Objective: To experiment with focusing options on the camera and focusing for effect.
Subject 1: My dog, Phoebe, intensely focused on the squirrel in our maple tree.
Result: This particular assignment was meant to focus on a subject’s eyes. I tried a few different angles and toyed with moving farther away, but this photo was the best. I like the way the eye closer to the camera is in sharp focus while the rest fades out of focus.
Subject 2: The squirrel in the maple tree.
Result: In this photo, I experimented with lock focus. I love the way the squirrel and part of the tree trunk are in focus and that the surrounding leaves in the foreground, side, and background are out of focus to varying degrees. I think it leads the eye well to the squirrel and its watchful stance.
Subject 3: Celosia plumosa
Result: I combined two experiments into one photo by choosing to photograph the flower slightly off-center as well as close up. I like that it puts the flower in contrast to the leaves of the plant and wood chips in the garden and highlights the bold, feathery plume of the flower itself.
As I sat with the photography book on my lap, critiquing my photos (a.k.a. criticizing my lack of expertise), wondering if I’d stayed true enough to the assignments, instructions on how to use the AF modes properly, and post-production sharpening, I happened to glance at the top of the page and saw this:
“Photography has no rules. It is not a sport.” ~ Bill Brandt
Now, I don’t know who Bill Brandt is, but I thank him wholeheartedly for freeing me from my anxiety about ‘following the rules’ and over-analyzing everything, which really only suffocates creativity. This little quip has reminded me to simply have fun with the process and go with whatever feels good.