The Focus Dilemma

The human eye is a miraculous wonder. It can play havoc with photography in very subtle ways. Our eyes automatically focus on what we look at, so looking at something three feet in front of you, and then glancing at something 30 yards away, becomes virtually instantaneously in focus. Since a photograph usually captures just one moment in time there is an interesting way to deal with this little problem.

Meet Jager (short for Jägermeister). When I took this picture I wanted both his eye and the tip of his nose to be in sharp focus. The problem was, they are different distances away from the focal plane, or sensor, of the camera. The camera can only focus accurately at one point a certain distance away. There are settings on the camera that appear to make the focal plane deeper, but even then the rest of the picture is just less out of focus. A solution, two pictures. Jager conveniently stayed still between my two photographs. In one I focused the camera on his eye, in the other, on the tip of his nose. I then laid the pictures over top of each other in Photoshop and brushed in the other area I wanted to be exactly in focus. It’s not a perfect answer (couldn’t use the idea on anything moving) but it works great for some things, like tired Labradors.

Nikon D4 Sigma 35mm f/1.4  35mm f/1.4 ISO 3200 1/60 sec