I want to take a picture showing something disappearing off to infinity, representing that by the subject getting blurry as it recedes. I thought a tall power pole was a good subject, but the best I have done is shown. This was shot using a Canon M6 Mk II (APS-C sensor) and 35 mm f/3.5 focused at about 6 ft, which is closer than anything in the frame. I shot four horizontal frames from the ground near the pole, leaving the focus and exposure the same for all the shots. I then merged them to Panorama in Lightroom using the Perspective option, then cropped a bit of the width. I could open the lens more, there was a glitch that day, but it doesn't feel close to what I was wanting at all. Suggestions? Can one do a graduated blur filter in Photoshop?
Sounds like you're basically trying to create a 'bokehrama', i.e., the Brenizer method, where you stitch together several shots to simulate otherwise impossible shallow depth of field, such apparent apertures wider than f/.5.
Because you're stitching images to create a wider field of view, thereby reducing the apparent size of distant points, you need to start with as wide an aperture as possible, with a long focal length lens (that is, narrow field of view).
And because the "infinity" subject (the top of the pole) is really only about 50' away (guessing), you need to focus about as close as you can. Think of it this way: in macro photography, just about everything beyond a couple focal lengths or so is pretty much completely out of focus (which is what you're goin after).
- Longer focal length. At least 100mm.
- The wider the aperture, the better.
- Closer focus. Probably 3–4 ft if you can.
Because of those constraints, your best results will be with a prime portrait lens, perhaps a macro lens (but macros tend not to be as fast as good prime portraits).
As scottbb said, getting closer was the ticket. It was a journey that had me abandon the panorama approach. One image I like is below. The 15-45 lens for my Canon M6 focuses rather close. I cropped the bottom of the photo which was too close for the focus, but this is 15mm and f/10.