I told the story about living in Italy on Day 1, and I think this part of the equation is easier if you ever studied a romance language. In Spanish, you say abierto. Ouvert in French, aperto in portuguese… and in Italian it’s aperta.
Aperture means opening.
It’s the size of the opening of the lens. When we learned about shutter speed and ISO – we learned those are controlled by your camera. Aperture isn’t determined by the camera, instead, aperture is determined by the lens. Aperture is measured in f-stops, and is usually written as a number with an f/ before it.
f/11 – is said “eff eleven.”
I’ll spare you all some birth story analogy for the men in the crowd, but I’ll say this – it’s counter intuitive for anyone who has given birth. In the delivery room 10 means push… in camera talk – f/1.2 means push.
Things to Know About Aperture
Small number = Big Opening = Allows in more light = Less time required for correct exposure = shallow depth of field.
Big number = Small Opening = Reduces amount of light in = More time required for the same exposure = wider depth of field.
Wait, um, what’s that “depth of field” stuff mean?
You cannot learn about aperture and ignore depth of field. These two are always partners. Changing one changes the other. Like Tom and Jerry, Romeo and Juliet, me and coffee… err, I mean me and my HandyMan.
Depth of field (“DOF”) means the distance or depth of the portion of your photo that will be in focus.
ISO 160 f/4 1/500s 200mm | Subject distance is 6.3m. Shot with a 70-200 f/2.8 lens.
In the above photo, the aperture is f/4 – this is a smallish-medium sized opening. The focal point is at the lowest arrow. Everything on that plane and very near it is in focus. Everything in front of or behind it will blur out of focus. Since our eyes will always focus on what’s sharp, DOF allows us to call attention to the part of the photo we want, as artists, and pull the eye away from parts of the photo we don’t want to emphasize. Here’s the same photo without the distracting notes:
Understanding DOF requires you to think in planes or depths.
Larger Aperture: When you have a large aperture, indicated with a low number like f/1.4 or f/2, the amount of your subject that will be in focus is narrow. Most of your photo will be soft and blurry because very few planes will be in focus. You have a narrow or shallow DOF.
Smaller Aperture: When you have a smaller aperture, indicated with a number like f/16 or f/22, most of your photo will be in focus. Instead of isolating a subject, you can bring many subjects or entire landscapes in focus. Many planes are in focus; you have a wide DOF.
In each of these images, I focused on the number 8 on the measuring tape – shown with the red arrow. These were shot with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. The aperture range for this lens is 1.4 – 16. It cannot open more than f/1.4 and it cannot close smaller than f/16. As my aperture gets smaller, more ticks on the measuring tape and more of the environment it’s in become clearer.
Please come back tomorrow for more about aperture. Soon comes the fun part – putting it all together!
Don’t forget about my girls who are sharing this 31 Days journey with us:
31 Days of Grace :: Chatting at the Sky
31 Days to an Inspired Table ::Â My First Kitchen
31 Days to a Less Messy Nest ::Â Nesting Place
31 Days of Living Simply ::Â Remodeling This Life
31 Days of Autumn Bliss ::Â The Inspired Room
31 Days to More. . .With Less ::Â Beauty and Bedlam
31 Days to a Better Photo ::Â My 3 Boybarians
31 Days to Stress Free Entertaining ::Â Reluctant Entertainer