Focus with a set aperture

For this exercise, of shooting a scene with depth but focusing on it at dfferent points, I used a manual focus 85mm lens at F1.4 as I thought it would show up the depth of field on the three shots better. The subject I chose was the Pantiles at Tunbridge Wells, a) because it is very photogenic and b) there are a lot of signs and columns which I thought would lend themselves to the exercise:-

All three shots at 1/60th and ISO 400




Of the three shots above I am torn between the front focus and mid focus shots but on balance I think I prefer the mid focus shot as the central, in focus, area draws you into the shot and the out of focus areas front and back emphasise the sign. The rear focus, to me, does not have anything strong enough in the in focus area to draw your eye.

As it turned out there were a few of sets of three I thought I could use, this being one of the other ones:-




Of these three, in contrast to the above, I prefer the rear focused shot (right), as the the composition draws you in to see what is happening at the end of the row of columns/shops and has an air of mystery to it – possibly helped by the figures (is she walking away from him?). The other two while having an impact (particularly the front focused shot) dont have anything additional to engage the viewer.

These three shots again with 85mm lens F1.4, 1/80 ISO400.


One thought on “Focus with a set aperture

  1. johanlb

    Hi Richard, I enjoyed reading this article. Indeed, Tunbridge Wells looked like a good choice for this exercise. I hope you will not take it as an offense but my personal taste really goes to your first picture (front focus) : IMO the sign for the “decorative object” is more aesthetically interesting and had a little (rom)antic mood to your picture.
    In the 2nd shoot, for me, there’s too much different things in focus and so I don’t see what is the central subject : modern sign, restaurant tables, pedestrian ?
    I don’t think that there’s a right or wrong choice but commented this just to demonstrate that all is a matter of personal taste and feelings 🙂


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