Depth of field and atmosphere in plant photography

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As a rule I use a diaphragm of f/16 when photographing plants, because it usually gives the best combination of sharpness and Depth of Field. After taking this picture of Euphorbia pseudoglobosa last Sunday, I wondered what the result would be if I used the lens’s full opening. The result is shown below. Both pictures have their merits, but to me the second one is more interesting as it imparts a brooding atmosphere and a feeling of loneliness. I would be interested to hear your opinion.

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2 thoughts on “Depth of field and atmosphere in plant photography”

  1. I like the second image with the smaller depth of field more.
    It concentrates your focus on the plant and not the surrounds.
    You must have some focussed surrounds to depict the general terrain where the plants grow.
    Be careful not to have a distraction like the blurred rock in front of the plant, the image would
    display better just a bit more to the right of the blur to get the plant in full focus .

  2. I prefer the first image; the subject is more situated; though it stands alone, it is less of a fragment in an abstract soup. As Ortega y Gasset said, “I am always myself and my situation.”

    The first image is all about relationships; it is more ecological, holistic: more like real life – we are always related in some way to something. Even when we are lonely, we are lonely somewhere. I think of Edward Hopper. He painted amazing images of loneliness and it was the context – the bedroom, the window, the diner – that gave each painting its character and strength.

    The second image isolates the subject to much; it exists in a vague and unremarkable void. It is suggestive of the ego, which is characterized by the inveterate tendency to fragment itself and the world, to see itself as separate.

    Many other interpretations may be equally valid . . . and interesting.

    Thanks for sharing this.

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