Photography by Jim Doty

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Sunset at White Sands New Mexico
Photo copyright Jim Doty Jr.

The last golden light of sunset was kissing the tops of the sand ridges, making for beautiful light. It only lasted a few minutes so I had to work fast. I set my tripod mounted camera low to the ground to create this point of view and maximize the texture of the sand.

I wanted a lot of depth of field (near to far sharpness in the image), so I checked my home-made hyperfocal distance chart. With a 24mm lens and an aperture of f/22, the hyperfocal distance would be 4 feet and the depth of field would be from 2 feet to infinity.

In a situation like this when the foreground is more important than the far distant background (well beyond the cactus), it is a good idea to "bracket the focus" by taking several photos and focusing at different distances. In addition to focusing at the hyperfocal distance of 4 feet, take some extra pictures with the focus at distances between 2 feet and 6 feet.  One of the photos will give you a razor sharp foreground and middle ground (the cactus) and acceptable sharpness in the distant background.

There is more information about depth of field and using hyperfocal distance charts, for both film and digital cameras, elsewhere at this site. There are two entire chapters devoted to depth of field in my new photography book, Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies. Don't let the title throw you if you shoot film. The book applies to working with both film and digital cameras.

November 9, 2010

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