Green Temple

Green Temple

Want to try an interesting experiment in photography? Limit yourself to a single fixed-focal length lens shot pretty much wide open for minimal depth-of-field, and see what kinds of interesting close-up or macro compositions you can come up with.

The idea is to expand what one thinks of as subject matter by minimizing the photographic arsenal available to respond to conditions in the world. This limitation forces a change in the way you look at things.

Fixed focal length means that if you want to change the framing of a photo you’ve got to move the camera and your body—you can’t change the field of view by twirling a zoom lens knob.

Leaving the lens wide-open implies a single plane of focus. You’ve either got to get parallel with that plane, or accept that out-of-focus areas will be part of the finished composition.

In this case, I used my 50mm macro lens set to f/4. The shutter speed was 1/2000 of a second at ISO 320, and I hand-held the camera down on my belly amid the green spear-like leaves of a patch of Crocosmia hybrids.

Later in the season these flowers will produce showy, bright red flowers—but for now, in keeping with the spirit of minimalism of the photographic experiment, green was all I had to work with. There are indeed patches of out-of-focus leaves together with the sharply focused and backlit fronds, as well as the shadow of a flower on a leaf towards the bottom of the photo.

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