Ilya's Course Blog - Week 5

11 July 2015

Region: London

Blog 5, Week 4 (Blog 1 was a pre-course article)

Dare I say it yet again; another wonderful week on the RPS/OU Digital Photography course.  This week covered Focus and Depth of Field. First we were treated to some fairly complicated technical explanations of what happens to light rays going through the lens and explaining about focal length, focal point and the lens’s magnifying power, angle of view and perspective, how they are all linked. It was quite a lot to digest but has given me a better understanding of these key areas. I found today, while wandering around with a wide angle lens, that I was thinking about the light entering the camera in a new way in relation to what I’ve learnt in the lesson and how this is different than with my other lenses.

We were next shown factors which control depth of field and practical ways we can change it –varying focal length, object distance and aperture size. I guess on the whole we know this already but this is a beginner’s course and gaps that we shouldn’t have are getting filled in. It is also helpful to have time to focus on these factors as they are so important.

Lightroom videos were the usual excellent standard covering healing, cloning, gradients, adjustment brush and how to deal with perspective distortion. Also sharpening and noise reduction. A great deal was covered this week in 6 separate videos. Very exciting as they are all powerful tools.

People have been asking me if the course is for beginners. It is, yes, and also for people with some experience who want time to go back over the basics and work on getting a stronger portfolio. And I think it is useful for those who have technical knowledge but want to learn how to look at and assess their own images. I explained in an earlier piece how we are taught to look at and comment constructively on each other’s images and how this informs thinking about our own. This is one of the key things about the course and one of the ways it is different to other courses where you attend the class in person.

The end of week assignment was to take images thinking about depth of field. I got some really good advice from fellow students regarding more severely cropping one of my images and I think it works well, so that’s the one I’m offering up this week. Thank you Richard, Dave, Annette, Joe, Marie and Wolfgang for your helpful comments!

Image @ Ilya Fisher