual impact: Focus on details of a subject

3. Biggest challenge: Focus

4. Most exciting part: Getting outside and shooting the assignment

Sheila Schmid

The aperture I settled on – F16.

I wanted the visual impact of my photographs to reflect the following:

  • Texture – the subject matter I chose to use is a combination of soft florals along with hard surfaces in the beads and watch face.
  • Sharpness – I wanted to achieve just the right amount of sharpness in my photographs without overpowering either of the two textures.

My biggest challenge of this assignment was shooting with my chosen depth of field of F16, since I rarely shoot at that level. I purposely wanted to experiment with a level that was outside of my normal comfort zone, which required more thought process in determining what portion of the photograph I wanted in sharper focus. I also found it difficult to set the camera at F16 and leave it there – all the while wanting to experiment at other apertures.

The most exciting part of the assignment was playing with the “arrangement” of the objects and determining what I felt looked best to show off both textures, the soft flower petals and the hard surfaces of the jewelry pieces while keeping in mind a pleasing composition.

Kathy Wright

I chose F22.

It’s funny how you can live in a place your whole life and not even notice that, for instance, the peach trees are in full bloom in the northeastern corner of Georgia right NOW. The blooms may be gone next week. With this assignment, I wanted to present the fresh feminine dynamic row of small peach trees in profuse bloom. I wanted detail throughout, to express the drama of the morning sun, and especially, It is my intention to present ”place”: to share “Alto, Georgia”.

The first challenge was to DECIDE, F2.8 or F22. Sharpness was one challenge. Time to go back and re-study my subject was another.

It was both a challenge and excitement to photograph the trees in a unique way. It is exciting and challenging to realize ordinary life, to ‘stop and smell the peach trees’. Seriously, it is imperative.

Steve Russell

I chose a shallow depth of field, which varied from 2.8 to 7.1. The reason it varied was because my DOF was SO shallow due to the full set of extension tubes that I tacked on to my macro lens and I had to extend the DOF a little (although, you’d be hard pressed to guess which one was 7.1).

My intent for each shot was to selectively focus on one aspect of the bug I was shooting and leave the rest out of focus in order to give them a dreamy, artsy look. The compositions and backgrounds were conscious decisions when I shot and played a major role in the overall effect.

Converting them to black and white was the most exciting revelation and the biggest challenge was finding a focus point at that level of magnification.

Hugh Maddox

I choose to use F 5.6 aperture for a shallow depth of field.

The visual impact intent was to make the subject stand out from the background and be more pronounced. To accomplish this you must have a shallow depth of field. By using a large lens opening such as F 5.6 or larger as I did.

The biggest challenge was to find subjects to illustrate Depth of Field assignment.

What was most exciting. Discovering that the focal length of a lens has a great bearing on the depth of field of a lens also!

Tamar Kasberg

Aperture: F-5

Visual Impact: Knowing that I was going to shoot portraits I chose a shallow depth of field. I wanted my photos to impact the viewer in layers. I wanted to produce a a photo with a beautiful subject but also a background that would unfold as you viewed. I visually isolated my main subject by using a shallow depth of field and at the same time left my background enough in focus so it could still tell a story.

Jean-Marie Cote

What aperture did you choose? I choose the smallest one I have with my lens which is f2.8.

What visual impact were you looking to make with your chosen depth of field and composition?

  • I want my subject to be well defined for the viewer – no questions about what my subject is.
  • I do not want anything from the background to be a distraction, with a large aperture I am throwing them out of focus. The background becomes a complement to my subject and puts it in context.

What was your biggest challenge with this assignment?

  • Finding the time to participate is always the most challenging issue I am facing.
  • There were no technical challenges with the depth of field but finding subjects to deliver a message is not easy.

What was the most exciting part of this assignment?

  • Be on time to submit my images.
  • Participate and share my work with others.
  • Think in terms of a specific assignment while shooting.

Patti Lobenberg

I chose aperture F11 for all shots.

I was trying to make the flower the center of attention and bring out detail by shooting into the sun.

The biggest challenge was just that…shooting into the sun, getting everything in focus, and not getting glare from the sun.

Genevieve Fix

I chose f-11 as I was visiting the ghost town of Bannack.

I wanted to convey the atmosphere of the place to the viewer.

My biggest challenge was to use the correct aperture and the exciting part was to practice to get better at it.

3 thoughts on “Exploring Depth of Field Assignment Gallery


Awesome assignment with awesome results. My top 5 favorites
1. Tamar Kasberg – Nice story in all photos
2 & 3. Mary Beth / Jane Clark – Some amazing abstracts. You can watch them forever like modern art.
4. Scott Fuller – The storm cloud is really cool. Very dramatic
5. Steve Russell – Critters in B&W. Great contrast & perspective, subtle details… you can’t ask for more.

Profile photo of Page Orb Pedde

Page Orb Pedde

Thanks for adding your feedback on the assignment gallery. This is great. I agree with you on all points!

Profile photo of Kathy Eyster


Shelia Schmid’s still lifes with flowers & jewelry are outstanding! Excellent focus, excellent lighting, excellent composition. Especially like the vertical one. Wow!

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