May 232016

Photo copyright Jake Herbig

Seeing some creative optical illusions, I was inspired to try it myself for a project in my photo 200 class. With the help of some friends, a bright sunny day, and a little creativity anything is possible.

First, finding a suitable area to shoot is very important, because of the large amount space required to obtain the shrinking effect in the image. The campus of Northern Arizona University provided a great area to work with to take this photo. Grabbing a few friends to help doesn’t hurt either. It is a great group activity that can be with numerous people. Finally, setting your camera to make everything in focus is a technique called “Hyper Focal distance.”

There are a few different ways to set this focus correctly, the easiest way my teacher Amy Horn taught me was to download an app that will calculate it for you. After fine-tuning the settings on my camera it came time to start shooting.

After a fair amount of trial and error, I settled on a concept that reflects the photo of this journal entry. I had a few different photos that have similar elements to them, but this is the one I chose to turn in. To get this image this way, I shot with a Canon 70D and a 28mm lens (F11 1/200sec 100Iso).

This set up has a hyper focal distance of 14ft, which means anything from 7ft to infinity will be in focus if done correctly. To still be in focus the basketball was placed exactly at 7ft away from camera, and to correctly make my friend 2x smaller that the ball he needed to be double the distance from the basketball at 21ft from the camera at the very least.

The entire shoot took about 30 minutes to complete. Looking back and reflecting on my work overall this spring semester this photo may not be my best work, but it turned out to be my favorite because of the simplicity of the process I underwent to take this photo. Usually I will prepare 2 to 3 hours before I take a photo. However, this one I just grabbed my camera one day and went out with my friends. There was no researching of any location, I just went outside my dorm and captured the image after I calculated the correct hyper focal distance.

About the Photographer:

My name is Jake Herbig and I was born and raised on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. I am a graphic design major at Northern Arizona University, with a minor in photography. I did not really get into photography until my senior year of high school, which I found I have a natural ability for. In the future, I plan to take my photography a little more seriously.  Website:

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction at take a minute to leave your thoughts and constructive comments in the Comment section below – Jake would love to hear from you!