Friday, October 23, 2020


So as you know I have the filthy habit of poking in to photography forums from time to time. Honestly, the whole genre is kind of dying off, so there are far fewer things to make fun of here, but this morning I struck gold!

Here's a thread you can enjoy, if you like. On, let us review, a publically accessible forum which anyone can look at and read without an account.

Someone went out and took a bunch of portraits of someone in a place. The photographer used a variety of lenses and apertures, and moved to achieve similar framing in all the exposures. The point is to illustrate the different ways the face is rendered, and the different effects of depth of field and so on.

So up rolls Mr. 480Sparky, who is one of the dumb bastards who will go on about how long they've been shooting, but who doesn't actually know anything. He says, "you've got it wrong, because the depth of field blah blah blah" which, while certainly true, misses the fact that the depth of field doesn't actually tell you directly how far out of focus stuff is. The pictures are perfectly correct, and Sparky is both stupid and ignorant.

If he'd bothered to look at the Hyperfocal Distance helpfully calculated by the same DoF tools he's using to throw shade and sneer, he might have gotten a brisk hint. But, he didn't. Alack, and alas.

To be fair, these things are legitimately complicated and the answers are not obvious. I had to draw a couple pictures to work out what's going on, although I have enough of a feel for these things that the pictures looked ok to me. 

That said, it's obvious if you actually go look at the tool the hapless victim laboriously created, you can tell immediately that they were done correctly. You can tell that if you cannot work out why a thing is a thing, then it's probably because you don't understand it and maybe you should go have a think before you go spouting off in public. But old fuckers who won't shut about about slide film never do, they're pretty sure they've got all the answers.

Also, Sparky appears to have absolutely no feel for how actual pictures look at various focal lengths and apertures.