Shooting Challenge #37 Depth of Field: The Winner Is...

By Martin Snelling on at

This week's Shooting Challenge was all about depth of field (DoF); understanding what it is, what it does and how you can control it to create emphasis or draw the viewer's eye to a certain part of a picture.

As well as the kudos of winning a Gizmodo UK Shooting Challenge, there was also a prize of three months' worth of meat-based goodness courtesy of the Carnivore Club up for grabs, too.

So, who won?

We had a bumper bag of submissions for this challenge; most of which featured felines, fur, wings and webs. However, it was Craig Windle’s photograph that caught the judge’s eyes this week.

As with many of the submissions for this Shooting Challenge, Craig really nailed the shallow depth of field; giving focus to the statue in the foreground while blurring out the rest. Also, the way Craig composed the photo gives the impression that the statues go on forever and adds a real sense of depth to the scene. Well done Craig, a deserved win.

Here’s some words from Craig on the pic:

“The photo was taken using a Canon EOS Kiss X50 with 18-55mm lens. I'm just starting photography as a hobby and when I was in Japan I took my camera with me to Mount Takao in Tokyo. From the top of the mountain you can see Mount Fuji, but on the way there are lots of shrines. Here is one of the shrines which is surrounded by 88 statues.

I wanted to use the depth of focus to show the feeling of the statues continuing as far as you can see using the statue in the foreground to show the detail. I set the camera to f/7.1.”

While there can be only one winner, we can award firm handshakes and hearty cheers to the following peeps whom I shall call ‘the three Rs’.

Ronnie Lawson: A great pet portrait that sadly was slightly out of focus in the wrong place.

Russell Norman: A great use of camera ‘hacking’ with Magic Lantern. It is one of three images taken from a movie shot in RAW format on his Canon 5D MkII.

Ray Liu: A lovely candid snap made physical thanks to it being shot with a highly collectible Polaroid SX-70.

As usual, you can view all of the entries over on our Flickr page. Let us know in the comments below which is your favourite.

Thanks to everyone that participated in this challenge, there will be another Shooting Challenge for you next week so charge those camera batteries!

Martin Snelling is a Hampshire-based photomatographer and wearer of fine hats. He tweets here and he is currently working on a
long-term photography project entitled View From This Side.