Using Aperture priority – Part I

Creative Photography with a seasoning of Mindfulness.

Using Aperture priority – Part I

Creative digital photography

Can you be creative with your smartphone camera or using automatic mode with any other camera? Of course you can! ๐Ÿ‘Up to a certain point.
There is composition, capturing just the right light and rearranging whatever it is you want to capture. But you are always giving the camera software the control over exposure and other things we will come to shortly.
You might compare that to an artist allowing a PC to paint his creation on the canvas.

Allow me to recap who Carpe Diem is for.
If you’ve never used anything but automatic mode, if you maybe got a DSLR – Digital Single Lens Reflex – from somewhere and have no idea how to use it, or if you consider yourself a beginning hobby photographer, then you’re at the right place.๐Ÿ‘
Starting at the very beginning, you will learn everything you need to know to grow and become creative with your camera and other gear.

The type of creative photography i want to discuss here is all about taking control over the camera by switching to one of the creative modes.
I use a DSLR, however there are several pocket cameras that also allow you to get out of automatic mode and take control. There are also Apps for smartphones that will allow you to switch into a creative mode.
It doesn’t matter so much which brushes the artist uses on his canvas as long as he can create his vision.

I am also partial to Canon which is why all the pictures of cameras here will be Canon.
The names of the modes i mention here are the Canon names, other brands use different names.
For example AV is the aperture priority on Canon but on a Nikon you may find simply A. I will restrict myself to the Canon names without covering all the brands and their names.

Each mode makes sense and depending on the situation, you may find yourself using most of them.
What I will discuss here is ;
Automatic without flash
Aperture priority

Automatic mode – This means the camera makes all decisions and if it decides to use the built in flash it will pop up automatically. This is what is referred to as the point and shoot mode.
This is great for party’s in low light situations when you want to shoot fast.

Automatic without flash – This is a great mode to have chosen when visiting a city. When you turn a corner and see something moving that you want to capture, just point and shoot.

AV – aperture priority – allows you to control how much light you want to let in. The camera will adjust the other settings to compensate.

Why use AV – aperture priority?

Controlling the Aperture allows you to make decisions about the depth of field.
DOF (Depth of field) is a measurement from the first object that is in focus – really sharp – and the last object in focus.

If you know what near-sighted is, and far-sighted; imagine a rare exception where a man named Sue {(c) Johnny Cash} cannot see sharply up close and also not far away.
Sue sees objects sharply from a distance between 30 and 33 feet away.
The depth of field for Sue is 3 feet, beginning 30 feet away.

Examine this picture. ๐Ÿ‘€

Blossom in focus

My point of focus was the blossom on the tree in front of me. The depth of field is shallow which means I shot with a wide open aperture. Even the tree at the right side of the image is not focused at all.

Now to add to your confusion.
A small aperture setting means a shallow depth of field however it also means your aperture is wide open.
So small number = larger opening = shallow DOF. โ—

Therefore; If you capture a wide, open landscape you will use an aperture of 8 or maybe 16 depending on your lens.
As you recall; large number = smaller opening = deeper DOF. โ—
This will cause almost everything in your image to be in focus.

The right setting is dependent on a few other things and I will certainly be returning to this particular topic again in the next post to discuss those things.
Now take a close look at this picture taken seconds after the first image.

Junk in Focus

I changed two things here. I set my focus on the junk pile in the background and I dialed the aperture up just a bit.
larger number = smaller opening = deeper DOF.

Now my depth of field isnโ€™t that shallow anymore, from the junk pile to the tree on the right which is almost sharp.

The best time for using AV is when you want a picture of someone without the background distracting from the person.
Hereโ€™s another great usage for a low setting using AV.

In the next post, you will learn about the relationships of the aperture to zoom, distance to object and lens choice.

For now, get outside and find something to practice on. ๐ŸŒผ Especially if you have a zoom lens you will notice the changes in DOF more.

Take a few pictures with different aperture settings and see what they look like on your PC.

๐Ÿ˜€ Any questions, comments, critic. Thatโ€™s what the comments are for. ๐Ÿ’ฌ


Comments: 1

  1. […] the first part of Using aperture priority, you saw that the depth of field is controlled – in part – by the aperture setting in […]

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