Gardening and photography are two pastimes that, combined, in addition to providing us with the way to escape from everyday worries, relax us and give us the pleasure of creating a living and refined works. Even a simple camera, used with the necessary precautions, is sufficient to obtain good results, without having to resort to high-quality devices, what can be done later, when the needs increase as the photographer’s expertise increases and his sensitivity. The garden offers the amateur photographer great satisfaction. There are hundreds of ways to make a garden useful for creating compositional effects, suggestive combinations of figures, flowers and color contrasts; in it the portraits find an ideal frame, a harmonizing scenario, especially as regards the children who take on that casual attitude, unfailingly lost when they have to pose in another environment. Photographing your garden, in the splendor of spring or summer, also allows you to make comparisons, think of other accommodations for the following year; it means to see it grow.

Power of macro photography and technique that allows you to keep the subject in focus and blur the background, on which the flower stands out in all its beauty.

Power of macro photography
Power of macro photography

To understand how this happens, you first need to know how the images are formed on the sensor (on film in analog cameras). It all stems from the fact that the angle of view of a lens is different from the binocular field of vision, that is, from what the two eyes of man see.

It all stems from the fact that the angle of field of a lens is different from the binocular field of view, that is from what they see the two eyes of man

By simplifying, we can state that, when we observe, what is outside the field of vision is not perceived by our eyes. The same thing happens with the angle of view of the lenses, which changes depending on the focal length.
For our example, among all the possible targets we have chosen the normal objective. A target is said to be normal if its focal length is even (or approximately equal) to the diagonal of the sensor. The full frame sensor (24×36 mm or Leica) is as large as a frame of the film and is, in our opinion, the format par excellence of photography, more expensive but preferable to various APS formats, which are smaller. The normal lenses for the full frame, all have a focal length of 50 mm. Photographs made with the normal lens have the property of reproducing the framed scene more or less as our eyes see it. But this does not mean that the angle of view of a normal lens is equal to the human visual field. In fact, a 50 mm lens has a field angle, both horizontal and vertical, equal to 46 °, very different from the human visual field.
After these premises, we can proceed to the discovery of how the image is formed on the image plane, which we will call PI.

Today, lenses are made up of several lenses which, however, behave substantially like a single lens. We therefore feel free to represent the lens as a single lens. And we do not do anything wrong: the first objectives of the history of photography were really composed of a single lens.

How the image is formed

In Figure we see what happens when we look at a scene with a flower and a butterfly, where we have placed three points, all at the same distance D from the lens. We note that the lens does not see the point 3 (butterfly) that is out of its angle of field.

Therefore on the image plane (PI) we will find only the footprints (ie the images) 1 * and 2 * of the points 1 and 2. (En passant we point out that the image will result below, but we will not insist on this point).

Photographers in the garden

Then we removed the flower, the butterfly, the angle of field and left only the points 1 and 2 of the flower. We have added two important elements of the goal. First of all the focus F (red dot), an important point because it is the one where the light rays reflected by a very, very distant point converge: in the language of the photographers they say “a point to infinity” (∞). Then we added the optical center C (point blue) and we have indicated the focal length 50 mm (distance of C from F). Finally we added an indispensable element of the camera, the sensor (S), which will record the fingerprints for us. Let’s go into detail.

● Imprint of point 1. Between all the beams of reflective light 1  there is the one parallel to the optical axis (red line). When this ray meets the target, it is deflected (refracted) through fire F. Let’s take another ray of light reflected from 1, the one passing through C (green line) and that is not deflected. The PI image plane is where the two rays (red and green) meet (ie in 1 *, fingerprint or image of 1) and is parallel to the lens (lens).

● Imprint of point 2. Between all the light beams, refer to 2, the one parallel to the optical axis (gray dashed line) does not meet the target. To find its footprint, consider the light ray reflected by 2 which passes through the optical center C (blue line) and which is not deflected. The impression 2 * is formed where the spoke meets the PI image plane previously found.

Why are these prints formed on the image plane? explains it. With respect to the previous one we left the PI image plane where the 1 * and 2 * impressions of points 1 and 2 are formed. These impressions are formed thanks to the sunlight reflected from 1 and 2 (photography means written with light).

