f11 and Be There

I wanted to expand on some of the things I mentioned in my blog Commitment. There’s a famous photojournalist idiom f8 and be there (generally attributed to Arthur Fellig). The landscape photographers version is usually altered to f11 and be there for a bit more depth of field. The implication being that if you don’t get out into the field and shoot with your camera you won’t get anything. The f11 part refers to the aperture setting on the lense. One doesn’t necessarily need to go a long distance to get a good photograph though. I have some interesting, artistic, images that I shot right outside my home.  With last summer’s ridiculously high fuel prices I often stayed much closer to home to conserve fuel, and money, and to get more shooting time. Both the images below were shot right outside my house in beautiful Spring, sunset, light.

Local Provincial Parks can also yield some beautiful images without  the requirement of long travel times. I am lucky to live in an area with three Provincial Parks within a half hour’s drive of my home. There’s no doubt that my heart lies with the grand mountain landscapes but there are some amazing sites everywhere in nature if one opens their eyes, slows down to nature’s pace, and observes. I vary quite a bit from the f11 adage but I try to get the be there part of it right as often as possible. Using different apertures allows me to vary the depth of field to determine what is in, and out, of focus. The following images where shot in Big Hill Springs Provincial Park a twenty minute drive from my place. 

The images above were shot at a fairly small aperture for different reasons. The first one of the main falls was shot at f20, not to gain increased depth of field, but to restrict the amount of light available allowing me to use a longer shutter speed to blur the water. The second was shot at f16 to get increased depth of field so that everything in the image was in focus. Naturally there’s a trade off for using a smaller aperture. The smaller aperture leads to increased diffraction which gives you an image that is not as sharp as you would get at a larger aperture. I want to avoid too much technical discussion here so we’ll leave it at that for now. This just a small example of the knowledge required to get good photographs. I’ll leave you with some images from Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park that’s 5 minutes away from my house. These were shot at a very wide aperture to give the image a more artistic feel .

Both the images above were shot at an aperture of f1.4 which is considered a wide aperture.  You can see that there is less in focus in these images. The resulting image leaves more to the viewers imagination. For instance on the Autumn Paths image it leaves the viewer wondering what’s down that path? The long and short of it is you don’t need to travel extensively to get some interesting artistic shots.