Photography: The thing about focusing on two objects

I am not a fan of hobbies, sports, and activities that use huge complicated words to mask certain techniques.  I feel it acts as a barrier to newcomers to photography and I do not like it.  In this article, we are going to talk about how we can focus on two objects or more to the point, how we can get a good focus on two points that are a distance apart.  The photographic world calls this ‘Hyperfocal focusing‘.  Yet another very technical term that a newcomer would not have a clue about let alone search for this in google.

What is Hyperfocal Focusing?

When we take a photo, we want our objects to be in focus.  What this technique does is maximize sharpness in the photo of the objects.  Notice I said ‘maximize‘, this is because a camera can only properly focus on one object at a set distance.

There are heaps of examples, some incredibly technical to achieve this.  This article is an insight into this ok.

An example, we have a tree 100 metres in front of us and behind the tree, another 300 metres further is a tree line.  If we focus on the closest tree, the furthest trees will be out of focus and likewise, if we focus on the trees the near tree will be out of focus.

So what do we do?

There are all sorts of equations and mystical words that crop up in a search but basically, it boils down to finding a point between the two objects that gives good sharpness to them both.

Hyperfocus Focusing in Photography

We can see that we divide the distance from our nearest object to our furthest object then divide the distance between the two objects into three.  We then manually set the focus about a third of the way between the two objects.  Very approximate but a good starting point for this.

One thing to point out is the aperture setting.  The aperture must not be big(f4, f5 etc), it needs to be smaller (f11, f13 etc).  Without delving into the depths of equations and overcomplicated theory, try and experiment.

For the inquisitive, here is a link wiki with everything about this subject.

Now for a few photos showing the effects of Hyperfocal Focusing.

Clean focus on the swing and mountains behindClean focus on the swing and mountains behind

The near rocks and the far lighthouse remain sharp

The near rocks and the far lighthouse remain sharp

 

Lovely balanced sharpness between the hut and the mountains

Lovely balanced sharpness between the hut and the mountains

Summary

Hyperfocal Focusing is simply focusing on a point between two objects of different distances apart and achieving an acceptable amount of sharpness on the two objects.  Be it mountains, trees, huts or anything else.  The diagram above divides the distance between the two objects into three and we focus at the first third point.

Again trial and error and practice makes perfect.  We have digital cameras so we can take lots of photos and get really good practice.  There will be a follow up to this article digging further into this subject.

 

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