What is photography?

It may seem a trivial question, but the answer would be enough to fill all the pages of this book. Its appeal also derives from the fact that photography has different meanings for each person. Photography is so present in our life that it would be impossible to imagine one without it. We probably could not look at a wedding photo, see the growth of children or we would not be able to go on holiday without a camera. We are continually bombarded with images: newspapers, magazines, advertising as well as on paper, even on television, on the internet. Yet we are never satisfied. What drives us to take pictures? What role does photography play, in relation to other forms of visual expression, in the communication of information and ideas? Does a photographer have any responsibility? What does it actually imply? And what makes an image a success? Throughout the book we will try to give an explanation to these questions with the awareness that photography is a combination of subjective thoughts, creative imagination, visual creation, technical competence and practical organization. With a broad circular look at all aspects of photography, you will be able to focus on your ideas in photographic terms. On the one hand you need to know the technical aspect and the camera, even if you do not need to exceed the details too early, on the other you have different approaches on how to take a picture suitable for the purpose, from documenting an event to communicating an idea to a particular audience, working by expressing their ideas or those of some other person, or by free interpretation to the public.


Aspects of photography

Perhaps you have been attracted to photography because it appears to be a quick, convenient and objective way to register reality. All the importance lies in the meaning of the subject itself and your intent is to objectively show what it is or what it is doing (the first steps of a child or the scratches on the bodywork to show to the insurer). Photography is then realism, it becomes a proof of that situation. In this case the camera is used to capture a visual memory. The other side of photography is when it is used to manipulate or to propose its own interpretation of reality, then the images will essentially bring out personal evaluations and positions. You can create unreal situations (as in advertising) or choose to resume only some aspects of an event and not others (as for internal politics news). Photography is a powerful means of persuasion and propaganda. It enjoys such a reputation for objectivity that, in shrewd hands, makes it possible to transform any reality into another. Take for example the album of your memories. What does it contain, your daily life or just happy moments? Another reason why we dedicate ourselves to photography could be the search for a means of personal expression that allows us to explore our own ideas. It may seem strange that a apparently so objective means can be used to express, for example, the object of a desire, identity, race or fantasy. Probably all of us have seen images ‘represented’ in other objects, like seeing some animals in a cloud formation, in shadows or in rust. A photograph can become intriguing, thanks to the questions we ask ourselves, allowing us to see things that do not exist. The way in which the image is presented is also important, at least as much as the subject. Other types of photographers seek only the beauty and the portray in their ‘picturesque’ style, as an art form in its own right. For many people one of the biggest attractions for photography is equipment. All an ingenious technology designed to satisfy our dexterity and the eye, in fact we feel a great satisfaction in pressing buttons, in triggering high precision mechanisms, in collecting and carrying sophisticated photographic equipment. The tools are undoubtedly of vital importance, and their perfect knowledge is absolutely necessary, but let’s not reduce ourselves to taking pictures just to test the performance of the device! Another attraction is the photographic process itself: a challenge between our technical skills and the final result of the portrait object. The results will then be judged and enjoyed on the basis of their intrinsic photographic qualities: contents of high interest, superb details, richness of tones and colors strongly expressive. The photographic process provides the means to ‘capture what we see’, to obtain images without having to work laborious designs. The camera is a kind of time machine, which ‘freezes’ any person, place or situation we want. It seems that it gives those who use it the power to dominate reality. Another aspect that fascinates is the pleasure of the visual structure of the photographs. There is a real complacency that comes from the composition of the images as such: the geometry of the lines and shapes, the balance of the tones, the ‘cut’ and the structure of the elements, whatever the subject portrayed. All this can be achieved with a change of point of view or with the choice of a certain moment to shoot. These are just some aspects of the different possibilities and the different interests connected to photography. Many then find themselves fused together in the practice of a photographer’s work. Your current interest can be based primarily on technology, on the artistic aspect or on visual communication. We can know where interest is born, but not where it evolves, so it is It is important for a beginner to maintain a certain openness in his mind. Try to equip yourself with the right bases by learning something from all the various aspects, preferably not limiting yourself to the theory, but with a good support of practical applications.

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