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Selective Focus & Extension Tubes

Lesson 2 from: FAST CLASS: Creating Painterly Photographs

Kathleen Clemons

Selective Focus & Extension Tubes

Lesson 2 from: FAST CLASS: Creating Painterly Photographs

Kathleen Clemons

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Lesson Info

2. Selective Focus & Extension Tubes

Lesson Info

Selective Focus & Extension Tubes

the lenses first. Selective focus. I'm on you to start with what you have. Don't go by 180 millimeter lens just because I use it. See what you could do with what you have. Uh, I wanted to be able to show you some selective focus with some of the lenses that I don't generally use. So I went out into my dahlia patch and shot this with my 72 40 millimeter at F four, which is something that I wouldn't use, but I've got some great sharp detail in the center fading off to more and more blur and a well blurred background. So it worked, tried it with the 24 70 same flower. And I kind of liked it, thinking I might be using that lends a little bit more for selective focus. I I thought it was beautiful, and I like how it handled it. I've shot it Selective focus with my 72 200 can't get really close. But that's from Ireland, Poppy against purple. And, uh, because it was a long lens, I got some great background blurs. Well, the other shot is ah, 50 millimeter shot. That shot is there because I had ...

a student once say, I can't do what you dio I don't have a lens, baby, I don't have 180 millimeter And I said, What do you have? And he said, I have a 50 millimeter. I'll get back to you But my 50 millimeter on went out in my backyard and there wasn't a whole lot blooming except some Queen Anne's lace. But the 50 millimeter you can shoot at 1.4. You just have to pay a lot more attention to your background because you can't get close. But you can still do selective focus. Uh, with that lens, So experiment to see what you have. See how close you can get, See what you can do with it. That's sad that you could use anything. Let's talk about my favorite lenses for selective focus. I do have some favorites. My straight lens favorite would be the 180 millimeter. I have both the Cannon and the Tamron. They're both really good lenses, and what I like is that working distance I don't have to get right up on top of my subjects or I can if I want to to fill the frame. This was a really large sunflower in my backyard. I grow what I want to shoot, by the way, Uh, and this is an especially a reason why I love the longer focal length of millimeter. Because if I had gotten really close to this guy, he'd be gone. Eso in a secret with Dragonflies is to move really slowly in a little bit of the time. And he hung around for quite a while. I actually shot him with three different lenses, kept running in the house and thinking he's not gonna be there. And he was when I came back. Same here. Long focal length. Get nice, blurred background and you don't scare away your critters. And there's that scene compression that 180 millimeter brings to May. The leaves in the background were a good distance away. I could pull them in together, add some interest to the background. Same with these. The two Rebecca. I love the look of the second Ruymbeke, a sort of echoing in the background. And the compression of that lens allowed me to bring that up close. Not in focus but have it filled the background as an echo and the background blur that it provides? The background here is just This was also at the Olsen house, where Andrew Wyeth painted that yellow is just sunlight on the grass in the morning. And, uh, I've I've shot the house a couple of times with my friends and eso. I brought props. It's time because I was afraid I'd get bored. Uh, I had this beautiful feather, and I just set it on a window sill and used my tripod for this one because I was shooting inside. It was one of my favorite photos from that year, and even a messy background will disappear with that long focal length. Which is great because Columbine don't always grow in really attractive areas, either. Very messy backgrounds, very busy. But I can make that disappear, and that would be a beautiful background space to add a texture to, because there's not a whole lot going on, so I can go with the 180 millimeter with this kind of a background to that shot. That's shot that just last week it's very easy to hide a messy background that long focal length of 180 millimeter allows me to do something called Shooting Through, which we're going to do a whole lesson on and video on later as well. There's also no light interference with a long lens. So there's space if I have to add a diffuser or reflect light. If I'm with 100 millimeter lens and I'm this far from McCalla and I need to reflect light, how am I gonna do it? Can't do it. The longer focal length allows me to do that, to diffuse or to bounce a little light, or to add a sorry diffuser to soften the light as well. And there's room to bounce light if I need it as well. With a reflector into this, this was a quite a dark dahlia. Uh, it was on an overcast day, so I needed the space to be ableto bounce the light in there or to allow the natural light to shine without interference. If I had gotten in close, I would have ruined the beautiful light, and it was the light that drew my eye was the light that I wanted to capture here. So this shot is from the guard shoot that we did at done gardens here in Seattle, and this was my favorite shot from the shoot. And let's show you the video I'm here. It done gardens in Seattle on a beautiful day. Got some really nice soft light in this area of the garden, and I want to talk to you about how I do selective focus or shallow depth of field. With my 180 millimeter. I've chosen this subject. It's some sort of a hydrangea that I've never seen before, and I'm attracted to it because of all the tiny blossoms in different stages there a lot of small ones, a lot of large ones surrounding a center area. Um, it's a beautiful, beautiful subject, and the hard part is gonna be deciding which flower that I want to shoot. I've chosen the 180 millimeter for this because I'm going to want the compression that that brings. I want some good background blur, and I only want a small amount and focus. So the three things that I'm thinking about when I'm shooting for selective focus, our how much I want to focus, where I'm going to place, the point of focus and the angle of view. So I have chosen this blossom right here. But as I'm looking at it now, the light has