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Thread: Best way to ensure appropriate DoF in interior shots?

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    Oregon now (formerly Austria)
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    2,751

    Re: Best way to ensure appropriate DoF in interior shots?

    I'm going to play the heretic here.

    I don't think that checking everything on the ground glass to ensure it is visibly sharp enough is always practical nor possible.

    Yes, in the best-case scenario, we'd be able to examine our perfectly-placed and finely-ground viewing screens at taking aperture and with a high-powered loupe that matched the magnification of the largest print we were ever going to make from the resulting exposure.

    That is simply not easy to do a lot of the time. Stopping down to f/32 in a dark slot canyon and then trying to wrestle a 10x loupe into a corner of the ground glass to see if the texture on that smooth sandstone wall is still sharp enough for a 16x20 enlargement from a 4x5 negative is an exercise in futility. The same for a dimly-lit interior that requires a lot of depth of field.

    I also routinely run into situations where dealing directly with image on the ground glass is less than comfortable. Imagine your camera perched on a cliff side; you've managed to prop up the tripod legs with rocks or whatever to get the optimum camera position, but where you have to stand allows no easy view to the whole ground glass; the camera is off to the side and a little too high for easy viewing and your footing on the loose rock on the slope is rather precarious. Am I going to stop down and check every object in the scene to see if it's sharp enough, or am I going to focus roughly near-far and use my table? That's a no-brainer.

    Or when it's raining and dark, and the wind is blowing and there's changing light and you have to hurry, etc., etc. In these and many other cases, I'm really happy I have my table of optimum f-stops for different focus spreads with me. I've used it for years and am confident that my near-far focus points will be rendered acceptably sharp in the final print. Things between the focus points are even better.

    Plus, using the near-far method doesn't mean you aren't positioning the plane of sharp focus precisely where you want it; careful selection of focus points ensures that the sharpest part of the image is where you want it to be.

    The more I photograph, the less time I spend mulling over the image on the ground glass. I spend much more time selecting camera position, imagining where I want to place the plane of sharp focus, choosing focus points and finding borders for the image I'm making. After that work is done in my head, it's a simple matter of setting up, choosing the lens in my kit that most optimally gets my imagined image on the film, applying movements if needed and focusing (near-far to my pre-determined points). Then, I'm done with the ground glass.

    Best,

    Doremus

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    2,031

    Re: Best way to ensure appropriate DoF in interior shots?

    This previous discussion might be a helpful example.

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ure-used/page2



    Bernice

  3. #23
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,736

    Re: Best way to ensure appropriate DoF in interior shots?

    All I am saying is to use as many tools and techniques you have to get the shot you want. In the end, we do what we can with what we have at the time Some compositions can only exist in our mind's eye.

    I missed that you were working in the field. Somehow I assumed you were shooting indoors where high intensity "modeling" lights could be used for composing and focusing.

    I myself am visually impaired and can't really appreciate the texture of sandstone anymore . . .but I remember it.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  4. #24
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
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    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico
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    9,799

    Re: Best way to ensure appropriate DoF in interior shots?

    "The more I photograph, the less time I spend mulling over the image on the ground glass. I spend much more time selecting camera position, imagining where I want to place the plane of sharp focus, choosing focus points and finding borders for the image I'm making. After that work is done in my head, it's a simple matter of setting up, choosing the lens in my kit that most optimally gets my imagined image on the film, applying movements if needed and focusing (near-far to my pre-determined points). Then, I'm done with the ground glass." Doremus

    Agreed
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 70:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    North Dakota
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    1,015

    Re: Best way to ensure appropriate DoF in interior shots?

    Photograph brightly lit, smaller rooms?
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  6. #26
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
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    14,872

    Re: Best way to ensure appropriate DoF in interior shots?

    Retire from it, and photograph what you like outdoors instead. But I tended to avoid interiors anyway, and tried to stick to architectural exteriors. The reason, besides taking advantage of natural lighting, was that I was often combining portfolio photography for architects and builders with color and technical consultation at the same time, and didn't want to cross paths with the interior decorating trade, who could be horribly catty back-stabbers complicating everything.

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