Focus and the landscape capture

  1. Use a tripod: A tripod will help you keep your camera steady while you take the shot. This is especially important when using a smaller aperture or longer shutter speed, as even the slightest movement can cause blur.
  2. Use a remote shutter release: This will help you eliminate any camera shake that may occur when pressing the shutter button.
  3. Choose the right aperture: A smaller aperture (f/11 or f/16) will result in a deeper depth of field, which means that more of your scene will be in focus. However, keep in mind that using a smaller aperture can result in a slower shutter speed, so you may need to use a tripod or increase your ISO to avoid camera shake.
  4. Focus stacking: This technique involves taking multiple photos of the same scene at different focus points, and then combining them in post-processing to create a final image with everything in focus. This can be especially useful when dealing with scenes that have a very deep depth of field.
  5. Use live view: Live view is a feature on many cameras that allows you to preview your shot on the camera’s LCD screen. This can be helpful when trying to focus on specific points in the scene, as you can zoom in on the screen to get a better view of the focus.
  6. Hyperfocal distance: This is the point of focus that will result in the maximum depth of field for a given aperture and focal length. You can calculate the hyperfocal distance for your camera and lens using online calculators or smartphone apps.

Hyperfocal distance

Hyperfocal distance is a concept in photography that refers to the closest distance at which a lens can be focused while still keeping objects at infinity in acceptable focus. In landscape photography, understanding and using the hyperfocal distance can help you maximize the depth of field in your shots and ensure that both near and far objects are in focus.

To understand how to use hyperfocal distance in landscape photography, you first need to understand the relationship between aperture, focal length, and focus distance. The aperture controls the amount of light that enters the lens, while the focal length determines the angle of view and the magnification of the image. The focus distance refers to the distance between the lens and the subject that is in focus.

When you focus on a subject that is at the hyperfocal distance, everything from half that distance to infinity will be in acceptable focus. For example, if you focus your lens on a subject that is 10 feet away and the hyperfocal distance for that lens and aperture is 8 feet, everything from 4 feet to infinity will be in focus.

35mm full frame cameras (example)
12mm 18mm24mm35mm55mm

To use hyperfocal distance in your landscape photography, you’ll need to calculate the hyperfocal distance for your camera and lens using an online calculator or smartphone app. Simply enter the focal length, aperture, and circle of confusion for your lens, and the calculator will give you the hyperfocal distance. Then, you can set your focus distance to the hyperfocal distance and take your shot.

It’s important to keep in mind that the hyperfocal distance is only an approximation, and the actual depth of field will depend on the quality of the lens and the amount of detail in the scene. However, understanding and using the hyperfocal distance can be a helpful tool in getting everything in focus in your landscape photos.

An argument against hyperfocal distance

If your focus point is even slightly off, you may lose the focus of your most distant objects in your scene. I have heard that instead of worrying about the math, focus on the most distant object and know anything closer than a certain measure (depending on your lens) will be out of focus – usually in the range of a few feet or so.

Popular Canon landscape lenses

  1. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM: This wide-angle zoom lens is a great choice for capturing expansive landscapes. It has a fast and accurate autofocus system, image stabilization, and a constant f/4 aperture.
  2. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM: This versatile standard zoom lens is a popular choice for landscape photographers who want the flexibility to zoom in or out on a scene. It has a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, which is great for low light conditions.
  3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM: This telephoto zoom lens is a great choice for capturing more intimate landscapes, such as mountain ranges or forests. It has image stabilization, a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, and a fast and accurate autofocus system.
  4. Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM: This ultra-wide-angle lens is a specialty lens designed specifically for landscape photography. It has a fast autofocus system, a constant f/4 aperture, and a super-wide 11mm focal length, making it ideal for capturing panoramic landscapes.

I just purchased a Canon 10-18 ƒ/4.5-5.6. Not a very bright lens, but for longer exposures I plan on a tripod anyway. Not much of a zoom either, so I will need to move my feet more. I can accept that until I find my skills improve enough to warrant some better glass.

It wasn’t very expensive and I may rent two from the above list for a week to see how they fare – much more expensive:

  1. Canon 24-70 ƒ/2.8
  2. Canon 70-200 ƒ/2.8

Spots around Medfield, MA

I live within driving distance of Medfield – and there are some interesting spots around there. It’s not New Hampshire or the seashore, but there are some decent locations.

  1. The Shaw Farm: This working farm is a beautiful spot for landscape photography, with rolling hills, fields of crops, and rustic barns and outbuildings.
  2. Upton State Forest: This state forest is located a few miles from Medfield and offers a variety of scenic landscapes, including forests, wetlands, and streams.
  3. Medfield State Hospital: This abandoned hospital is a popular spot for urban exploration and landscape photography, with its decaying buildings and overgrown grounds.
  4. Rocky Woods Reservation: This conservation area is located in nearby Medfield and offers a variety of landscapes, including forests, wetlands, and streams.
  5. Hinkley Pond: This small pond is surrounded by woods and fields, and offers a peaceful and serene landscape for photography.

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