Project - 52 Assigments - No.1 - To the Fore

I mentioned before about the book series I have been looking at called 52 Assignments by Ross Hoddinott & Mark Bauer. I am currently looking at the assigments in the Landscape edition.

This assignment is all about using foreground interest. In the book it says "The principle is simple enough: by getting in close to a foreground object with a wideangle lens, the object will loom large in the frame, with the background stretching out behind it. This enhances linear perspective and creates the impression of depth in th image."

The image above, taken on one of my many trips to Cornwall, uses this technique to make the rocks in front loom and the rest of the image stretch back to the lovely sunset.

The book goes on to mention a couple of tips to bear in mind when composing your image.

  1. Set your camera up high enough when using a close foreground so that you can see over the subject.

  2. Consider shapes when choosing foreground subjects. Squares and rectangles tend to block the view, whereas triangles and V shapes pull the eye into the picture.

I think I just about get away with that one in this image with the point at the top of the front rock pointing into the rest of the image. Here is another example which has already appeared in a previous post:

When using this technique it is important to make sure that the whole image is sharp and in focus. You want to ensure that both the foreground and all of the background is included in this.

To do this you should set a small aperture setting (ie high f-number). In most cases you should find that f16 is enough, but you can go up to f22 if needed. You shouldn't need any more than that and you may find a loss of quality if you do go higher.

Once you have your aperture set you can focus. For me, I would focus on a spot somewhere about a third into the frame fro the bottom and this should give you enough range to cover the image. For the more technical amongst you you can use a hyperfocal chart which will, depending on your camera, focal distance and aperture, tell you the best distance to focus at. If you focus at the hyperfocal distance, everything from half that distance to infinity will be sharp.

Give this a try and let me know how you get on.


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