Northumberland Camera Club

A personal challenge in photography can really help us hone our skills. During 2018 many members of the Northumberland Camera Club are taking part in our new challenge.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 7th January 2018, 1:35 pm

You are welcome to join in too. The challenge is not competitive. It’s just a structured way to improve our own photography, no matter what our current skill level.

Each month has a theme to help us concentrate on a particular aspect of photography.

Then, two words are published each week. The challenge is to take photos that are inspired by one or both of that week’s words, while experimenting with the monthly theme.

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If you want to join in, you will be made very welcome if you join us in the club’s Facebook group: The group gives you the opportunity to share your results with others and see what they photographed.

Plus, you can get and give encouragement and support. If you don’t want to use Facebook then it doesn’t matter; the challenges will also be printed here too.

When doing the challenges, don’t be scared about trying something new and getting it wrong. Do ask for help when you need it. You could even meet up with a few others to take photos for the challenges. Other photography clubs are welcome to join in too.

I’ve designed the challenges to be progressive, with each new month building on the skills you learned previously. Try to complete the entire challenge over the year, but don’t worry if you have to miss a week or two.

January Challenge –

Depth of Field

For most landscape photos we want the entire picture in focus, with sharp detail throughout the image.

When shooting portraits or wildlife it’s usually just the subject in focus and the rest of the image blurred. The amount of the photo that is in focus is called depth of field and that is January’s challenge theme.

Experiment with what affects depth of field. Move in closer and farther from the subject and compare the results. If you are near to the subject then the background will become more blurred. Take a few steps back and more of the image becomes sharp. If your camera is able, change aperture. With a wide aperture – small f/ number – you achieve a shallower depth of field; less is in focus than with a narrow aperture.

Next, vary the focal length. How much is in focus in front and behind the subject as you change from zoomed out to zoomed in?

Does your photo improve with more or less of the shot being in focus?

Take a look at other photographers who have worked with depth of field.

Ansel Adams shot landscapes with as much as possible in focus. Compare his with the work of Northumberland wildlife photographer Alan Hewitt.

This week’s challenge words are “Great” and “Alone”. Shoot photos inspired by either or both of those words while considering the depth of field.

I really look forward to seeing your results. Happy New Year!