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on Jan 5, 2017 in Field Reports

“What’s the Best f/stop?”

P-40e Warhawk
capture by D5 / 105f1.4 AFS

I am convinced that one of the hardest things for a photographer to grasp is Depth of Field (DoF)! I’m constantly asked via every means possible, “What’s the best f/stop?” Lately, I’ve been flooded with links of articles asking me if they are accurate or not. And while reading is a valid way to learn photography, I’m old school where the best way to learn is by doin. DoF is one of those things you have to learn FOR YOUR photography by doing, YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY! This means taking pictures. There are great article outs there but DoF is all about storytelling and that is very much an individual activity. I want to pass along an old exercise I did long ago that helped me make DoH my friend. The lessons of the Six Pack Exercise is how I knew I wanted to use the 105f1/4 AFS on this photo of a P-40e (on the D5) to make the story the photo contains. DoF is not just about focal length or aperture, it’s also about where you stand, the distance and the light and what you want to say. There is no magic secret f/stop to seek and learning DoF takes more time than reading an article. Seek your own answer, give yourself time and the mystery will clear itself for YOUR photography!

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