Terms – Soft Focus

A soft focus leaves nothing in sharp focus keeping your subject partially obscured for the viewer’s imagination to fill-in.

Normally in a photo the focus would be sharpest at the point you want the viewer to look. So obviously total focus is not always desirable. Keep this in mind: the human eye will search out a point on which it can rest. The purpose for resting is not important now but to know this is huge.

A resting point for the human eye is important so keep your focal point in context.

Search for yourself and find some examples to illustrate your findings through research.

I have found that the eye is looking for the point with the most detail and least distraction. This leads me to believe that the point closest to fully focused (if properly achieved) should be a type of funnel apex. While this makes the most sense logically it may not always work out as intended because of the effects of lighting, contrast and other factors.

I was once told there were four steps to building habits that can be applied to such things as finding the right portrait locations and photographic practices. These steps are:

  1. Unknowingly ignorant
  2. Consciously ignorant
  3. Consciously implemented
  4. Unknowingly implemented

It is “Okay” to make mistakes. It is “Okay” to even repeat mistakes that you do not know are being made. This is giving you the opportunity to consider a possibility in refining your skill and work. This may be your help to see that you are halfway to being a better photographer!

If you choose to make some changes when mistakes are called to your attention and consciously fix or avoid the problem, you have made it to step 3! Keep it up because all that is necessary for step 4 (unconsciously implementing the solution) is consistent good practice!

Inkscape and Darktable

In our discussion of Darktable in “Post-Production Software 3” I briefly mentioned watermarks and proceeded to move on. I am grateful to announce that I have successfully added a watermark to Darktable and now able to discuss the details with you!

It really is as simple as Darktable makes it out to  be in the resources section.

Having downloaded and installed “Inkscape”. I was able to import the image I created as my studio watermark and saved it off as an “SVG” file. Now that the “SVG” file is created, it can be moved to the watermark folder. The “watermark” folder may not be in the given file location listed in Darktable’s user manual. I did some searches and had each folder list its content until I found the “watermark” folder. Making sure to catalog the folder location I moved the “SVG” file into it and started the Darktable program to make sure it saw the file for watermarking. (If you place the watermarking file in the “watermark” folder while the program is running, use the reload button to the right of the watermark menu.)

Once your watermark is in place, you can change its position or check the box next to “blend” and change the layering modes as well as the opacity of the watermark.

One caution in using “Inkscape” for creating watermarks. When working with layers, be sure to merge all of your layers properly or you will come out with a blank box for text. For

example, below is an example of my mess-up. Watermarking the photo is no problem, however, I was hoping to display my website URL while claiming the intellectual rights of my photograph.

As you can see in the lower right hand side there is a short, white rectangle which was supposed to contain my website URL. I cannot win them all, I guess! This is a good illustration though of learning from mistakes instead of letting the mess-up dictate my choices and attitudes. Each mess-up is an opportunity to learn something new!