# Depth of Field for Beginners

Ahh depth of field… aka DOF. This term strikes fear into the hearts of young aspiring photographers everywhere, both film and digital. They know it deals with optics and math - two things that most creative people are not really into. My first instinct is to say that depth of field is not that complicated… but then again I had to take an optics class in college which made me want to stab my eyes out with metal darkroom tongs… and then pour stop bath in them. I believe this class had a very deceptive name, along the lines of “Principles of Photography” or something like that. It was, in fact, all math. Ewww.

But as usual I digress, so let us get back to the task at hand - which is understanding the glorious principles of depth of field and how they apply to your film photography. Let me just say right now that I am about to do a basic overview “for dummies” style, so please do not write to me claiming that I did not explain such and such complicated principle. You can grab a copy of Ansel Adams’ “The Camera” for that. Here we go:

In über-simple laymen’s terms, depth of field refers to the part of your photograph that is in focus. If all or most of your photograph is in focus, you have a deep depth of field (also called deep focus.) If only a part of your photograph is in focus, you have a shallow depth of field (also called shallow focus and selective focus.) And that’s what depth of field is. Seriously.

The tricky part is figuring out how your aperture relates to your depth of field, and your beloved (or hated) exposure triangle. What is an exposure triangle, you say? You best be reading my Exposure 101, I answer. Several factors affect depth of field, including your distance to your subject, the focal length of your lens, your selected aperture (f-stop) and the format you are shooting. This means that a photo taken with a 50mm lens at f/1.8 from the same distance will not have the same depth of field when taken with a 35mm camera and 4x5 field camera.

A general rule to guide you: the smaller the f/stop number (so the larger the opening), the shallower the depth of field. F/1.2 has a shallower depth of field than f/1.8, which has a shallower depth of field than f/2.8 and so on. F/5.6 and F/8 tend to give medium focus, depending on your distance from the subject (and the format you shoot, of course.) If this confuses you, have a look at What is aperture/f-stop?.

Side-by-side examples:

{Selective Focus: F/2.8 - This is pretty shallow, but not to the point where it creates a complete bokeh effect and the background is indistinguishable. Both of these were shot at F/2.8 with a 50mm lens in 35mm.}

{Deep Focus: F/16. -These two, on the other hand, have deep focus - meaning that the foreground and background are in focus. Both were shot at F/16, but the left image is medium format and the right is 35mm.}

{Shallow and medium side-by-side: The background in the left shot is completely blurry with zero detail. It was shot at f/1.8, approximately 12 feet from the subject with an 80mm portrait lens on 35mm film. The right shot has a blurry background, but you can still tell what it is. It was shot at f/8, approximately three feet from the subject with a 50mm lens on medium format film.}

F/32 is most commonly the highest number on lenses that don’t cost a bajillion dollars, but you can definitely come across field cameras with an f/64. In fact, in the early 1930s, a bunch of photographers (including Ansel Adams) got together to form Group F/64. Their principal belief was that photographs should be  perfectly exposed, profoundly sharp and completely in focus (in contrast to the Pictorialist era, for the History of Photo buffs.) An aperture of f/64 was the best way to achieve this, as far as they were concerned.

Some of you may be saying, “Hey, but f/32 really doesn’t let a lot of light in….” No, it doesn’t. This is where mastering your exposure knowledge truly helps you create the photograph you want. If you absolutely have to shoot 100 ISO and need a very deep DOF, you’ll have to lower your shutter speed. If you want to use a specific shutter speed at f/32, you’ll have to pick a film with a high enough ISO.  For those who shoot digital, this doesn’t prove as much of a constraint, considering you can change the ISO. For my beloved kittens who shoot film, your ISO is your ISO and you can’t change it. Even if you decide to push or pull to fit the situation, you still have to shoot at that ISO for the entire roll. For more on that, please check out  What is ISO? in the Beginner’s Guide to Film Photography.

