After practicing for an assignment I suddenly realized that the weather was lining up for a good sunset. So I packed up the camera gear and the vlogging gear and headed for the sunflower field. I drove as quickly as allowed by law and arrived in good time about 45 minutes before sunset. I broke out the 70-200mm f/4 lens but the sun suddenly went behind the clouds I was counting on to give a good sunset. So I began to set up for the wide angle sunset shot I wanted to capture. The clouds began to light up and I captured what I was after.
But as soon as I pulled the images up on my home computer I realized I had made a big mistake. My depth of field was too shallow because I focused on the sunflower less than a foot away from my camera. This left the background out of focus even at f/16. If you look closely at the tree line you can see how out of focus it is. Had I been thinking I would have taken a second image focused at infinity and then focus stacked the images in Photoshop. I missed an opportunity to capture a great image and I am mad at myself.
Using my handy dandy depth of field calculator after the fact tells me that at 15mm and f/16 my depth of field is approximately 2 feet. The trees were probably 200 yards away so I messed up by 198 yards or 594 feet. Ok, so you ask what would have happened if I had focused to infinity, or at least on the rear tree line? Well the near focus point would be a 1 foot 6 inches, or about 50% further than my sunflower at 1 foot. There is literally no way to take this image in single exposure and get everything in focus. And I should have known that.
I was distracted by my new vlogging endeavor. I will admit it, I was trying to get good video footage of me taking excellent shots. And in the end I messed up operating the video camera as well. At least the people watching me talk to a camera will never know that I had forgotten to hit record first… So what did I really get in the end? A stern reminder that the laws of optics are just that, laws and not suggestions. Also a reminder that vlog videos are better when the images featured are rock solid.