Selective Focus: F-stop in photo design.

In ” Creation,” selective focus is used to obscure and soften the human form. The image was originally shot with a longer depth of field, with both the body and the clouds in focus. Then images were taken of the body in focus with the clouds out of focus, then with the focus on the clouds. Selective focus creates a primary and a secondary point of focus for the eye. At first glance, the body is a simple mountain range, but as your eye settles on the ” earth,” it is now clear that mother earth is now us.  By using a low F-stop–(lens wide open)–you can create a different mood, as well as draw the eye to different parts of the image. With your digital SLR, setting your aperture first, or using the portraiture setting, will open the lens and bring into focus only those parts you wish to highlight, blurring the rest. This may seem obvious, but by thinking “depth of field” each time you are visualizing an image, it will soon be a habit. I have found that the mood of the image is often more controlled by the F-stop setting than almost anything else. I will review many images where the selective focus is a prominent feature.

The text for “Creation” adds much;

I lay on my back in the tall grass of the meadow, gazing up at the endless reach of blue sky overhead. From the surrounding pools of shadows, I boldly imposed my will upon the clouds, herding their elusive forms into a corral of tame familiarity. The wind laughed wildly and blew them far away.

P. Miller