Life, Learning and the Photos taken in between.

Understanding Aperture.

Learning and understanding your DSLR and its settings is one if not the most important steps that will distinguish a photographer from someone with a fancy camera. Aperture is more than just a program for Mac systems. Aperture in photography is the control of the opening in your lens called the IRIS, which allows light to travel to the sensor, also called f stop. Changing your aperture will control the dept of field (What is in focus) as well as the amount of light that reaches the sensor. Now learning aperture will not define your image however it is a major contributing factor. ISO and shutter speed and not to mention compisition are the contributing ingredients to your image. Today im just going to focus on aperture.

What is the difference in aperture settings you ask, keep reading. Below is a photo of the Aperture scale which will some what help you understand a little further. Aperture settings vary with different lenses and can range from f/1.4 to f/22.  The lowest number is the widest setting to the highest being the smallest.

Below are a series of shots taken in A Mode (aperture select). In aperture select mode you control your aperture while the camera controls the shutter speed. I almost never shoot in A Mode but it serves its purpose for this project. I borrowed a couple of my nephews lego toys for my Subject in this project. I shot these using my Nikon d90, 50mm 1.8 lens, and tripod. The purpose of using the tripod was to reduce any motion and get the same picture with each shot.  So here we go…..

(f1.8)

(f2.8)

(f3.5)

(f4.5)

(f5.6)

(f7.1)

(f8)

(f10)

(f11)

(f22)

My subject was the lego man with the green Lego Dinosaur placed in the background to help show the affects of the changing aperture. The Dinosaur goes from being completely blown out to fully in focus by gradually bringing the aperture a stop down.  Of course the shutter speed has also changed in each shot or else the end result would have been a complete black image.

So when should you change your aperture you ask? That all depends on how you want your image to look. We all have our own perception of what we like and photographers are no different. I always pre-visualize they way I want my image to look before I shoot so I know what settings and angles to set up with.  For portraits and low light situations I will use a smaller f stop which for portraits, will blow out whatever is in the background (shallow depth of field) and focus in only on your subject.  A larger f stop is better for scenic and action shots depending on your lighting, the shutter speed will be decreased with a larger f stop. So hopefully I was able to explain Aperture enough that you can now understand the term. Google, Wikepedia and youtube all have great videos and articles that go deeper into Aperture. I will be out shooting some holiday content for the next installment of this blog so if you have something that you think would be a great holiday photo, please feel free to drop me an email.  Until next time Holiday suckas….

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