Focus at different apertures

Looking for something different for this exercise I found 2 scenes that I thought worthy;  moored boats and some old railway wagons parked in a siding both of which I thought contain enough detail to pick out the sharpness limits and could be viewed at an angle.  I first photographed the boats but when I reviewed the shots in camera I could not see with any degree of clarity the effect being sought so I reverted to the railway wagons as it was a more compact scene and had a row of terraced houses behind which I thought might add value; the result was not what I expected or hoped for and I am finding it hard to get my head around the result insomuch as the sharpness limits are not well defined.  My selected apertures were; f2.8; f8; f22; the camera was tripod mounted and I used a remote release.  I went a bit off piste for me in that I went into manual mode. The focus point was the front wheel of the flat wagon behind the green tank wagon ie 5th wagon from the right.

1/320 sec at f2.8

1/320 sec at f2.8

1/80 sec at f8

1/80 sec at f8

1/10 sec at f22

1/10 sec at f22

In the first instance I was disappointed with the sharpness around the focus point at f2.8 and wonder whether this is the effect of the low contrast as the camera was set to single focus point, but I did not detect any evidence of the autofocus hunting.  However, the theory of shallow depth of field is demonstrated with the foreground and background out of focus.  At f8 there is a distinct improvement in sharpness as evidenced by the rail tracks in the foreground, the houses in the background and the wagons either side of the focus point.  The final shot at f22, whilst not looking too much different from the shot at f8, shows a considerable difference to that at f2.8 with the majority of the shot in focus.

In terms of my preference, I go for the shot at f22. I chose the scene for the variety of wagons, their shapes, sizes colours and construction and the detail in the tracks.  As such, I wish to see as much in sharp focus as possible; the fact that it is taken at an angle does not allow for the isolation of the wagons from the other elements in the scene.

The prints I made are not too good and do little to boost morale; I suspect the paper quality does not help!

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