## Re: Technique for focusing "into your scene"

To maximize DOF in any LF image, I was taught as follows:

1. Visualize the end product (image) you are seeking
2. Choose a lens which provides an appropriate Angle of View
3. For typical landscape scenes, set camera base parallel to the ground (assuming it is flat or relatively so).
4. Set back perpendicular to base (90 degrees) so that WYSIWYG from a linear distortion perspective. So film is essentially parallel to trees and buildings (again assuming no slope in the scene).
5. Determine the most efficient plane of focus. Without movements, that is the same as the film plane. With front tilt that diagonal changes to maximize DOF in the entire scene.
6. Whatever the Plane Of Focus, you will have an area in front of and behind the point of focus 1/3, 2/3)
7. The DOF for subjects that are closer to the camera is much less than those in the distance, so critical focus should be on subjects closest to the camera first.
8. Do not use rear tilt unless you cannot maximize DOF by using front tilt. Rear tilt creates linear distortion in the image and though not necessarily discernable in the final image, it adds a new dimension of adjustment which may not be ideal.
9. If the subject closest to the camera rises above the lower half of the GG, front tilt becomes less useful.
10. To set tilt for the farthest subject (i.e. trees, buildings etc), intersect the most salient point just below its highest point. Adjust tilt (and swing) by stopping down the aperture while viewing the DOF under the dark cloth.
11. Use Front Rise to adjust for converging lines as necessary
12. Use Front Swing very sparingly and only if you are not compromising one part of the image to maximize DOF in another part.
13. Use an appropriate aperture (don't hesitate to us F64 if necessary).

Here is an image in which the front tilt was used to maximize DOF. Focused first on the foreground flowers, tilted to intersect just below the tops of the distant trees, stopped down to f16 gradually to see what was not in focus, adjusted tilt accordingly, stopped down to F45. 90MM Nikkor, Velvia 50.

There is an image by Jack Dykinga (no longer on his website but in one of his books), where he has created a hard core closeup (very close to the camera) of wild columbine flowers which filled the lower part of the image, and he tilted to include the distant mountain in focus. Even stopping down to F45 or beyond, and because critical focus and therefore very limited DOF was available for the high degree of magnification of the flowers, DOF was non-existent in flower stalks deep into the image, and he lost DOF on the lower valley below the mountain. My guess is that he used a 65mm or 75mm lens to create the image.

Another way to manage DOF in the image if you can't get it with movements, is to reduce the degree of foreground magnification by moving back, using wider angle lens etc, and cropping. Another option though not practical for LF is to use focusing stacking techniques.