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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shutter Speeds and Apertures

My classes this session are Color Theory for Web and Multimedia Devices, and Principles of Digital Photography. It seems the first couple of weeks in class are always the toughest for me. I am learning new instructor preferences (some prefer to be called Instructor and their last name, others don't want to be that formal and require that I call them by first name), reading more chapters in a day than I did in a month before I went back to school, and learning more about my new equipment. I'm having a blast through all of this stress, and the girls seem to enjoy having a Photography Student for a mama right now.

In my Photography class, we have been learning about shutter speeds and apertures. You know those pictures of something really close up, and the entire background is blurry? That was done by changing the aperture. Doing shots like that takes practice because you have to also fidget with your shutter speeds and ISO so the picture doesn't come out over or underexposed. I'm not terribly perfect at it yet, but here are a few pictures that I'm pretty proud of.

Notice how this picture is mostly focused? Depth is only shown in the diminishing lines of the toppings dispensers. 
A quick fidgeting with the aperture and shutter speeds on your camera, and you'll get a lovely sense of depth with a small amount of the picture focused. Fun, huh?

Check out the GMC in the background. Kind of focused... right?
Fuzzy now, which brings the frogurt cup and cherry stems star to the focal point. 
The next thing we learned this week was how to play with the shutter speeds. So far, I have learned about two kinds of movement in photography: frozen movement, and action shots. These can be manipulated by fidgeting with the shutter speeds. Again, you can't just fidget with shutter speeds and not mess with aperture. Your picture will come out discolored (too dark or too light).

Moving water shows movement very well! This is frozen movement. You notice the water drops, the air between the parts of the water, etc. This was done with a fast shutter speed. It froze a moment in time for you.
Slow down the shutter speed, and the water drops become a sheet of water moving in the fountain. Be careful, though. The shutter stays open longer, and will pick up any movements you make. Use of a tripod is highly recommended.

If you set your camera just right, you can combine the two and get an overall effect that is fun. And it just wouldn't be a good blog post without a picture of the girls!

Frozen movement with a blurry background to show depth. 
For a side assignment this week, we had to compose a still life photo shoot. We weren't allowed to use any flashes; just lights that are already in the house and/or the sun. I decided to do a family portrait without the family. Enjoy!

Your mama wears cowboy boots, and your daddy wears combat boots! Wait, that may not be an insult...
Maybe it was the boots, maybe it was the severe lack of sleep I've been working with, but the boots seemed to take on a personality all their own during the shoot.
The family, lined up and ready to go!

So many sappy metaphors, not enough time...

So that's what I've been learning this session. Whatcha think?


  1. So great to see your processes! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Absolutely! Thank you for your words of encouragement.