Welcome to my new blog! To accompany my redesigned website, I've relaunched my blog. I look forward to sharing the stories behind my photos, whether it be how I took the shot, how I processed it, or both. If you've been following my postings on Facebook, Google+, or Flickr you may recognize this photo, as well as others on that will be making appearances on the blog. When posting on those social media outlets, I include a few words about the photo; on the blog I look forward to revisiting some of these images and being able to tell you more about them.
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This image was shot on a windy morning in Chincoteague, Virginia. What drew me to this scene were the banding of the water and grasses, and the pairing of warm and cool colors which rarely disappoints. My original intention was to have the grasses sharp front to back. However, after taking some test shots and zooming in to check sharpness, I determined it was not possible to have the entire shot sharp from front to back, even at f/22. This caused by being zoomed in to 270mm with my telephoto lens. While f/22 will maximize your depth of field, it's not a guarantee everything in the composition will be sharp.
I still liked the composition, but it wasn't going to work if only part of the composition sharp. It either needed to be sharp everywhere....or sharp nowhere. I changed my approach and worked to achieve an overall subtle blur for an impressionistic rendering. I adjusted my settings to achieve the slowest shutter speed possible (ISO 100, f/40), and let the wind do the work of blurring the water and grasses. I ended up with 1/4 sec exposure and an overall soft, painterly look. Seeing the image this size it's not apparent how blurred it really is. Perhaps I could have even convinced you it's sharp!
When you're not able to capture what you expect, look for another approach. This experience is also a good example why it's important to double-check things like sharpness, and not assume that if you use f/22 and focus 1/3 of the way into the scene everything will be sharp.