Boat with a Shallow Depth of Field

This has been the most tricky part of my Interpretations assignment that I have tackled so far.

I had thought about photographing one of my nephew’s toy boats but thought that was a bit too much like Slinkachu. I had been told that to photograph a boat with a shallow depth of field from a distance was quite difficult to get right. So never being one to shy away from a challenge I headed for the River Orwell.

I headed first for a marina and after a few practise shots I found just how difficult it was to get the boat in focus and other parts of the image out of focus. All of the boats at the marina were tightly moored along a jetty and I thought the best thing to do would be to find somewhere where there were boats close to the shore as well as boats further out in the river so I moved up the road to Pin Mill.

The tide was in at Pin Mill, but beginning to go out and I managed to get a good range of shots, some with more or less success. I managed to have more success with a longer lens but then couldn’t always get all of the boat in the frame, other times, when the sun came out I couldn’t get the aperture open wide enough to get a very shallow depth of field and standing on a floating jetty to take some photos was a little nauseating.

I narrowed this selection down to my three favourites and asked others which they preferred. It eventually came down to the photo of the man rowing to shore and the shot of the rope tied to the jetty leading back to a blue rowing boat with my friends and family more or less preferring them equally. While the rower is more like the photograph I set out to take I like the colours and composition of the boat tied to the jetty and have chosen to submit that photo instead.


For the ‘Decision’ element of the Interpretations assignment I have chosen to do a still life about my decision of where to holiday.

I chose several items that illustrate the kind of travel that I like and tried various ways of displaying them, shooting them from different angles until I was satisfied.


I had a bad back as I was doing this shoot and couldn’t lift my lights or set up my usual table so I improvised and set up on a deep windowsill, using a reflector to bounce the light from the window back into the darker parts of the scene.

The map was then quite bright so I under-exposed the image by a couple of stops to compensate.

I like a game of travel Scrabble but I felt that full size Scrabble letters were a better fit in this composition.


The word bokeh or boke comes from a Japanese word and means blur and refers to the quality of the out of focus part of a photograph taken using a large aperture. Typically bokeh images have soft circles of light within the blurred areas and a small by very sharp centre of focus.

For my bokeh image I wanted to try and capture some of the lovely autumn colours that are around at the moment so I headed off to the park.

Bokeh1webI tried a few places but settled on a spot in front of a tree with lovely yellow leaves. It was a very windy day and the light kept changing as the clouds drifted in front of the sun.

I took several images, experimenting with the angle that I was taking the photographs at but settled on this one. I lowest F number I could get was F6.3 at this moment; it has captured the leaf well but also a little more of the grass than I would have hoped. There are a few of the tell-tale bokeh circles in the foreground.


Next, I took a picture of a daisy. The blur on this image is stronger but there is little evidence of the bokeh circles.




Bokeh3webFinally I returned to my garden to try and take a photograph of the fushia bush. It was so windy that it took me several attempts to get a picture where the flowers were not being blown about.

I think this is quite an interesting shot as the flower and buds are in focus but there is clearly something still moving in the background which has caused a ghostly image to appear in the middle. I also like the whispy beard that is visible on the bottom of the long stamen.


A Dangerous Place

For the A Dangerous Place part of the Interpretations assignment I arranged to go out with the Street Pastors in Scunthorpe for a couple of hours.

It was a great experience but proved to be quite tricky to photograph. The uniforms have fluorescent branding on them which would blow out if I used a flash and the speed at which situations changed meant that I would need to hand hold the camera and use a very high ISO to keep images sharp. I also wouldn’t have time to set my camera manually for each shot.

Although the streets were quiet on this occasion I was aware that trouble could start and escalate suddenly and the presence of a camera may exasperate any situation. I was also aware that any person who needed the Street Pastor services would also be considered to be vulnerable and probably wouldn’t want to be photographed so I used my camera with discretion throughout and asked for permission to take photos whenever I could.

There were no troubled incidents while we were out on the streets this time, but the Street Pastors made several rounds of the town centre, collecting bottles that had been left in the street and that could have been used as weapons later in the evening, sweeping up broken glass so that no one can fall on it, or walk on it in bare feet. I watched as they spoke with each of the door staff to get the lowdown on what was happening around the town and checked in with the Nite Safe team – trained door staff, not attached to any one premises, who have additional training and additional powers.

The Street Pastors did find someone who was unwell, possibly suffering from an angina attack and whom they cared for until an ambulance arrived.

I had planned to get some documentary style photographs of the Street Pastors and the work they do and thought they would probably look best in black and white to give a more reportage feel to them, but I quite like the night time colours and, in the end, have decided to leave them in colour.

Into The Light

This week I had some friends that were performing at a charity concert and thought that stepping into the spotlight would be a good interpretation of the Into the Light part of my assignment.

TheFabulousProject2TheFabulousProjectThey already had an official photographer at the event but I was given permission to take some photographs as well. I wanted to take some close ups of the performers faces and as I knew I wasn’t going to be able to move around during the concert I found a seat close to the front and set up there.

The gig was held a small room, lit only by candle light and the lights from the stage which changed colour from time to time. I had to use a high ISO, to prevent the need for long shutter speeds and blur, that has given the images a bit of grain which I quite like.


Red Ball

Under the heading of Red Ball, I wanted to photograph something that was red and round but not necessarily a ball.

I’ve been meaning to take some photographs that I could use on my Christmas cards so I’ve started with a red bauble. Of all the photographs I have taken today these are my favourites.

The photos are ok to be used on my Christmas cards but I’m not sure that they are creative enough for my assignment. I’ll post one of them to the assignment page for now, but I hope to do something a little more creative before the assignment is due to be complete.