February Challenge: Focus… Entry #2 Goebel Porcelain Bird

Our next entry comes from Liz…

“Years ago I worked part-time at the Serendipity Shop in Dallas. Quite an upscale shop of beautiful things. It’s been out of business for a long time. I bought a few things there, of much lesser dollar value, than many items there. The bird is one and it was before East Germany was part of a whole Germany.

I guess I need to take it outside to get a good photo of it! I had difficulty getting decent shots of it. Maybe it’s the 50mm prime?

Anyway, I shot one to get a full range of focus but still not all of the bird (the base of it) was in focus. Hope we can talk about that in an upcoming meeting.”

Not Sharp Enough f/5.6, 1/20 sec, ISO 800, -1 exposure compensation (Photo by Liz)

Not Sharp Enough
f/5.6, 1/20 sec, ISO 800, -1 exposure compensation
(Photo by Liz)


Sharpest f/ll, 1/15 sec, ISO 2500, -1 exposure compensation (Photo by Liz)

Sharpest
f/ll, 1/15 sec, ISO 2500, -1 exposure compensation
(Photo by Liz)

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5 thoughts on “February Challenge: Focus… Entry #2 Goebel Porcelain Bird

  1. Liz… I thank you for submitting these images and I will do my best to ascertain the focus issues and would appreciate any other comments as well. This is definitely how we learn. I love that you have shot these two side by side for comparison!

    It is so helpful when we have the photo settings which are imbedded in the digital photos. (For those who don’t know, just right click on your photo and go to properties and then details for the camera settings.)

    The first has an f/stop of 5.6 which means the aperture is more wide open and will result in a lesser depth of field (as in, not as much in focus) and you have certainly corrected that in the second image with an f/stop of 11.

    You are underexposed by one stop in both photos and am not sure why if you were having issues with inadequate light in the room. You have chosen to increase your ISO to make the camera more sensitive to the light. By so doing, I think that the sharpest bird is truly in focus but because of the ISO increase to 2500, you are blowing out/overexposing the lower branch as you have lost the detail of the brown in the branch in comparison to the out of focus shot. Bring down your exposure or highlight in LR and I bet it will come in excellent focus.

    Your 50mm prime lens should give excellent focus. Prime lenses tend to be sharper than zoom lenses. I do believe you have a recent award winning photo using that lens and hope you will share that with us!

    If you are hand-holding the lens, the general rule of thumb is to have your shutter speed no less than 1/the focal length of the lens. So, in that case, if you are shooting with a 50mm lens, you should not go less than 1/50 sec to avoid lens shake and you are below that at 1/15 and 1/20 sec. That makes no difference if you are using a tripod. Also, some people are steadier than others in hand-holding.

    So I think these are excellent examples of what we deal with when getting our photos in focus. I will be showing a photo later on that I took that was overexposed and I nearly deleted it because I thought it was out of focus when indeed it was simply the incorrect exposure making it look that way. With a couple sliders, it was fixed!

  2. Is there a “rule of focus” that certifies a particular photo as being acceptably in focus? What do contest judges go by? I’ve seen quite a range of apparently acceptably focused images. You’ve heard of beauty being in the eye of the beholder, it seems focus is that way at times.

    Elizabeth, would you be willing to re-shoot this to Fay’s recommendations so that we can see the results? Fay, is it possible to add on any submitted alterations for comparison?

    • I think focus choice is totally in the eye of the photographer and, to my mind, that is part of the art of photography. The purpose of this challenge is simply to better understand focus and to understand how to achieve it as opposed to letting the camera make the decisions. And of course it is possible to add on alterations. This is all about learning and exchange of ideas. We have never gotten into the nuts and bolts of photography until this year and I am hoping it will open conversations such as this!

      • BTW… I would be interested in seeing the second image with a little decreased exposure or using a brush to decrease exposure in the branch itself to see if it will bring out more detail/sharpness.

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