Exercise 2.5 -focus flipping

I was pleased to find this scene because the two images tell a story. However, I have to confess that the story is a falsehood – the tree-trail in the background is not the treasure trail referred to on the sign.

Technical details: Olympus E-30, 50mm (100mm equivalent) focal length, 1/60 at f/2.8, shot in RAW and exported unedited (apart from resizing) from Lightroom.


In the upper image, the eye first lands on the signpost pictogram, from where it could move in either direction. The natural reading direction (Western convention, left to right) of the white text leads us into the bokeh, where there are interesting but indistinct shapes and we drift back toward the sharp area.

In the lower image, we go first to the background elements (in my case, the group of tyres) and explore them. The lightest area is the lettering on the signboard, so we visit but are led back into the sharp area by the pictogram.

In each case, we go first to (and spend more time in) the sharp areas. In both cases, the feeling is that the signboard is foreground, but the tree structures appear as subject rather than background in the lower image.

This direction of attention by differential focusing is a device used in film, most obviously in a two-shot conversation to direct attention to the speaker.


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