Rockers on a porch


Rockers, Woodbury, Connecticut © Steven Willard

What are you looking at? Please, take a moment and actually notice what part of this image has your attention.

It’s common practice for photographers to use shallow depth of focus to concentrate the viewers eye on the thing that is in sharp focus. We use the technique in portraiture frequently, and for all sorts of other instances where we want the viewer to pay most attention to a part of the photograph, but ever so often we can use the reverse to good effect.

I was intrigued by how the sharp plane of focus on the leaves actually called attention to the slightly out of focus rockers on the porch. In this instance, it is the very fact that they are out of focus that draws the eye to the chairs, and the fact that they are mostly hidden by the leaves only piques our curiosity all the more. The brain wants to complete the image of a couple of rocking chairs. I must confess that I wasn’t totally  aware of  what was going on as I was making the photograph. It wasn’t until I converted the image to black and white that I was truly struck by the rest of the effect. Selective focus can include what is purposefully out of focus as well as what is sharp. I find this an intriguing effect that rates more experimentation.

Olympus OMD EM1 with 40-150mm f2.8 zoom.


2 comments on “Rockers on a porch

  1. Steven, I was looking straight at the leaves in the foreground. Reading the title first, I was wondering what secrets the leaves would carry. I was aware of the rockers on the porch. But it took a while until I focused my view on the porch. There is a lot going on in the image. Different focus points. Shadows. It takes time to “absorb” this image. But it is an interesting sample of your composition. Reinhold


  2. Thank you for taking the time to have a look. It may be that it’s only me who sees this effect, or perhaps it is a case of seeing what one wants to see.


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