I think I’ve been struggling a long time with focus: where to place it in the scene; how much of the scene to get in focus. Now I realize I might have given more weight to concerns over diffraction than it warrants and not enough to what I am trying to do with the scene, with the photograph I hope to make. Making photographs of flowers with some elements in focus and others not, as I did in my recent exercises while visiting Paul in Portland (see here and here)-that is not new. This first photograph was taken in 2011; and the second is from 2005.
I think what is different now though, the way in which I have benefited from Paul’s exercises, is that the parts that are in focus, and the parts that are not, are now deliberate. Before it was an accident, luck, if the result was desirable; my concern was getting the primary in focus and not risking diffraction. There was no attention, maybe even no ability, to say how much of the primary should be, and was, in focus. I (thought I) understood depth-of-field well enough, but I didn’t know how to apply it. The distance to the subject, amongst other issues, was always tripping me up. There are probably still other questions, with other subjects, to be addressed, but it feels like a big breakthrough has been made. Thanks Paul.