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Thread: Depth of Field on Windy Day

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    49

    Depth of Field on Windy Day

    I am still earning my LF wings and have been struggling with the trade-off between depth of field and shutter speed. I shoot HP5+ in 4x5 with a Nagaoka field camera.

    I hike every weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park, so I take a lot of my photos there. I like shooting trees and even a mildly windy day makes things challenging for me.

    So, what is your technique? Pushing two or three stops? I am all ears (eyes, actually) so please let me know what I should be doing - other than waiting for a calm day (they are few).

    Thanks,
    Jim


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  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Posts
    49

    Depth of Field on Windy Days

    I am still earning my LF wings and have been struggling with the trade-off between depth of field and shutter speed. I shoot HP5+ in 4x5 with a Nagaoka field camera.



    I hike every weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park, so I take a lot of my photos there. I like shooting trees and even a mildly windy day makes things challenging for me.



    So, what is your technique? Pushing two or three stops? I am all ears (eyes, actually) so please let me know what I should be doing - other than waiting for a calm day (they are few).



    Thanks,

    Jim





    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  3. #3

    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    262

    Re: Depth of Field on Windy Days

    If you can compose so that the critical part of your subject forms a single plane, you can use movements or camera position to keep the depth of field requirements to a minimum. Typically photograph trees but keep the foreground to a minimum so you only need to deal with a vertical plane, and not vertical and horizontal. But if you cannot get the shutter speed you need with the lens wide-open - make motion the subject, or concentrate on something that does not move.

  4. #4
    Andy Eads
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Pasco, Washington - the dry side of the state
    Posts
    210

    Re: Depth of Field on Windy Days

    Jim,
    Optical effect vs Temporal effect. Consider that using long exposure times can create interesting blur effects in the things that are moving. Turn the balance the other way, you can create interesting effects with very shallow depth of field. I'd experiment trying to make the most of what mother nature is serving up at the moment. With practice, the story telling power of your photos will far exceed the static postcard. I would avoid "pushing" film; for me it has had deleterious unintended consequences. Andy

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    St. Simons Island, Georgia
    Posts
    494

    Re: Depth of Field on Windy Days

    I just put the word "wind" in the photo's title.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    grand rapids
    Posts
    3,836

    Re: Depth of Field on Windy Days

    what he said or find the nearest watering hole and have a cold one or two til the wind dies down. That's what I do. Otherwise, I'll shoot medium format when it's nasty out.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    10,602

    Re: Depth of Field on Windy Days

    Around here the wind never seems to stop except between Nov and Jan, though not this year! The heavier the tripod, the better, preferably a wooden one. Throw away a ballhead if you have one. Otherwise, HP5 should make it easy. It's all in the timing. You just have to learn through experience the difference between a gust
    and a steady wind push, and how to catch that mere second or so when it stops. Name of the game. No need to underexpose and "push" film and waste the whole tonality that large format gives. If anything, you should rate HP5 a tad slower. So if you don't like the answer of "waiting", guess my own experience of it working day-in/day-out for decades now won't help you much. Large format isn't for snapshooting.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    North Dakota
    Posts
    522

    Re: Depth of Field on Windy Day

    Depth of field does not depend on wind.
    If you want no motion on leaves and things that move in the wind that is a different ballgame.
    Shoot higher speed film with a faster shutter speed, one or both.

    On the other hand there is nothing wrong with motion in blowing grass, leaves and whatnot at times.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    60

    Re: Depth of Field on Windy Day

    Stopping the motion of leaves in the wind AND getting good DOF is always a trade-off, as you have discovered. I don't think that there really is any magic solution. One thing that you did not mention is increasing DOF with movements rather than only aperture. This won't work for everything, btw. I usually just try to avoid windy days unless the wind is gusty. Set up as if there were no gusts and wait for a break in the wind. Bring a chair and something to read.

  10. #10

    Re: Depth of Field on Windy Day

    I guess there are three major problems with wind in your situation:
    1) moving leaves (as willie has touched on), and
    2) moving camera.
    3) both 1) and 2).

    If understand correctly you want a large depth of field (i.e., small aperture) which pushes your shutter speed to dangerous speeds for either 1) or 2).

    1) Can you not tilt to achieve your depth of field, or do you have a lot of near, far, and middle subjects requiring tilt and small aperture?

    1) a wide lens may help with depth of field depending on your composition and proximity to your near subjects.

    2) patience until wind dies down just long enough to grab your shot.

    I'm typically shooting at high altitude with a lot of exposure and most of the time . . .wind. Stand between your camera and the wind to block it as much as possible. Extra bodies help if you have them. Getting low helps a lot too. I wait while checking the level bubble on the top of my wista 45sp (a pretty good indicator of camera shake). When the bubble stops moving, and I sense I have a enough time before the wind comes back, I open my shutter. I get away with robbery using a flimsy dolica proline, even with a 250 mm of extension shooting up to 1 sec (but I usually try to keep it below 1/30 in those situations).

    Patrick

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