All of this information can seem confusing, but your lens actually tells you the depth of field if you really look at it:

See how it’s on F/2.8? And there’s a little white diamond on the middle ring? And more numbers on the third ring? Voila your DOF indicators. We can understand that the manufacturer says that this lens at F/2.8 has a DOF range of 1.5 to 2 meters, or 5 to 7 feet. Meaning that anything in between that range will be in focus. The manufacterer is most often, but not always, right. (Side Note: Mastery of using these numbers to focus without looking is known as “Zone Focusing” in fancy photographer talk.)

Many SLR film cameras have a depth of field preview button; it’s usually located on the front near the button to release the lens or the self-timer. When you hold the depth of field preview button and look through the viewfinder, you’ll notice it is significantly darker but accurately displays your complete depth of field. For a great explanation of this button, check out Ken Rockwell’s The Depth of Field Preview Button.

Let’s sum up the major points:

• Depth of field refers to the areas of the photograph in focus.
• Small f-stop numbers produce shallow depth of field, or selective focus. This is when the background is blurry. Great for portraits.
• Medium f-stop numbers produce a medium depth of field, still with selective focus, but with significantly more definition in the out-of-focus areas. Good for portraits and specific landscapes.
• Large f-stop numbers produce a deep depth of field, meaning the foreground and background are in focus. Ideal for landscapes.

If you want to get more in depth on depth of field (sorry, couldn’t resist), I highly recommend Understanding Depth of Field in Photography from Cambridge in Color. They’ve got loads of fancy diagrams to confuse you ;)

# I Still Shoot Film’s Guide to Buying Used and Vintage Film Cameras

So, you want to buy a film camera… you may think that they are no longer manufactured, but you would be mistaken. Fuji, Leica and Hasselblad are just a few of the companies that still manufacture film cameras - even if the latter may cost you your first born child after refinancing your house. Now is the perfect time to snag up as many film cameras as possible, while people are upgrading to digital and 35mm isn’t old enough to be considered “antique.” You would be surprised how often you can find great film cameras for a couple of dollars… I believe I paid \$2.50 for my Moskva 5 and it’s one of the cameras I use the most. Purchasing used and vintage film cameras may seem intimidating if you are not familiar with them, but it’s actually easier than you think. First you have to remember: if you don’t buy the camera from a dealer or shop, there’s always a risk of something being wrong with it, even if it looks perfect. That’s a chance you’ll have to be willing to take. But let’s consider these important points:

First, ALWAYS stop at thrift stores. No matter where you are. I have found cameras in the following extremely obscure places: Cape Cod, MA, Owensboro, KY, Carthage MI, Culpeper VA and even the Jersey Shore. I have also found cameras in bustling tourist markets in Paris, New York, Barcelona, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh. Whether or not a place seems like it would have vintage cameras is irrelevant; always keep your eyes open.

If a camera is less than 5 bucks and it’s not in shit condition, buy it. Who are you kidding? You know you want to, so why bother playing this game with yourself. You can always take it apart and use the pieces for a super cool camera hack.

If you go camera shopping at flea markets, GET THERE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. Seriously, I am that person who shows up at 7:00 am, buys every camera for sale and leaves before anyone ever even knew there were vintage cameras available. I have gotten TONS of super fabulous cheap cameras like this, including my Kodak Retinette, Dacora-Matic and Zenit-E.

When you are considering buying a camera, start by looking at the body. Normal wear and tear is no biggie but these are the things you should look for in a working camera:

• a back that fully opens and closes
• shutter pops at all speeds (open up the body and watch the shutter pop to make sure, I usually pop the shutter at least 10 times to verify it’s working properly)
• you can easily slide the aperture ring
• you can easily adjust the shutter speed without the dial getting stuck

On top of these, it is also important that:

• the interior of the body has no mold or fungus
• the lens is free of mold and fungus (very small spots on the lens are okay - they’ll give your photos a vintage touch, but if you look through the lens and it’s cloudy, blotchy or you can clearly see foreign matter, it’s a no-go.)

