Editor's note: Welcome to Yahoo! Travel Photo of the Week, chosen from the Flickr group created by our readers — you! Each week a professional photographer will select a photo that stands out from the crowd, and explain why they chose it. To have your own photo considered, join our Flickr group and start submitting your own photos!
This week's Y! Travel Photo of the Week goes to Thomas Lecomte for his creative, technically excellent photograph of an unexplained yet beautifully blurry vision of what appears to be a large ice cube in a South Korean market.
This image very effectively shows how the use of selective focus and a high-speed lens - set at or near maximum aperture - quickly directs the eye to the portion of the image the photographer wishes you to view first. This is achieved by using shallow depth of field, a photographic technique that creates an image in which only one key portion of the image is sharp, and the resulting blur sends the eye directly to the sharpest area. This effect can be intentional or accidental yet, regardless, is a very effective photographic technique.
Selective focus involves intentionally limiting the lens "depth of field" by selecting an aperture (f-stop) that's somewhere near the maximum aperture of that lens, thereby limiting sharpness to only the precise point where the lens is focused. Intentional blur directs the viewers' eye primarily to the portion of the photograph the photographer chooses to leave sharp, while the resulting blur de-emphasizes distracting elements.
High speed lenses easily allow for limited depth of field, though the effect can be achieved by using any lens at maximum aperture. In many cases, intentionally creating blur eliminates possible distractions from the primary point of the image. The viewer's eye can and should be directed with a variety of visual imaging "tricks," including selective focus.
One key point here is that LeComte made this picture on film rather than on a digital camera. Thomas lists Fujichrome Provia slide film as the film he used for this image. He's shooting film as of October 8,l 2012, a notable point in this digital era. "Slide film" was the preferred film of top pros before the digital revolution. "Chrome" is very unforgiving in terms of exposure, compared to digital photography, and the necessity for accuracy – without a preview pane – is mandatory.
Hats off to Thomas Lecomte for a lovely image made on goo- old fashioned Fujichrome slide film!
Tips for achieving this selective-focus look:
• Experiment with using various lenses set to maximum aperture, focusing only on one important element within the photograph. Observe the look and feel of the background/foreground blur to see if it appeals.
• Look for interesting elements which, when isolated then surrounded by blur in the foreground or background, create a new view of what may be a common object.
• Go out making photographs with your lens-of-choice set to maximum aperture, purely to experiment. You may learn to love the results!
Gary Parker is an advertising, corporate and editorial photographer based in the heart of Silicon Valley in San Jose, CA. Gary was a staff travel photographer for Southern Living Magazine, as well as a frequent travel photographer for Sunset Magazine. Gary was twice named a National Newspaper Photographer of the Year, Southern Photographer of the Year and has won international advertising and editorial awards. Gary’s work may be seen on either of his websites: GaryParker.com and CatDogPhotography.com
- Arts & Entertainment
- Cameras & Photography