Large = small, but small = large?

So, our most recent photography assignement was on aperture. You know that one that really confuses everyone. What we learned the night of our lesson is that photography light is measured in steps. There is actually some geometry involved in the calculation of the f-stops, but I certainly don't want to lose anybody with the explanation!

Aperture is a really cool setting on your camera once you realize what you can do with it. Aperture has to do with how wide the lens is open. With a wide open lens (or large aperture which is a small f-stop number), you can decrease the depth of field which gives you that blurred background which is amazing with portrait photography. With a small lens opening (or small aperture which is a large f-stop number), you can increase the depth of field which works well for landscape photography.

Here are a couple of examples from my 'homework':

Picture #1: this picture was shot at a shutter speed of 1/640s, ISO at 1600 and aperture at f/18. I used a high ISO number because I was under a roof and didn't want the flash to come on. This allowed enough light to come into the lens even though the aperture was small. Notice how clear the background is in this picture.

Picture #2: this picture was shot at a shutter speed of 1/500s, ISO at 100, but with an aperture of f/4.5. Notice the difference between this picture and picture #1?

Picture #3: this picture was shot at a shutter speed of 1/250s, ISO at 100, and aperture of f/4.5. This picture is very similar in its effect as picture #2. Notice the settings of picture #2 and this one.

Picture #4: this picture was shot at a shutter speed of 1/8s, ISO at 100, and aperture of f/22. Notice the difference?

The great thing about digital is the ability to play around with settings, take as many pictures as you want, and not having to pay for film processing! Back when I was using film, I would never have taken as many pictures as I do today.

Are you ready to move your camera off of auto and give manual a try? Remember that large aperture = small number = decreases depth of field. Then on the other end, small aperture = large number = increases depth of field.

Let me know if you post pictures on your blog giving this a try! Happy picture taking!