On another note, beware of people selling their cameras for over \$50, and even at \$50 it should be a kit with multiple lenses or extra accessories. If someone tells you their camera is worth x amount and they’re not willing to bargain, walk away. I’ve seen my beloved FM2 for sale for under a hundred bucks and it makes me sad, but film cameras are not worth what they used to be. *Obviously, this does not apply if you come across a magical suitcase of medium format Mamiyas or something glorious like that.*

These are the main things that I have looked for and it hasn’t failed me yet. You can also get great deals by buying a body with a damaged lens and then a damaged body with a clean lens and swapping the two (obviously they need to be the same model, but it’s easier to find than you think; I once saw 5 Canonets in the same flea market).

That being said, I now release you into the wild to buy your own vintage cameras. Feel free to submit any babies you find :)

# Alternative Process: Intro to Lith Printing

Guest post written by Dave Kirby. A 28-year-old photographer from Preston, England, Dave has been photographing for two years using only film. His favorite things are developing and printing in the darkroom, and he loves shooting 6x6. Check out more of his work on his blog and Flickr stream, or follow him on Twitter.

*Disclaimer: This tutorial on lith printing covers the basics, but also assumes the reader has a minimum knowledge of darkroom printing. For some background info and help getting started in the darkroom, check out the Beginner’s Guide to Film Photography.

The Basics: What Is Lith Printing?

Lith printing is a process using traditional black and white photo paper combined with “lithographic” developer. This process results in very high contrast, black shadows, delicate highlights and coloured mid-tones. Lith prints tend to have a very gritty/grainy look in the lower mid-tones and shadows.

Lith printing can breathe a whole new life into an everyday image; I have a few shots which looked dull and boring with traditional printing, but that I really love when lithed.  Colour is a natural by-product of the lith process.  Different papers combined with different ratios of developer at different temperatures yield different colours.  There is an almost endless combination of variables in the lith process that can produce different colours and textures.  (This can be extended even further by toning the prints.)

When I first started looking into making lith prints I did a lot of research online, and noticed the two same names popping up over and over again - Wolfgang Moersch and Tim Rudman.  Both of these men are (current) pioneers of lith printing - trying out every kind of paper and developer at every temperature and dilution to see how each print reacts to different toners. Tim Rudman’s book, ‘The Master Photographer’s Lith Printing Course’ provides a vast wealth of information and is a great place to get started if you are serious about lith printing.  Wolfgang Moersch also provides some extensive articles about various lith procedures, including an area to purchase his own personal blends of lith chemicals and toners.

Equipment Needed:

Besides standard darkroom materials,  you’ll need lith developer and compatible paper. There are a variety of developers available; as already mentioned, Wolfgang Moersch makes and sells his own, but Rollei and Fotospeed also make them.  Personally I use Fotospeed LD-20.

Papers are a bit trickier, as some papers work well with the lith process and others don’t.  Foma is the primary brand still producing “lithable” photo papers which are available today. As a general rule of thumb, grade 3 papers and papers with a higher-than-average silver content work well with the lith process.

Some example brands of papers that work well:

• Fomatone (particularly 131)
• Fomabrom (gives a “grittier” feel to the print)
• Ilford Art 300
• Agfa MCC 118
• Fomaspeed N 313

The Process: Exposure & Development

Keep in mind: the two “Golden Rules” of lith printing (as stated by Tim Rudman) are as follows:

First, highlights are controlled by exposure, shadows are controlled by development.
Second,  colour, texture and contrast are related to grain size in the emulsion - which is related to development.

On to the process:

