Depth of Field (DOF)

Hey, another photography blog tip.

Happy James!?!?!?  🙂

From here on in (at least for this blog), I will refer to Depth of Field as DOF.  Shorter for me to type, don’t like it, too bad.  😛

So what exactly is DOF?

In optics, especially film and digital photography.  It’s the range of focus between the distances of objects.

DOF is determined by the subject to camera distance, the lens focal length, lens f-stop, format size (APO Sensor or Full Format) and what is known as the Circle of Confusion criterion.

I’m not going to get into the science of it,  this will just confuse  you.  You just need to know what impacts DOF.

Why is this important to know?

In most  some cases, agreeably, it is preferred to see the whole picture as sharp.  However, in other cases, it is preferable to have the main subject stand out, by having that object as sharp as possible and the background blurry.

This is mostly seen in Macro Photography and portraits as well.

How do I achieve such a photo?

1. Determine your subject. In this case, I have chosen my cable box’s remote control

2. Choose the right lens. I have chosen my 28-70mm F2.8

3. Position the camera. Handhold, about 25cm away, zoomed in at 70mm.

4. Set the F-stop via the Aperature Priority or Manual, for the purpose of this blog, I have chosen Aperature Priority and have used F22, F11, F5.6 and F2.8 (note: the higher the F number, the LONGER the shutter needs to stay open, especially in low light, unless you are shooting on a tripod, use a flash).

5. Decide whether you want to shoot with manual or automatic focus.  I have chosen to set my Nikon D200 on automatic continuous focus.

6. Shoot.

The next few photos will show you a look and which F-stop to choose for your DOF photos.  Click the pictures below for a larger view.

2010-08-14_17-19-10 This was shot at F22 with flash, notice the sharpness over the whole remote?  This is great, if you want to do something like take a picture of the object to sell it.  It gives the greatest detail of the object overall.





2010-08-14_17-19-24 This was shot at F11.  If you can see, the top and the bottom halves of the remote are starting to fuzz a little.  The center are the VOL button is still sharp (the focal point may change in the next couple of photos,I am hand holding the camera after all.)





2010-08-14_17-19-38I shot this one at F5.6, you can definitely tell the the top and bottom ends of the remote are out of focus, making the VOL and CH buttons very clear.




2010-08-14_17-20-36 Now you can definitely tell that the center buttons are the main focus of this photo.  Shooting at F2.8 will give you a really shallow DOF.





Examples of DOF photos I have taken:





Of course these photos were taken with a DSLR camera.  It is rare that a point and shoot camera will have this type of function.  I do know that the Nikon Coolpix 5700, 8700 and 8800 did have the ability to control f-stop and shutter speeds (these models have been discontinued).  This  type of point and shoot camera is also known has a Bridge Camera.  Other companies do have their own, but again, I deal in Nikon.

Now get out there and shoot some photos…


Rule of Thirds

It has come to my attention that I have not put placed anything about photography lately.

Sorry, been too busy ranting about current subjects. 

Ok, shut the f*** up James, I’ll post something.

So, lets start off with a little bit of basic photography, Rule of Thirds.

For those of you that don’t know what the Rule of Thirds is.  Well, you’re in for a big surprise, which will increase your photography skills dramatically.

What is it?  Well, basically put, it’s a a rule of thumb that is used in the composition used in visual arts, such as Painting, Photography, and Design.

Dividing a picture into nine sections, like a grid, you’ll get the rule of thirds base.


Generally, this is an imaginary grid, but on some cameras, it is an option in the viewfinder.  I don’t know about Canon or Sony or any other inferior camera body.  (Just kidding, no not really… :-))

On Nikon DSLR cameras, it’s referred to as a ‘grid’.  You can find that in your set up options, probably under display.  Some of the point and shoot Nikons have it for the LiveView as well.

This grid will help you in dividing the picture view, as well help you level out your picture.


In the image above, you’ll see a picture of a boat.  Yeah, it’s just a boat, on water…  Doesn’t tell you much does it.  Plus, you can see the island in the background, it isn’t level.  So, this doesn’t look that great.


Lets re-take that picture.  Ok.   A bit better, you can now tell that the water is calm and it’s a good day to probably take a ride out on the water.  There’s more water, so you know you can go further on that ride too.  The sky is slightly cloudy, but at least you can see the sky and notice that it’s a decent day to go out for that boat ride.  But there’s still something wrong.  Wow, look at that horizon, it’s really out of whack now.  The angle certainly sticks out like a sore thumb.

Let’s try this again.


Oh wow!  Definitely much better.  The earth doesn’t look like everything is slide right off to the left now.  You can see the sky and the wide open waters.

Here’s the shot with a grid on top of it for your comparison.


2010-08-03_19-12-28-3 third


2010-08-03_19-12-28-2 - Copy third 

Better, isn’t it? 

Now, go out there and take some photos!


