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My Terrible Photographs
Letter sent on Apr 27, 2016

Anteater Shallow Depth of Field

Anteater … eating.

The anteater was moving a bit, so I decreased my shutter speed to 1/800 for a clear shot. I was shooting with a fixed-length 35mm f/1.8 lens in Program Mode (P-mode).

There are some composition issues here, but my main issue was relying on P-mode to handle exposure properly. Because there was low light, setting the shutter speed to 1/800 caused the camera to set the aperture to f/1.8, and this shallow depth of field caused the focal point (the anteater’s leg) to be sharp, but the anteater’s face is … not.

I was in manual focus mode when I took this shot, so I could have done a better job focusing on the anteater’s face instead, but I think the more significant problem is that I should not have set the shutter speed to such a fast value (1/400 would have probably been fine) and I could have adjusted the ISO to get more light as well, preventing the camera from using such a shallow depth of field.

Lesson: When relying on P-mode to control parameters, keep a closer eye on what you’re losing out on (depth of field here) when trying to control something else (shutter speed).

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