changed and there's some pretty bright light on it. It might not look like really harsh light, but those whites are probably going to blow out. So I'm going to move over to another blossom, which is similar in angle, and the foliage is a little close behind it. So I'm gonna see if I can blur that. I'm gonna try shooting at F 3.5 to start. So let me see what I can dio and I'm shooting on aperture priority, which I generally do for selective focus because it's the aperture. That's my main consideration. And I'm shooting on manual focus, which I encourage you to do for selective focus. Okay, I've got some really beautiful background blur with that. I'm also going to try it at a different angle. I'm going to shoot a little bit lower. Yeah, and I'll try a slightly different angle. And some of you have noticed, probably that I'm not using a tripod. Um, I rarely do for a flower photography, have a pretty steady hand as I get older. I know that will probably change probably soon. Uh and then I will definitely be using a tripod. But for now, it works for me. If you are not steady, don't mess around. Use your tripod. You need a really steady hand or to be on a tripod for selective focus. We had a wonderful time at done Gardens. We spent a whole morning there. Uh, if you are in the Seattle area, you might want to make an appointment to have a tour. Can't just go and visit on your own, but it's it's spectacular. Um, it's a very Zen feeling to the place in. They're just beautiful plants, very well taken care of. And, uh, do a lot of weddings. I want to get married. It's a beautiful spot, but way loved it and you'll see all of our videos were shot there. You saw me take three other shots there, and here are three more. So it was a beautiful subject. I just varied where I wanted the area and focus and slightly different angles. Kathleen, I have ah question for you. And as you were sort of going through and talking about all the different lens choices as well. And you just explained here that you took these three different shots. When you're out there in the field, are you generally switching between different lenses, trying all sorts of things until you like, know that you got it, or and in terms of, like, the different focal combination with different apertures? Are you out there kind of trying all those different combinations? Not as much now is when I was a little bit younger, less experienced. Um, the 180 millimeter now is so intuitive for me that I know how close I need to be. I know what the aperture is going to look at look like. That said, there'll be some subjects that I wanted that air so fabulous. If we'd been there longer, I would have shot that with my lens baby with the velvet with I would have done a lot of different things with it, Um, but that that comes with experience getting to know your equipment. And I have a botanical garden about an hour from my house, and I go try and go at least twice a month. And there's one area that I usually start at, and they're these winding paths and amazing flowers. And I'll go through with my 1 80 turn around, put the lens baby on and go back through more often than not when I get home, it's the lens baby stuff that I like best. And I'm like, Why did you do that? But, um, you know im and for things like shooting through, I can't You can't use the lens, baby. So different techniques and some of the flowers aren't close. So then I would need a longer focal length. Eso it varies, But generally at this point I can look at my subject and and know the aperture that I want and visualized the lens that I want. But that doesn't mean I don't shoot with both, sometimes, too. Thank you sure. And here again, there was the finished shot that I showed you that was my favorite from the shoot, just a very small amount and focus, and that's all I wanted in the background. Blur worked really well, so I was like, Here's the answer to your question. Get to know your gear, find out how close you can get if you don't know the minimum focus distance of all of your lenses, you need thio. Uh, it's either in your manual if you don't have your google. It, uh, it comes with the lens. You need to know just how close you can get. So if you have a lens that doesn't allow you to get close, like the 50 millimeter that I talked about, think about a set of extension tubes. I'll show you mine minor by Kenko, and it's a set of three, and they are just hollow glass ring. The hollow glass lists rings, no glass involved. There's Ah, skinny one medium one and a long 1 12 millimeter, 20 millimeter and 36 millimeter, and you can use them individually or you can combine them, so that gives you seven different options to get close, which is really nice instead of buying a macro lens to try using extension tubes. So with my 50 millimeter and no extension tubes, I shot this poppy at F eight, and then I put all three tubes on when I got that so you can do a very painterly soft look with a 50 millimeter lens. Don't have thio. You don't have to buy new equipment. I want you to try what you have. And extension tubes are a nice and expensive choice. Thes air. Also with the 50 millimeter and my extension tubes. This is Lupin in my yard. The first shot on the left is without tubes. And then I put the small tomb on and then the second and then the third. I didn't do all three because depth of field would have been so, so slim. You really wouldn't have even seen the shape. But notice how much? Two things. I want you to notice how much closer I'm able to get each time and also look at the loss of depth of field. I shot them all at the same amateur, but I would definitely be having to stop down with the three tubes. Um makes focusing a little bit different and a little bit harder because of that reduction in depth of field. Sometimes if I have a tube on, um, I will pre focus and then just move myself to find that area and focus here again. Here's that 50 millimeter lens at 1. with the medium sized 20 millimeter tube Um and I I just shot this for this presentation, and I really liked it. So I think I'm going to be using my 50 millimeter and tubes a little bit more. It's not anything I usually keep in my bag for flowers, but I like to get away with seeing just how very little I can have and focus, and that worked for me.

Ratings and Reviews

Krystyna
 

I really liked it, it was inspiring and clear. I need more courses like this...

Phillip Ziegler
 

Wonderful teacher and a well presented course--both this short version and the long one

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