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photography lesson #1

July 17, 2010

I’m trying to learn the basics of photography so I can take better pictures to share with you all, and today was day 1. I headed out into our backyard to test out my understanding of (1) aperture, (2) shutter speed, and (3) exposure settings.

I headed over to the apple tree first to test aperture, which is basically how much of the photo will be in focus – the lower the number, the less will be in focus (although the wider the opening, meaning it’s letting in more light – kinda confusing) and the higher the number, the more will be in focus (and the narrower the opening).
Here, the aperture is at 5.6, which is the lowest our camera will go – you can see pretty much only the apples and leaves are in focus and the background is blurry:

Here, the aperture is at 36, which is the highest our camera will go, and you can see that the bushes in the background are now much more in focus:

Okay, so on to shutter speed. The faster the shutter speed (or smaller the fraction), the more detail you will get from a moving object – great for sports shots or any kind of movement. I thought it would be cool to shoot running water – here’s my first attempt at our indoor kitchen sink:
Disaster. Because the shutter speed is so fast, not enough light is let into the camera, and even after lowering the aperture and increasing the ISO setting as much as possible, still too dark – so I went outside. Here’s the hose with a shutter speed of 1/30:
Not much to look at, so here it is with shutter speed of 1/4000:
Cool! And while the hose was on I sprayed the apples cuz I thought it would look pretty 🙂
So finally, onto exposure. The camera’s auto settings are usually pretty good at determining what the exposure should be, but sometimes with an item that is dark in color, it overcompensates and it comes out too bright – case in point:

The dark purple of the flower was making the camera try to lighten it up too much, so I used the AV +/- button to adjust the exposure down manually and here it is again:
Much better.

Finally, I wanted to take a picture of the lemon bowl in our kitchen – here’s the first one:
I realized the shutter speed was still set too high for indoors, so I decreased it to 1/250 and increased the exposure:
Eeek! Too much exposure. Took that down a bit:
Better! Though I really need to clean that bowl…
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2010 6:51 pm

    Thanks for all this information and detail! very interesting and very good shots to demonstrate!

  2. August 4, 2010 7:39 pm

    Have fun with learning! I think you’re going about it the right way; by doing instead of reading. I’m an amateur photographer myself and I always get excited to see what I photograph now compared to two years ago. Keep it up!!

  3. September 25, 2010 4:58 pm

    great article. keep on writing.

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