Sunday, January 25, 2009

Who Cares?

According to Bryan Peterson, the F8 is called the "Who Cares" F stop because you really don't care about whether the background or foreground are focused or out of focus.

As I was soaking in the tub yesterday, I looked all around me for different subjects to photograph. One was this almost dead *sigh* Rabbit's Foot Fern on the window ledge above the tub. (You'd think I would water it before or after I photographed it.) But, anyway, let's get back to the subject of photographing it. I love the textured container, the rabbit's "feet" and the one lone fern frond so I got in the empty tub and decided to photograph it from underneath the frond. It's late afternoon when I did this and today is a cloudy day, southern light window. I wanted to frame the frond in the curved pane of the window (and I tried to place it in a "sweet spot". I decided to shoot 3 shots at extremes and one in the middle. The top photo is the Who Cares F stop at F8. I am manually setting the F stop and then turning my dial until a correct shutter speed is indicated on my camera, focusing and shooting. Shutter speed was 1/6.

In the photo above, the F stop is set at F 3.5, the biggest opening possible for the lens and ISO (400) I was using (on my camera). The correct shutter speed was indicated at 1/125. So the shutter didn't stay open as long as the top photo and you can see it is a little darker and you cannot see the texture of the plant holder or rabbit's feet as clearly. I'm keeping all other factors the same in all three photos - ISO 400, 18 to 24mm lens, auto focus, white balance on cloudy daylight.

Now this last and darkest photo was set at F27, the smallest opening possible with the other conditions I have with the camera, so the camera indicated a correct shutter speed of 1/10. It almost looks like a silhouette. Not much light came into the camera.

All three exposures are "correct" but I got different results and more freedom with creativity to get the effect you want. Then there are other factors that could be used in this as well such as a different lens length, different lighting and white balance, different ISO, etc.

Which of the three do you like the best and why? (Now I will go water the fern :)


  1. I like the first one because you can see the sun coming in really bright and it looks like the plant likes it. Who needs water?

  2. I like the second, i don't really know why...:)