Christmas Tree Depth of Field

Having a Christmas tree in my living room is a great opportunity to play with my camera and its settings. Here's a really quick way to demonstrate how different aperture (f/stop) settings can affect your image. (If my sister Nanc is reading, you can use your camera to replicate this exercise!)

First...large DOF (Depth of Field). Using a tripod is necessary due to the long exposure time required when using an aperture of f/22 in such a low light situation.

Canon 7D, 50mm 1.4 lens
ISO 100
Manual Mode
Aperture: f/22
Shutter Speed: 6 seconds
No Flash

You can see that everything is in focus and the f/22 aperture makes the lights on the tree appear as little starbursts.
xmas_dof001


Next, to contrast the first photo, this one uses an extremely shallow DOF.
Canon 7D, 50mm 1.4 lens
ISO 100
Manual Mode
Aperture: f/2.0
Shutter Speed: 1/100 seconds
Flash bounced off ceiling to illuminate the Santa

From the same location as the first photo, this one focuses on the LSU Santa with a very shallow DOF of f/2.0. This blurs all of the background (known as bokeh) and makes the small lights on the tree appear as big orbs.
xmas_dof002