David Johnston

All About Hyperfocal Distance

David Johnston
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Duration:   7  mins

You love shooting scenic landscapes, but you want to shake things up, perhaps experiment with various focal length settings. In this premium video lesson, professional photographer David Johnston takes you through the process of working with hyperfocal distance. You will be amazed what it can do to sharpen your compositions.

In a wooded setting in his home state of Tennessee, David finds a lengthy boardwalk bridge. His goal is to take the viewer’s eye from the start of the boardwalk all the way back into the forest. Of course, this creates focus issues. Enter hyperfocal distance, a technique that will allow you to make a sharply focused image from foreground to background in one exposure. For his boardwalk shot, David uses a 17-28mm wide angle lens set at f16, ISO 400.

There are two ways to employ hyperfocal distance. One is a mathematical formula which David shows you how to calculate. The other is to focus on the halfway point that is one third of the way into the bottom of the frame. You will probably need to experiment with this method by shooting different shots. In hyperlocal distance calculations, vertical images are the most difficult. But you will always use a wide angle lens set at a high f-stop such as f16 or f22. For shooting night sky images like star formations, you will probably be using low f-stops such as f.2 or f1.4. To achieve hyperfocal distance in those cases, you will need to make tests and even mark focus points on your lens with a grease pencil.

Follow along as Outdoor Photography Guide’s professional photographer David Johnston guides you through the process of hyperfocal distance. In one frame, you can create wide angle images that are very sharp, and you will have fun with the creative challenge.

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