At Exploration Summer School, I played a lot with forced perspective and depth of field. For an example of forced perspective, take a look at the photo above. The head of the guitar is not bigger than the head of the child, but the way the photo was taken forces us to see otherwise. There are three “grounds” in a photo: foreground, middle ground, and background. Depending on where you angle yourself you can skew the perspective so what should be the largest in the background will be dwarfed by what’s in the foreground. This technique was great for spicing up in-classroom photos. It also gave the pictures depth, drawing your eye through the space rather than leaving you at the starting line.
Depth of field deals with the pieces of the photo that are in focus and that aren’t in focus. Your f-stop will determine how much of your photo is in focus. The smaller the number the smaller the field of depth, and vice versa. When dealing with dark spaces and therefore low f-stops, I did my best to capture the faces of students and leave their surroundings out. A lot of second session had me extending the depth of field by boosting my ISO. It was great in pictures where subjects were spread out, or where their work and their faces weren’t close together.
What was frustrating was the number of focus points my Nikon d60 has: 3. It’s a sad number, especially when I went through photos later in the day and found that I had focused on the tree rather than the students around it. As long as you have the time, take more than one picture. By the end of both sessions, I had taken over 20,000 photos. That doesn’t count the pictures I deleted standing right there in the classroom that I knew weren’t going to work. And get creative. Forced perspective is interesting, makes you double take, and is fun to do.