Grok Photography

Photos and words by Petter Senften

Depth of Field

Back in 2004 it was very difficult for me to take photos with a short depth of field. This was of course due to the crappy Nikon compact I was using, which I’ve mentioned earlier. Compacts are never very good at getting a short DoF due to the small optics and short ranges in them. This frustrated me since I (long before I even knew the expressions Depth of Field or Bokeh) liked that look and wanted to achieve it. I didn’t know much about how light and optics worked either, and it was more blind luck than skill that managed me to take such photos with that awful compact.

But, occasionally I managed. By accident, but still managed to do something which approximated what I saw in my head.

This photos is one of those accidents:


Of course, replicating this same result with a DSLR is trivial. Even with the cheapest of kit-zooms you can easily create nice and short depth of field and bokeh on such a close scale. Here’s an example I shot just a few minutes ago and almost eight years after the above photo:


Exact same guitar, similar lighting conditions. Piece of cake. Just open up your aperture a bit. This last one was shot at 5.56 and if I’d used the “Plastic Fantastic” 50mm/1.8 I could’ve gotten even shorter depth and narrower focus. When reviewing the image I probably would’ve narrowed the aperture quite a bit, since the bokeh is a bit out of control in this one. But, it’s a good example of how easy it is to achieve.

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