Homework Lesson 1, Part 1 – aperture

Homework for lesson 1 is two fold. The first part is to take the same(ish) photo with the lowest f-stop value available and then again with a high value. It is supposed to contrast the difference in the area that is in focus. Taking a photo of a fence was suggested. I was out photographing Boo ghost and decided to use the cedar berries all over my yard. Pretty basic.

Lower f-stop value = more blur

Higher f-stop value = less blur

The second part of the homework seems more challenging to me. We are to take another set of two contrasting shots using the shutter speed as the variation. The teacher suggested we try to get a background blur with a focused subject by panning the camera with the subject. The idea is to capture the ‘motion’. I don’t have any equipment other than the camera and I am assuming that panning at the correct rate without getting blur from my hand shaking is going to be hard (near impossible??) so I am putting it off. Any suggestions to help would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!


8 thoughts on “Homework Lesson 1, Part 1 – aperture”

  1. As an example if you were shooting a tree on the street in from of the road and you use a slow shutter speed the tree will be in focus but the cars speeding by will be a blur or as your teacher said motion blur. You’d have to play around with different shutter speeds to see which blur is the most effect. Depending on the focal length of your lens probably 1/30 or less but you’ll need to keep the camera steady if your shooting handheld.

    The other method is panning. So let’s say your tracking a cyclist you would pan to get motion blur on the cyclist but stationary items in the background would be in focus. Hope that helps and that I understood your question.

    1. I never thought to focus on the background with the moving object blurred! Great idea, I will definitely give that a go. It sounds like a good way to start with things moving. I will have to do some experimenting and find a good background. Thanks for your help!

    1. Thanks Edith! My lifestyle limits whats available to photograph if I can’t get out, but I thought it was interesting that once the background was clear E was hiding by the boxes in the background šŸ™‚

  2. Not as hard as you might think; easier with a long focal length than short, though. Find the spot where moving objects are passing a background you like. Set a shutter speed of 1/15 sec. and aperture of around f/5.6 (depth of field doesn’t really matter since you want the background to be blurred anyway) and make an image of just the background by panning. Pan by turning your body, not the camera – hold that firmly as you pan. Adjust the shutter speed up or down until you get the amount of background blur you want.

    Now wait for something to move in front of the background and make an image with that as the subject. Start your pan before pushing the shutter release and follow through after the shutter goes off. Your objective is to pan at the same rate as the object that’s moving. If you find your autofocus isn’t fast enough to zero in on the subject while you pan, change to manual focus and pre-focus where the subject will be (cars on a road make this easy since they have to stay on the road!).

    Slower moving objects are easier to pan with but you’ll need a longer shutter speed to get background blur, which can affect your stability. Faster moving objects are harder to keep in focus during the pan but you get nice background blur. As with most photography there are tradeoffs to deal with. Success with this technique is mostly about practice and adjusting your motion.

    Good luck!

    1. Wow, Thanks for your help! I will be taking notes from your reply and taking them with me!! I really appreciate you taking the time to write that down for me. Hopefully I can find some time to leave the kids for a minute and have a go!

      1. Pleased to help out. This type of shot can be very pleasing and exciting but easy to be intimidated by. It’s just a technique, not magic; you get better with practice! Can’t wait to see your images.

I appreciate your thoughts and feedback.

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