Originally published by me at Barking Dog Studio » Inside the Photo (see it there)

Dad's Level

Inside the Photo

I have an attraction for taking photos of old objects that have a lot of wear and tear, like this wooden level that belonged to my Dad. Wood has this sense of absorbing some energy from the person that holds it (or it makes a nice story to tell), where is modern tools of plastic, steel, are more inert though durable.

Something of this dimension works better as a photo when you emphasize to use the direction lines of its length, and shooting with my trust nifty fifty f/1.4 I know I might get an interesting detail at an angle. This shot at f/2.8 might still be a bit too shallow depth of field for being this close, f/4.0 or f5.6 might have been better.

But in seeing this up close, I might have done better to target the focus on the vertical bubble, whereas I got the end of the depression it sits in. I use a single point focus for these kinds of shots so I can lock in my focus an move the camera to frame.

And I actually did not get the alignment quite level (get it) in the shot, so I rotated it a tad in Aperture to make the right edge of the level parallel the frame. I also wish I had knocked off that fragment of juniper debris that is on the left side sitting on the deck rail. It is really hard to catch all these minor bits when shooting, and I am trying more and more to be very deliberate about avoiding the little distractors. And I am not above doing a little bit of clone brushing in post editing to take out blemishes. Sue me, I am a digital artist.

Shallow depth of field shots are the thing I love most about doing with the DSLR. You cannot get this on an iPhone, and not even close to this detail. The green and black background (the out of focus tones of the apple tree behind) make a nice contrasting element to the brightness of the front area.

I like the photo, maybe not enough to love it, but there is also the fact that there is a story and a family connection to the object. That often ratchets up my interest and attention in trying to make an interesting photo.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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