Monday, March 29, 2010

Korean War Memorial

My last couple of posts have featured photographs from the Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC.  This post focuses on the Korean Memorial.  The challenge for the photography in each of these posts was shooting subjects that are photographed thousands of times each day, and yet finding something unique and appealing.
I will let you be the judge of whether I accomplished my objective, but I would like to comment briefly on the second photograph – I am confident I achieved my objective with this shot.  While I was photographing around the memorial, I was lucky enough to encounter a wreath laying ceremony including a number of Korean military officers, Korean war veterans, and what appeared to be representation from the Embassy of South Korea.  The coincidence of this event presented the opportunity to take the second photograph.  For me this photograph does a nice job of telling a story.  In the foreground, the official party for the wreath laying ceremony is watched closely by the soldier in the background.  It is almost as if the roles have been reversed – the unfocused and ghostly looking people in the present form a frame for the clearly focused apparition of the past.
All of the photographs featured in this post were taken with the same lens, the same intent, and same approach.  All of the photographs were taken with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8L IS lens and were shot at open apertures of f2.8 to f4.  The combination of longer focal length and the open aperture results in a quite shallow depth of field.  In other words, the subject is in focus, but the those things that are not at the same distance as the subject, are not in focus.
Mostly, this approach is used to blur the background and draw attention to the subject as with the photograph of the baritone player.  However, it works equally as well by blurring the foreground and leaving your subject in sharp focus as is the case for the second photograph and the one following.  The next photograph, while being a good example of blurring the foreground, is also a good example of what depth of field means.  In this case, the foreground is blurred, the subject is in focus, and the background is blurred.  As you can see, there is some distance X to Y from the camera that is in focus (the focal plane) and the remainder is not…either in the foreground, or the background.
I hope you found this a new and interesting look at the Korean War Memorial.
Have fun and go make some great photography.

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