Working the Magic of f1.4
Depth of Field, which I think of as depth of focus, for many is mysterious and confusing. It is one of the most powerful tools we have to smack the viewer right between the eyes with our subject! Now where things get murky is when the concept of sharpness comes into play. That’s in large part because sharpness is a vague term that many, including myself, try to spell out in words when the reality lies with our vision. And when you use things like underexposure to trick the eye to see “sharpness” when it’s not really there, the whole idea is really unclear. So when I say I shoot the 105f1.4 at f1.4 and only at f1.4 and folks see images like these, they find it hard to believe. That’s because so much appears to be sharp. But that’s the magic of f1.4 when used as an effective tool to smack the viewer between the eyes with the subject. How do you make the magic happen especially on large subjects?
Both of these images were shot with the D5 / 105f1.4 at f1.4. If you look at both images though, the top one, “Hit or Miss” smacks you right between the eyes! The bottom image, ya, not so much. The focus point in both images is on the invasion stripes on the fuselage. In the top image the empennage and leading edge of the wing are technically out of focus. And those big, gorgeous, ominous clouds in the background which is why I took the photo, are definitely out of focus. The same is true for the bottom image but the bottom image, the C-47 doesn’t have the same visual power. Why? Glad you asked! Everything in the photo making process is the same except the physical distance between the camera and the subject and the subject and the background. And that’s the power of f1.4 and the magic YOU have to make work. Whether shooting with the 24f1.4, 28f1.4, 35f1.4, 58f1.4, 85f1.4, or 105f1.4, it’s your FEET that make the magic happen. You have to see the potential but then tell your feet to MOVE! The fixed focal length and f/stop then do the work you’ve paid for. So I want to encourage you to explore this possibility in your photography because you will be delightfully surprised when you work the magic of f1.4.