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"A" is for Aperture

This week has been a great eye-opener (both literally and figuratively) for several reasons:

1.  I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to be inspired be a single letter!  I thought “A” would be an easy letter to pick and chose inspiration of my choice–but it turned out to be a flop.  Either I need to get my creative a$$ in gear, or I just need to plain old get better at using my eyes!

2.  I am not good at making manual settings on my camera.  Can anyone say “ego-blow??”  I’m not afraid to admit it though–and I am even going to take this project a little more trying for myself (because I want to get the most out of it) and I am going to try to commit to posting SOOC. For all of my friends who don’t  frequent photographer lingo, SOOC stands for “straight out of the camera.”  This means, no editing, cropping, or fine tuning {scarryyyy}…and it is not a pleasant thought for me! (that is, unless I get really good at it!)

3.  In trying to conceptualize how I will present this project I decided a revamp was TOTALLY necessary for many reasons–but mainly so that it’d be more appealing for my readers to stop by if they could follow things more easily.  I hope you like the new blog look!  (Thanks for the tip Jenn!).  In shopping around and playing with HTML a little bit I got really excited about what this blog could be, and maybe someday I’ll get all fancy shmancy.  Even though I am out of school for the summer, I realized my time is still CrUnChEd!  So I didn’t get to post yesterday like I had hoped, (because I was workin’ on the blog) but I hope today will suffice!

4.  To finish out the “eye opening” pun–in honor of the letter A being the first letter for Aperture I decided that in these posts I will not only include my photos from the day but I would also focus on a certain element of photography that the letter of the week starts for.  In this case it’s going to be Aperture, and as you will further read, the aperture of a camera is basically like the eye of the camera that “opens and closes”.  Not only will this help expand my knowledge on the subject, but I thought it would be a good way to reach out to those of you who have asked for tips or advice etc.  I will be the first to admit I do not know everything about the topic I adore so–but it is something that I am eager to expand my repertoire in and I hope that you can get something out of it as well!

5.  Finally–I feel naked!  I have been anxious about posting this week because it’s basically a post of my flaws!  Please don’t judge me or let these posts take away from your opinion of me.  I am confident in my ability to turn out quality images to all of my clients, this is merely an attempt to make them even better!  If you haven’t yet, check out my facebook fan page, and my website to see a portfolio of my images!  Anyway, onto the important stuff!

A is for Aperture:

Aperture has to do with light (photography is all about light if you haven’t realized it by now).
First I’ll show you the part of your camera that is affected when you change the aperture.
Ignore the numbers for a second, we will come back to those.

(Thanks for the image Short Courses)

See that little circular thing? It’s called a diaphragm. The width of that opening determines your aperture. Except it all gets very confusing because a BIGGER opening means a SMALLER aperture.  If you keep reading I’ll teach you the phrase that helped me remember how that works–because it’s kinda backwards!

Having the opening very small lets in less light (now that makes sense, because there is less space for the light to pass through). Having it very big let’s in lots of light (again, sensible!). Now look at the picture above again. See the numbers? Those are the measurements of the aperture, and they are called F-STOPS. If I start with f/1.4 and then change to f/2.8 I have gone up by two stops.

So when you hear or read that someone takes their picture on f/1.4, they are telling you that they took the picture with the diaphragm wide-open to let lot’s of light in. Jasmine Star, one of my favorite photographers, has said many times that she shoots “wide-open”, and she is saying that she likes to shoot somewhere around f/1.4. As I will explain below and you will notice in her pictures, this helps make the photos have a bright and airy feel, as well as {frequently} a wide depth of field.

SO–Aperture=size of the opening of the diaphragm.

Q: What does aperture do for my pictures?

A: Aperture affects the depth of field.

Depth of field (DOF), is quite simply, the portion of a scene that appears sharp in an image.

To be clear, aperture is not depth of field, it merely affects what the depth of field is in a photo.

{Aperture, out of all of these concepts, is the one where you most need a dSLR to manipulate it. I took the below photos with a lens that has an aperture range of f/1.4-f/14, which is something that a point and shoot just can’t have.}
A photo with all parts in focus has a very large depth of field.

