Gioji Temple Photoshoot Continues: Little Orange Mushrooms and Depth-of-Field Comparisons
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desktop background image of very tiny little orange mushrooms among the moss on a decaying roof at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  Really Tiny Little Orange Mushrooms Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Really Tiny Little Orange Mushrooms
Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan
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Back again to the mossy temple visit from “Tag Along With Me on a Photo Shoot at Kyoto’s Gioji Temple”, with an orange followup counterpart to the “Gioji Temple Photo Shoot: Nicolas’s White Little Mushrooms” post.

The temple's entrance gate is covered by a little roof of bamboo and decaying moss-covered wood. For context, here's a photo of the roof with Nicolas under it (photographing a spider):

Temple Entrance Gate with its moss-covered roof  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 2000 — map & image datanearby photos
Temple Entrance Gate
with its moss-covered roof

The bamboo on the roof makes a grid of squares... the mushrooms of today's post are in the lower-rightmost square:

The Orange Dots are the mushrooms  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
The Orange Dots
are the mushrooms

Once Nicolas was done, I moved in with my all-time favorite lens, the mouthwatering-bokeh 1:1-macro Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 to get up close and personal with my new orange friends....

desktop background image of very tiny little orange mushrooms among the moss on a decaying roof at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  Jungle  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Jungle
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I always have a question about what aperture is best, because that controls the depth of field... how quickly things in the foreground and background fade into a delicious bokeh. I'm a real fan of that effect, seen many times here on the blog, such as this and this and this and this and this and this and a hundred others, I'm sure.

But sometimes a bit more in focus helps. In the recent passion-fruit flower post, many shots of the spaceship-like flower were with a small aperture (large “f” number) because they ended up looking better than the ultra-thin-depth shots.

In the same vein as the moss polarizer-filter examples from the other day, here's a comparison of depth-of-field between wide open at f/2.5, and stopped down a bit at f/8:

Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
     f/2.5                 f/8      

mouseover a button to see that image

Notice the little red dot in the center of the f/2.5 image? That's a little bug that moves over a bit to the right for the f/8 image where he stands in nice profile, though slightly out of focus. (You can see much better in the larger versions that clicking on the thumbnails brings you to>)

Anyway, I can't tell which I prefer, and my indecision grows the more I jump back and forth.

Here's another pair, this time between the far limits of the lens, f/2.5 and f/22:

Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
     f/2.5                f/22     

mouseover a button to see that image

The f/22 one is fairly blurry because 125mm hand-held at 1:1 macro for 1/20th of a second will not go well even in the most steady hands. I was at the limit of my tippy-tippy-toe stretch to begin with just to get the camera close enough.

(Sometimes I can do very well with hand-held long exposures, such as in “Pushing Lowlight-Photography Limits: The Atta Terrace Hotel at Night” from early 2009, but it's more luck than skill.)

Anyway, blurriness aside, the f/22 one in this case is merely documenting the mushroom so I don't care for it; the f/2.5 one has a sense of small-world mystery and adventure. YMMV.

desktop background image of very tiny little orange mushrooms among the moss on a decaying roof at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  Towering  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Towering
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Here's one more depth-of-field comparison, among f/2.5, f/16, and f/22:

Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Kyoto, Japan  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/320 sec, f/2.5, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
     f/2.5                f/16                f/22     

mouseover a button to see that image

I wish I had the full progression from f/2.5 to f/22, but it seems I neglected to take it. I try often, but without a tripod it's almost impossible. It's difficult enough to do the minor cropping and rotating required to get these pairs to match up well.

desktop background image of a moss-covered roof at the Gioji Temple (祇王寺), Kyoto Japan  --  Roof  --  Gioji Temple (祇王寺)  --  Copyright 2012 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 — 1/320 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1100 — map & image datanearby photos
Roof
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Continued here...


All 5 comments so far, oldest first...

Hi Jeff, great post, as always, thank you so much for sharing. Your blog is an inspiration for mine, I’m not there yet, pretty busy with grad studies, but working away at it.

Anyway, I thought this tip might be helpful for your last point about getting the crop and rotation similar for multiple images; use the dual monitor feature in LR with the second monitor in compare mode. See this video, starting around 3:40, by Julianne Kost.

Keep having fun and keep shooting!

Justin

Thanks for the pointer (and the kind words), but side-by-side won’t cut it for the kind of fine match I want with the flippable sets… I really need a partially transparent layer. Lacking that, I just flip back and forth quickly between the two, noticing which direction something needs to be nudged, then repeat. Eventually they get there. —Jeffrey

— comment by Justin on June 29th, 2012 at 6:18pm JST (5 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I tried licking the thumbnails fr a bigger version, but my monitor does not recognize the gesture… 😉 I suppose it was “clicking” ? 😉

Hmm, yes, that indeed might be more productive, though less fun. (Thanks, fixed.) —Jeffrey

— comment by Henk on June 29th, 2012 at 7:46pm JST (5 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I’m a fan of shallow DoF photography, but when I shoot macro at 1:1 or close to it the aperture is always very small. The way I see it, if the entire subject (or as much as possible) is in focus, then the depth of field is sufficient.

I agree with you that the out of focus elements create a sense of wonder and really allow the mind to get lost in the photo. Thus, from all of your examples, the f/2.5 shots seem to be a bit too shallow in most cases (although the photos are still enjoyable!), and f/8 gets closer to what I’d consider to be an ideal. However, even the f/8 shot seems to have too much – the green bits are slightly distracting. At the distance you were shooting from, something like f/5.6 might have provided the happy medium.

Then again, I keep going back to look at the shots as I type this out, and each time I look them over again I have a greater appreciation for how the depth of field is.

— comment by David K. on June 29th, 2012 at 9:00pm JST (5 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

When I am faced with a series of similar objects at different distances, such as the mushrooms in your “Towering” shot, or a series of flowers in a garden, I have difficulty trying to decide which to focus on without some visual cues that clearly make one choice different from another. In Towering you chose the second mushroom rather than the larger closest mushroom, which I would think would be the expected and maybe less interesting answer. But when I look at Towering I want to see more of the closest mushroom because my brain says that if it is close it should have more detail.

When I took a picture of a line of daffodils this spring focusing only on one in middle my wife asked “why that one?” I didn’t have answer, it looked just like all the others.

Cheers, Werner in Vermont

I don’t have a concrete answer… just a sense of balance, I guess. If the goal is not to document a specific item, the goal is likely some kind of overall artistic balance. Consider this example. Like most aspects of composition, the focus decision is artistic, not technical. I can think of many appropriate responses to your wife, including “Why not that one?”, “Because.”, “Well, if I have to explain, …”, “That daffodil wanted it more.”, “Why any of them?”, “Isn’t it obvious!?”, “Why is Mona Lisa wearing green?”, etc… —Jeffrey

— comment by Werner on June 29th, 2012 at 10:20pm JST (5 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I like your blog and your photos. I like the idea of a blog of photos… is there a service that helped you create this? (like blogger, wordsmith?)

Thank you. also, Enkou-ji temple, Kyoto, where is that? I loved your bell in grove photo.
Bonnie

My blog (which is a blog with photos, not a photo blog) is a highly-customized WordPress install. Your mention of a “bell in grove” photo doesn’t…er… ring a bell, but this Enkouji post has a map link under the photo. —Jeffrey

— comment by Bonnie on June 29th, 2012 at 11:34pm JST (5 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink
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