Friday, June 17, 2011

Aperture mode is tricky!

So, yesterday I spent the day in aperture mode on my camera. I must have taken over two HUNDRED shots. And... four were decent. :/

I started with a great idea to shoot down the keyboard of the piano. I thought it was a super idea! It was sooo hard! So much blur. So much over exposure. Blah. Blah. and Blah.

BUT, the very last picture, after pulling together all of the info about what *didn't* work before, I got a decent pic:

The problem really *was* shooting in aperture. I like control, and aperture ain't where the control is.

When you use the shutter speed mode on a camera (controls light - you can keep things from blurring, or intentionally make them blur here), your camera automatically calculates what the best aperture (depth of field: making the crisp sharp landscape or the blurry background behind the subject) is.

Well, when you flip flop that and choose the aperture, most of the lighting control goes to the camera. So yesterday, when I chose an aperture of 8, the camera chose a super long shutter speed, which resulted in lots of over exposed and blurry pics.

I am whining. Sorry. I am sure it will get easier, but this is like writing with my left hand.

I took a pic of Matt reading a book next, hoping that the "stuff" in the background would blur more than it did.

It is a cute pic, but not as much blur as I'd hoped.

Next, as I went up to the "loft" (AKA: attic) I saw BJ the cat lying in the window. Great idea! So I ran back down and got Emily to comfort the cat while I came up with the tripod (trying to rule out the blur) and my camera.

One tap against the wall with the tripod leg and the cat was OUT OF THERE! But, luckily I have Tilly, who likes to lie still for endless amounts of time, so we put him in the window instead.

Now the instructor, in addition to teaching about aperture last class, also taught about flash. The information that I have gleaned from photography tips all across the web is to NOT use a flash. Ever. It ruins the picture and makes it look flat. And I've believed it.

But the instructor insists that what separates a good photographer from a great photographer is understanding and correctly using flash. The trick, he says, is to use just enough flash to balance out the light. Don't have a super light background and a dark subject, but also don't overuse the flash where the subject looks flat because all shadows are gone. The trick is balance, young grasshopper. (ok, so he didn't call us "young grasshoppers"; I just added that for affect. Did it work? ;)

Sooo... yesterday when I was photographing Tilly, I noticed that I couldn't see his markings on the side of his body closest to me & hidden in the shadows. So I adjusted the flash amount and voila!

I don't know if my instructor would agree that the amount of flash I used was sufficient. It is so hard to know how much is enough.....

Anyway. Today I plan on trying some more. I know that "practice makes perfect" and "if at first you don't suceed, try, try, again." And I'll work on not whining too.

Until tomorrow then,


  1. Something you would love: the LightScoop - for $30, it's so fun! Would work with your camera - wish it would work with mine! Here's a fun review:

  2. Thanks for the link, Becca :)

    I was pleasantly surprised when the instructor showed us how to turn down the "volume" on the flash. It is controlled in the menu section of the camera. Controlling the amount of flash keeps from washing out the subject, like on those pics on that blog. (I'm sure that you already knew that, but I wonder if the person with that blog does.)

    For now, I'll just play with that (the internal flash & control volume), but someday, I'll be looking into an external flash & I'll keep that one in mind. :)

  3. Oh, it's not an external flash, just a modifier that slides onto your camera pop-up flash. Super easy to use. Dialing down the flash is awesome when you know what light situation you'll be in. I find the menu options cumbersome, but I know this blogger doesn't focus on photography - she's a costume designer and seamstress. :) I love seeing you post what you're learning! It's so fun! Love the picts.