2011 Bible Bee Highlights

by | Nov 21, 2011 | Tips & Tricks | 3 comments

Between fulfilling volunteer responsibilities and attending various events at the National Bible Bee in Nashville, Tennessee, I was able to snap a few shots of the friendly, spirited, and emotionally thrilling mood of the occasion!

In both shooting and editing, I was reminded over and over again of how important depth of field is to a pleasing composition. If you do not know already, there are three factors that determines how “deep” your depth of field will be:

  1. Aperture. The wider the aperture, the shallower the depth of field.
  2. Focal length. The further you zoom in, the more blurred the background will be.
  3. Distance. The closer you are to the subject, the less detail in the background you will see.

So, having said thus, here are a few of my favorite images from the Bible Bee. Notice the depth of field in every single one of them.

4084_Canon EOS 40D, 37 mm, 1-30 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 800

My absolute favorite from the week!

3995_Canon EOS 40D, 43 mm, 1-15 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 800

I love the combination of DOF and subject movement which draws the eye to the joyous countenance of the father’s face.

4047_Canon EOS 40D, 55 mm, 1-40 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 800

Blurred just enough to produce a cool effect while still giving enough detail to know what story the picture is telling.

4177_Canon EOS 40D, 200 mm, 1-30 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 800

Not much you can do with depth of field when the speaker is so far away, even from the front rows of the auditorium. But still, when Kirk Cameron is speaking live, an ok picture is more valuable than none at all.

4007_Canon EOS 40D, 31 mm, 1-20 sec at f - 2.8, ISO 800

Just a very cute shot. 🙂

4363_Canon EOS 40D, 200 mm, 1-125 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 800

GraceAnn Westfahl, 2nd place winner of the Senior division.

4469_Canon EOS 40D, 200 mm, 1-100 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 800

Keli Erickson, 1st place winner of the Senior division!


  1. Benjamin Cahill

    James, I know this may be a nitpick, but I’ll say it anyway.

    Focal length does not affect DOF (the horizontal plane which can be considered ‘in focus’). It only compresses the background, therefore magnifying it, and enlarging the blur.

    In case anyone reads the comments, here’s a link that explains why the focal length affects background blur (and not DOF).


    Scroll down to the flower pictures, and read the paragraph below.

    Once I understood this, the mystery of why focal length affects background blur was no more. It makes sense!

  2. Benjamin Cahill

    Oh, I forgot to say in my last comment that the pictures are great! It looks like a wonderful time was had by all. 😉

    I wholeheartedly agree that background blur can be an essential element in bringing out the subject of a photo. This is one of the reasons I’d like to get an SLR. As I shoot on a point-and-shoot with a 6-60mm lens, there isn’t much to be gotten as far as background blur due to the miniscule focal lengths involved. (see my above comment) 😉

  3. James

    Very true! That makes sense. I didn’t know that before! Thanks Benjamin.


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