Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vintage Assem-dog (Photography Lesson)

It's aperture priority week in the Get Out of Auto Mode photography class I'm taking.  For my model, I'm using my Vintage Assem-dog.  He's an altered dog model (originally purchased on Dick Blick), which I created as part of an assemblage class I taught.  All photos are pretty much straight out of the camera (no brightening, sharpening, color enhancing, etc.), although I did crop them a bit.  The picture above was my favorite of the session, and I took it with my 50mm prime lens with the aperture set to 2.8.  This gave me enough blur in both the background and the dog to make an interesting shot.
I took two good photos at a higher f-stop and got crisper images, which I might use if I was trying to use the photo on an etsy page or as a clear illustration of the project.  The first one is at f5.6 and the second one is at f10:
The lowest fstop I can get with my 50 mm lens is 1.8, and I got this nice fade-away:
When I tried to get closer and still use a low fstop, the lowest I could get my f-stop down to was f5; I got this shot I liked:
One of the biggest things I learned was that, if I want to do this type of photography (not sure I do), the lens makes a huge difference!  My regular kit lens only goes down to f4.2 (focal length was 75), and here's the best shot I got with it:
I also played with the aperture setting using my telephoto lens. While I was able to get closer to the model, the lowest I could get my fstop and still focus was 5.3. The focal length was 160 (my telephoto goes to 200).  Here's my best shot:
I do like how the background went all dark!


Do you have any favorites of the photos above?  Are you a fan of fade-away, blurred art photos or do you prefer crisp all over?  I hope to do this exercise again taking photos of people  instead of my trusty assem-dog.  And I will probably use what I learned to photograph my other assemblage animals (one more dog and two cats).

12 comments:

debs14 said...

The first and the last are my favourites! You certainly are learning a lot from your classes. Looking forward to meeting the rest of your assemblage zoo!

helena said...

agree with you on loking the first best - I like blurred background when the image in the foreground is the focal point. For most shots of people I like to have some idea of what is in the background to add context

scrappyjacky said...

The first is my favourite....though all the aperture stuff is totally beyond me!!

Sian said...

Cute choice of subject Rinda. I am really enjoying seeing the results of your classes, and I'm learning from it too so please keep on showing us what you've been doing.

I like the first and last too.

Heather said...

I agree with Jacky - its all beyond me but I do like the first pic best :)

Amy said...

I like both blurred and crisp shots and really it depends on what the subject is or what the photographer is trying to convey. I think in this case I quite like the crisp shot as there is a lot of detail in your subject and I like to be able to see those details, for portrait shots I do prefer a shallower depth of field.

Cheri said...

I'm wanting to take photos of our Christmas ornament collection and I want the entire ornament in clear focus, but the background blurred, so this is quite a lesson for me. I like what you got with your kit lens (for my purposes anyway!). Now I need to go play!

Elizabeth said...

Oh, I love altered items, and your dog turned out great. Don't believe I've ever seen a dog aperture before.

Karen said...

The subject and the reason for the photo determine when I like a blurred background. For most of my flower images, I like a very blurred background, while for portraits I want to be sure the people are sharp so the amount of blur in the back is determined by how sharp I have the subjects. I have to admit a lot of my photos use a shallow depth of field. I think #1 is my favorite today, although I also like the black background in the last photo.

Lizzie said...

I like the blurred-out background of pictures 1 & 2. They bring your eye very firmly onto the subject. I also like the second-to-last shot.

Lauren said...

Cute dog work! :)

I took a photography class awhile ago and really enjoyed it. I have a 50mm prime but it does NOT auto focus and my vision is not that sharp... I even went to my eye doc about it. So I'm back to saving for the one that does!

Keep up the great work, if those are unedited, you're looking great!

Tammy Lee Bradley said...

I like the first and last. Hopped on over from "Get out of Auto Mode."