Lately I’ve been concentrating on composing my pictures with some depth. It’s nice to see a sweeping landscape but images have a lot more impact when your eye is made to wander over the image. Here I wanted the viewer to see those beautiful ferns and then to look out at the beach, the Sutro Baths ruins, the rock and finally the sunset.
This focusing technique to ensure the entire image, back to front, is within an acceptable sharpness is called a hyperfocal distance. For this image I focused 2.7′ out because I had an aperture of f/22 and I was at a focal length of 24mm on my 16-35mm lens. How did I know this? Well, there is a long and a short explanation. I’m going the route of the short explanation. 🙂
There is a very succinct webpage that has a chart where you can enter your aperture and focal length so you can find out how far out to focus to ensure an acceptable sharpness back to front. The interactive chart can be found here. If you scroll down you can see the chart which supports both feet and meters. You just enter the format of your camera in the box above the chart, select feet or meters, and then find your aperture and focal length. You’ll see there if you enter my data for this image, which is a 35mm full frame camera, f/22 and 24mm, that the table says I should focus 2.7′.
I included a screen shot of my result. (Note that the narrower your aperture and the wider your focal length, the closer you will focus to the front of your image.)
I hope this helps you achieve sharper images!