1. Mix your developer.  Everyone has a different ratio they like to use, but your best bet is to start at 1:9.  Developer comes in two parts: A and B. Mix a ratio of 1:9 of A and 1:9 of B with water. You can vary the ratio to make the solution stronger or weaker, which will affect print colour.
2. Pour the mixed solution into the developing tray. Keep the temperature at 20 degrees Celcius. (Higher temperatures speed up the developing process, but this requires a bit of experience.)
3. Set up the rest of your paper chemistry as usual.
4. Expose your paper in the enlarger. Test strips are a good idea, as lith print exposures can require up to several minutes. Pick the exposure from the test strip that has the highlight detail desired. Exposure note:the more you overexpose a lith print, the lesser the contrast and the higher the highlight detail. Most lithable papers allow up to 5 stops of overexposure.
5. Place your paper in the developer. Lith printing differs from standard printing in that your image appears over a very slow period of time through a process called ”infectious development.”  The blackest points of the print appear first and will gradually get darker and darker. Second, the midtones will start to appear and get darker, followed finally by the highlights. Once the shadows hit black, development increases rapidly.
6.  Pull your paper out of the developer when the shadows reach your desired black and put in the stop bath. Note: There is no set amount of time for this - it depends on your developer strength, developer exhaustion and the paper.  For example, my Fomaspeed N 313 takes about 8 minutes of developing before I get the print I want whereas my Agfa MCC 118 takes over an hour.
7. Continue the fix and washing process as usual.

Let’s take a look at a print example to explain.  This was made using Fomaspeed N 313:

The shadow on the left arm of the chair is totally blacked out with not much highlight detail in the snow at the bottom.  Before the arm of the chair got this dark, there was lovely detail there but I delayed - clearly I kept the print too long in the developer.  In order to get more detail in the highlights and midtones while retaining detail in the arm of the chair I would have to overexpose the paper more, such as 4 or 5 stops as opposed to the 2.5 stops used here.  (Note: When over-exposing your paper it is best to extend your exposure time rather than alter the f-stop on your lens to maintain image sharpness.)  Tim Rudman’s book is invaluable for this as he provides examples of how one print looks as exposure and development time are increased.

As mentioned earlier, different papers yield different colours - yellows, golds, browns, purples, blues etc (remember golden rule 2 - colour, texture and contrast are related to development).

Lith prints react very well to toners.  For example, Selenium toner can give everything from golds and browns to blues and purples (depending on paper.)  Gold toner turns prints a very soft blue. As a test, select a print you don’t love, drop it into the toner and leave it there for an hour or so. Watch how the print changes colour over time and  make a note for future reference.

Hopefully this article has inspired you to makeyour own lith prints.  Looking around on sites like Flickr really helps you find new things to try with lith.  I haven’t looked back since starting - I absolutely love it and I’m sure you will too.

# Beginners Guide to Exo

I mean no offence by this guide. Only meant for fun. Enjoy~

# A beginner's guide to Doctor Who.

Ok so i’ve seen people try and do the links and they have the right idea, but the method is a little wrong. So here’s the Tumblr version on how to add a link to your pictures of yourself, on your tumblr page for all to see. With pics:

1. Go to your dash stream, and head over to the righ of the page, where you’ll see this selection (obviously yours won’t say Jons Playlist, thats my tumble name). Press “Customise appearance”

2. Press the “Info” tab in the top left of the new screen. You can now start editing and putting in HTML into the “Description” field.

3. The code you need to have a link to your specifically tagged section is as follows:

<a href=”/tagged/me/”>PHOTOS OF ME</a href>

stick that in the description field, at the bottom of all the text, and save and close, and you’re done!

The a href HTML tag is the coding used to create hyperlinks, clickable words that direct to another page. where it says “PHOTOS OF ME” above, you can replace that with whatever you want. You can also change the “/me” part to any other tagline. So say if you have a load of pictures of your cat which all share the same tag of “/cat”, stick that in, and the link will direct to there.

It is also worth mentioning where alot of people are going wrong on the URL inputting. You only need to have “/tagged/” and beyond in the coding, NOT http://www.yourtumblrname.tumblr.com/tagged/. If you put that in, it would redirect the page to something like: http://www.yourtumblrname.com/http://www.yourtumblrname.tumblr.com/tagged/

annoying i know.

so when adding links on tumblr, just copy the URL from the backslash after the .com of tumblr, and it should always work

# Beginners guide to Taeyang;

1. He’ll always sport a mohawk
2. He’ll always be lost/forgotten in the desert
3. He never gets the girl
4. He loves spinning and twirling

Note; I love Taeyang and in no way am I trying to be mean.

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