Joshua Tree Sunrise (Study in Light and DOF)

Intimate sunrise in the Cholla Garden, Joshua Tree National Park, CA.

Intimate sunrise in the Cholla Garden, Joshua Tree National Park, CA.

Who’s ready for a quick study in light and DOF???

This intimate sunrise image from the Cholla Garden in Joshua Tree NP is the perfect candidate.

Firstly–light. We all know that superb light is the lifeblood of any meaningful landscape image. Know light. Study it. Understand what it can do for your images. This image illustrates the qualities of having the light source behind your subject. “Backlighting” is perfect for accentuating shape and adding drama to your images. It filters through translucent, or light colored objects, and infuses tehm with life. Notice how each little needle on these cholla cacti are lit up, showcasing both the sheer magnitude and quirky nature of this location.

Secondly–this image is a legit study in depth of field. To help people better understand depth of field, I often compare my photographic frame to a loaf of bread. Think of the image in a three-dimensional way–the foreground is your front slice of bread, the background is your back slice of bread. Depth of field pertains to how many “slices” of bread will appear sharp or in focus within our image.

This image illustrates shallow depth of field. You can see that I’ve utilized a technique called selective focus to steer the viewer to a certain part of my frame, focusing on a certain cholla cactus. So, in reference to the loaf of bread example, I have very few slices of bread in focus. Selective focus (utilizing shallow DOF), is a very useful technique when you have busy compositions that would otherwise leave viewers confused and searching frantically for something to settle on visually.

Try this technique the next time you find yourself amidst a challenging, busy composition–and pay attention to that light source, give a go with backlighting!

3 thoughts on “Joshua Tree Sunrise (Study in Light and DOF)

  1. Hi, my name ids Kris Berg, I am looking to purchase some great photos of Downtown SLC with the mountain behind it and other various angles. I will be using the images on (5) 20′ X 8′ fabric banners for a 9-1-1 educational conference being held April 13-17 at the grand america. This is the only time they will be used and this is an educational conference for 9-1-1 dispatcher from across the Us and internationally ( about 1,00 of them). SInce the fabric is so large I am looking for very high resolution since I need to blow it up so much. IS there a possibility you have any photos for sale that would fit this Please let me know if you do as soon as possible 801-363-9127. I would also be glad to give you credit on the banners as well.

    Your photos are beautiful— KB

  2. I am looking to purchase a picture of snowbird that i,have seen that Adam barker took. How do I go about getting that shot?

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