Something to think about when getting your next oil change

So, last Saturday, my father-in-law calls me and asks  if my car is leaking oil.  My response was “Not to my knowledge”.   He goes on to tell me that he found a very small pool of oil on his driveway, where my car was parked.

This concerns me, since I just remembered, that I had to top up my oil a couple of weeks ago.

Sure enough, when I take a look under my car, there’s a couple drops waiting to happen.  Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have the right equipment in order to get under the car for a proper inspection.  Checking the oil level and making sure that there was a safe enough level to get home, I decided that will have to check the next day, during the day light.

So, the next day comes along, and I go into Canadian Tire and pick up a 5 litre jug of Castrol Syntec and  a Fram oil filter for synthetic oil.  I decided that was going to do a complete oil change while I’m under the car anyways, since it was getting close to the mileage that I should be changing it anyways.  I remember the last time, I had gone to Oil Changers and had them do it.  I do normally let them do it, since it’s more convenient and faster.

I went to the service counter and asked the ‘Sevice Advisor’ where I can find the gasket/washer for the oil drain plug.  I might as well pick one up while I’m there, just in case I need one.  I don’t know about this guy, because he suggested that we go into the ‘plumbing’ department and pick one up there.

My friend, pipes up and says “Now why the f**k would an automotive part be doing in the the plumbing department?”, just as the store manager was walking up to use to make sure if we were taken care of.  He promptly showed us to the area with the washers would be for the drain plugs, goes as far as to look up the part number for the drain plug to find the correct size of washer we needed.  We told him what his service advisor had told us and he was astonished to  hear what we repeated to him.  “He’s the service advisor for god sakes!” was his reply.  We’ll let him deal with his employee.

We paid for the stuff and left to do a complete oil change on the car.

I put the car up on the ramps and crawled under.  Yup, I can see a leak coming from the drain plug and the oil filter.  I asked my friend to hand me a 17mm wrench so I can loosen the drain plug.  As I was putting the wrench on, the nut turned by itself.  WTF?!?!?

I use my hand and remove the drain plug, without the wrench.  Is it just me or does something not seem right here?!?  I shouldn’t have been able to remove that plug with just my hand alone!

Once all the oil had drained, I put the plug back in, with the new washer and made surer I tightened it with the wrench.  Next, the oil filter.  Since that was leaking as well, I thought to myself “I wonder if that’s loose too?”  Sure enough, I was able to remove it without any tools and resistance.  What the hell?!?!

It is now obvious that those guys that are working at Oil Changers, didn’t tighten anything!

I did my oil change and made sure everything was tightened properly.  No leaks, no drips.  Just goes to show you, if you want it  done properly, do it yourself.  Unless you don’t know how to do an oil change (which every male should!), don’t have the facilities or tools (again, if you are a guy, you should have tools and at least a friend with a driveway), or if your vehicle warranty doesn’t cover self done oil changes.  There’s a few out there that want a receipt of oil change done at the regular intervals.

In any case, you’ll want to make sure that you take it to a proper mechanic.  It may cost you most, but a trusted mechanic goes a long way.  My own trusted mechanic is Autovation, located in Stittsville, ON.

That’s my rant for this time, til the next.


Shooting Fish in a Barrel

Good evening all,

Today, I went to visit my friends Bruce, Jennifer and her son Cameron (who is also my godson).

We had planned on going to Thistle Springs Trout Farm & Camp Grounds to do some fishing.  It’s just outside of Ashton, ON, off Copeland Rd. (RR2)  The Garmin In-Car GPS says that it’s actually in the township of Goulbourn, ON.  Well, it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

CaptureThe red circle shows the small pond like steel barrels we fished at.

They charge by the measurement of the fish (inches) plus $5.00 per person admission.

There were actual ponds that you can actually fish at, but there was a mixture of fish there (to let you know, you must pay for all fish that is caught, no catch and release).

However, Jen, Cameron and my wife Christine decided that they want to eat tonight, so they decided that they want go fish at these 10’ wide steel enclosed barrel type ponds.  Both were full of Arctic Char and Rainbow Trout.

They had a few rods that were loaned out, however, they only had a few left, but one of us was stuck with a pink Barbie fishing rod, NOT ME.  🙂 Corn was given to us as bait to be used, worms and shrimp were available for purchase as an incentive bait.  Now it is to be noted last time Jen couldn’t catch a fish in any of these or what the operators called the “Magic Pond” (which any one can supposedly catch a fish without even trying).  Within minutes, Jen caught the first Arctic Char.

I caught the next Arctic Char, then Jen’s friend caught an Arctic Char as well, with the Barbie pink rod.  Cameron this time, almost caught a nice big one, but unfortunately, his line broke and lost it.  Poor little guy, well we definitely are not leaving without him catching one.

39189_457672645445_601195445_6798575_3025224_n[1]Cameron caught a Rainbow Trout, he said that it bite him as he was trying to remove the hook from it’s mouth. That’s okay, you’ll get to bite him back. LOL

Final tally, Jen, 3, Jen’s friend, 3, Cameron, 1, Christine (my wife), 1, and myself, 3.  Giving us a total of 11 fish.  However, when all the fish were counted out from the buckets, there were only 8 fish in total.  WTF?!? Where’d the other three go to?

