Photographing Through a Fence

Peggy Farren 2016-08-14
For the fifth year in a row, I was the leader for Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk. This year we decided on the Naples Zoo, which is free to Collier County residents on the first Saturday of each month.

A big challenge is shooting through the fences at the zoo. How do you blur out the fence yet have the animal sharp?

Blurring out one part of the picture while another is sharp is called a shallow depth of field (DOF). You can achieve a shallow DOF these ways:

  1. Open your aperture as wide as possible. With the lens I was using, I could only open it to F5.6 when zoomed all the way.
  2. Zooming as much as possible will also give you a shallow DOF.
  3. The fence needs to be quite far from the animal.
  4. You need to be as close to the fence as you can get.
  5. Use manual focus so your focus can stay on the animal and not “catch” the fence.
I couldn’t get very close to the fence so it didn’t blur out completely in this picture.

I zoomed in as much as I could through the hole in the fence. The fence is blurred out almost completely.
Settings SS250 F5.6 ISO3200

Try these tips the next time you see a chain link fence. It’s really not as easy as it seems so practice makes perfect. The animals are moving targets and that’s tough using manual focus and a long lens. But you are up for the challenge I am sure!!

~Peggy Farren is a professional photographer, instructor, speaker and the founder of Understand Photography Training Center. You can view her work or check out her classes here:
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