Tuesday, November 29, 2011

{Finally} Learning to Use my DSLR - Aperture

This morning I decided to get my three ring binder out again and move on to lesson two of the photography class I started two and a half years ago.  : )  {See previous post.}

I knew it was on aperture/depth of field, and for some reason, this part always worries me.  It's simple enough, right?  You use depth of field to determine what area of your picture is in focus.  Is the background in focus, or is it blurred?  The higher the number, the more in focus the background is.  The lower the number, the less focused {or blurred} the background is, causing your eye to be drawn to the main subject of your photo.  Then why have I had such a hard time getting it right when I've practiced this before???  Maybe it's because I needed my trusty tripod to help keep the camera steady enough to take a clear picture.  You see, when you adjust the aperture, you're adjusting the amount of light that comes into your lens, so when you use a small number or small depth of field, your shutter has to stay open long enough to get the right exposure.  So, when I took the first photo below, I was shooting in A mode  on f/36 {the highest f stop my camera lens has}, and my camera decided for me that the shutter had to stay open for 4 seconds to get a photo that was exposed correctly.  I could never hold my camera still enough for four seconds to get a clear shot.  I do not have a steady hand.  It is a good thing that I never wanted to be a surgeon.  So, all of those times that I tried before and thought I failed, I just couldn't hold my camera still enough for long enough to get a clear shot because all of the camera shake I was causing.  I made my pictures blurry. I fixed the problem today.

I just used what I had on hand - Christmas decor - to practice with, but taking my time with this lesson and typing out why it worked this time really helped me to better understand aperture and depth of field.  The part that still confuses me though, is how I can manage to use aperture mode without enormous amounts of light to help keep the shutter speed fast.  Otherwise, I'll just end up with blurry pictures again.  Oh well, there is a reason I signed up for this class so long ago.  So I could figure this stuff out!   
On to lesson three - Manual Mode!  I'm scared.  I just don't see yet how I am going to make it all work together, but I am sure going to try.  I'm hoping to get lesson three done this week and post about it by Friday.  Check back soon!

Edited Friday, December 2nd:
I read lesson three this week and so far it all seems to make sense. Now I just need to get my camera out and practice using manual!  The last few days have been busy, {and insanely windy here}, so I haven't gotten around to trying it out.  I'm hoping I can this weekend though!

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