We have no clue where they could’ve gotten to?  I did notice a couple of times that an Arctic Char did jump out of the bucket and was trying to make a break for it.  But for 3 fish to disappear completely?

Cameron later noticed that one of the dogs that was hanging around did have a fish in it’s mouth.  So, we can assume what had happened.

Now, I don’t know why, yeah, I’m not much of a fisherman.  I really hate touching fish, they’re so freakin’ slimy.  But, I was with a bunch of girls that even refused to put a worm on the hooks.  I didn’t have much of a choice, I got the job of removing the hooks from these slimy devils.  Damn they were slimy… ugh.

Usually, I’m opposed to fishing at a fish farm, because it sorta takes the sport out of it and it’s not really as satisfying a making a good catch, but it’s great to bring kids to.  Especially since it will boost their moral at being able to hook a fish and not walk away empty handed.  Even though this is a false sense for moral, because when you do take them out on a real fishing trip, they may get pissed off that they didn’t catch a thing and may not want to fish again.

Thinking back, this is probably the reason why I didn’t go fishing with my father.


Archived Caches in Gatineau Park

Well, it seems to have started happening.  Caches being archived, in the name of conservation.

The initiative to archive Geocaches in Gatineau Park due the the National Capital Commission’s (NCC) Gatineau Park Ecosystem Conservation plan has finally happened.


In the past couple of  weeks, I have seen many caches being archived by their owners, so that we may preserve Gatineau Park’s more ecologically sensitive areas.

Which is a really good idea.  However, for the geocaching world this is quite the loss.

Gatineau Park is a wedge of land that is administered by that National Capital Commission.  The land area covers 363 km² (89 699.3 acres), just west of the the Gatineau River, east of the Ottawa river.

It remains the only Federal park outside of the Rocky Mountains that is not recognized as a National Park.

Over 300 caches are to be archived in all of the Gatineau Park area.

But it’s not as bad as it seems:

“The National Capital Commission (NCC) wishes to control Geocaching in the Gatineau Park.  Therefore, it is currently setting a procedure for caches within its territory, and is asking geocachers to archive all caches in the park.  They are requesting the cooperation of concerned geocachers to pick up all the containers.”

They wish to control Geocaching within Gatineau Park through an approval process, of which has not yet been discussed with local reviewers or Groundspeak (The head corporation that runs  They claim that they will be following Parks Canada Guidelines as to the placement of geocaches in the park.

While it is important to preserve the natural heritage of this park, in my humble opinion and a few others, it is not necessary to have all of them archived, but they should be reviewed and choose which are the more sensitive areas to have caches archived.

This does  remind of an area in Aiken, SC that has curbed geocaching within it’s boundaries.  The area, while extremely beautiful, the Hitchcock Woods Foundation has asked the local reviewer that only 3 caches at a time (including earthcaches) are to be placed in all 20 acres of Hitchcock Woods.

Read more at GeoNarcissa’s blog, Gordon Dewis’s blog and the National Capital Commission webpage.


Language policing gone too far?

WTF?!?!?  And you thought it was bad in Quebec.

On July 1st, protestors in the southern China city of Guangzhao were protesting for the right to speak Cantonese.


Apparently, the Chinese government are banning the use of this dialect which is spoken through out the Canton province of China, Hong Kong, Macau and various other parts of South East Asia.

Apparently, this according to some news sources, this is not true. 

A proposal by the Guangzhou political advisory body, is to increase the amount of local television broadcasted in Mandarin, which is China’s official language, by November for the Asian Games to make visitors feel welcome.

This obviously didn’t sit very well with the people, especially since Cantonese is widely spoken throughout this area.

According to Ouyang Yongsheng, deputy director of the general office of Guangzhou city government, there are no efforts to marginalize the Cantonese language, and those spreading rumors to the contrary, will be “duly punished” as reported by the Daily China newspaper.

Duly punished?  What the hell does this mean?

Well, according to one story I read, a protestor that had been at both rallies (the one from yesterday and the one from a couple of weekends ago), he said that he was taken by the Police at 2:30PM, to ‘go have coffee’…  Yes there was a hidden message in that, since they did not release him until 6:30PM.

You know… while I understand the need for a national standard language, I feel the need to speak out on this.  It’s like trying to force a religion on someone.  Yes, I agree that everyone in Canada, should speak english, we’re not trying to say that it’s the only language and that people should not forget their mother tongue.  People here have the choice to speak whatever language they want, whenever they want.  Schools, in China, have multiple signs that say ‘Please speak putonghua’, (putonghua, is the name of Standard chinese, given by the communists party in China).  This warning is for children to even speak the language to fellow students during a social chat.

Funny, I don’t go up to the people in Ottawa, who are speaking another language to each other in a social setting, asking them to speak english, because it’s the National Language of Canada.