To help you see aperture in action I enlisted a wine bottle and a couple of it’s friends 😉
I started out by arranging my subjects so that they were going to be varying distances away from me. If they were all lined up in the same “field” together, I would be able to have no depth of field. Does that make sense? You will see in a second.

(ISO 3200, f/14….see how grainy the picture is?
That is related to ISO which We’ll go over when I get to “i”)

I started out with a very small aperture. f/14
An aperture of f/14 has a very great depth of field, so all the things in my photo are in focus.

(ISO 3200, f/14)

Then I stopped down all the way to f/4.0. Can you see how the glass that is farthest away from me is now out of focus? This photo has a shallower depth of field than the one above.

(ISO 200, f/4)

Next I stopped down as far as my lens would go, to f/1.4. See how only the wine bottle is in focus?

(ISO 200, f/1.4…I probably should have went down to 100 ISO…but related, see how much brighter this image is? It is partly because my F-stop is so low…remember, lower F=more light!)

Now I’ll teach you the trick that helped me to remember how aperture works.

A smaller number will have less in focus. (As seen in the photo below where aperture is set at f/1.4)

Isn’t that super easy to remember? So when you are out taking picture of the cutest little kid in town, and you want just the face to be in focus you can think “I should take my aperture down to f/2.8 so that I can have just the adorable mug in focus and not the entire gang he’s walkin’ around with!!”

Smaller number = less in focus.

Shallow depth of field is really fun because you can do pictures like this! The two glasses are in focus because they are both on the same plane.

Here you see just the label is in focus.

Now I will show you some, {less exciting} photos featuring “A” somehow…

Here, one of my favorite subjects (my boy cat Ashton) sits Awaiting someone to play with his favorite toy–a shoe string.  You’d think he was starved attention and pampering, rather he chooses the cheapest simplest “toy” to be infatuated with.  {He does have a BASKET of legitimate cat toys, I swear}

Next, I might as well throw in my second favorite subject (my girl cat Daphne).  For this one I’ll stretch the “A” theme a bit–because it was such a cute incident I wanted to capture it and share it.  The “A” in this photo will be Animal Awaiting.  Those of you that know Daphne, (or as my best friend calls her “Priscilla” {who knows}) she is a shy timid, happy cat who is okay with Ashton dominating her.  Here she was “hiding” behind our plant, waiting for Ashton to walk by so she could pounce.  She was in a playful mood, and Ashton was not….

Something I love {the look of}, is words.  If I could figure out a way to put words all over my house that was not gaudy or overbearing I would.  Letters have a dimensions and I feel are so artistic.  It’s even better when they say something powerful and meaningful–like “family”.  Means to much to everyone in so many different ways.  I miss mine–here, I lowered the aperture and tried to focus solely on the “A”.

Another one of my loves in life is crafts/art!  One of my favorite clients gave me an awesome gift card to Michael’s and I couldn’t wait to get over there and shop around!  After meeting with a different client right next to Michael’s I thought it’d be a perfect time to head on over! So I did, and I snagged a bunch of fun stuff I wouldn’t normally buy but have been waiting to try for quite some time, even better I get to use it to make stuff for my wedding!  This image fits into the “A” category in a couple ways. . . First, its “Art supplies”, and second, my “Alter ego” is Martha Stewart! 🙂

I talked my fiance’ into joining a Kickball, (yep, that’s right I said kickball–or as a co-worker told me it was called, soccerbaseball) league.  We are on a team called “the bad news beers” kindly borrowed from “the bad news bears”.  And it’s true, we are certainly a mixture of the team from the movie, and the Globetrotters (un-purposefully but amazingly still the same).  We were getting ready for our weekly game this Thursday and Ryan (my fiance’) realized it might be a good idea to whip out the good ‘ole kleets due to the buckets of rain we had received just hours before!  And look, they were Adidas Athletic shoes!

Finally, I was able to meander down the road and inspect this little area I have always secretly been desiring to spy on.  There is an abandoned old Inn right down the street from my house.  Recently we were invited to a city meeting about the redevelopment of the area, which made my need to check out the space a bit more urgent.  Luckily, it fit into my theme of the week perfectly, “Abandoned”

There ya have it!

Next week I will be focusing on “Bokeh”.  See you then!

  • Anonymous - i feel like such a slacker compared to you. you rock……good work and thanks for the lesson. 🙂ReplyCancel

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