1:12 Aperture

I think I mentioned before that Kate suggested linking up for a 12 week fun photo course online. And it's FREE. Since I am a gourmet hoarder of the first kind, I jumped on this. Free classes? An excuse to play with my camera? I am in! We will be linking up every Thursday with what we have learned for the previous week. This week's post will be about Week One: Aperture.

Instead of my repeating what she has already said, you can hop over to Kate's post where she has links to PDFs for all 12 weeks of the course. Or you can look at WEEK ONE here. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, it always helps to have focus (no pun intended). I, for example, already know a little about aperture. However, it never hurts to get in some extra practice AND having an assignment makes me more likely to get out and experiment!

So here’s the question that week one wants us to answer:
Just how much of your photo do you want to be in focus?

I started by playing around a little.
This is Papa P. He has been featured here in the past. 

Notice in photo ONE, the background is blurred. This is becuase I was using a wide open aperture, or a low f/stop.  In TWO, I used a higher f/stop. You can see the background is still blurred, but you have more of the photo in focus than in number one. In THREE, I used a very high f/stop (small aperture). This makes even more of the photo become in focus. Note not only the curtains, but the carpet. In one, its blurred; in two, only the edges are blurred; in three, none is blurred.

I am not going to go into all the camera mumbo jumbo (unless you want me to, you can email me or check out week one's PDF) but basically the lower the f/stop, the less of the photo will be in focus. The higher the f/stop, the more of the photo will be in focus. In a nutshell.

Here again, we have a low f/stop in the first frame (blurred background), going higher as we move to the right (more of the photo is in focus). 

And again, low to high f/stop. 

I take a ton of photos using LOW f/stop. I love macro shots and shots with a blurred background. Many of those photos look like this: 

So my goal for myself was to take some photos using a smaller aperture (a larger f/stop). 
So here are some of the results.

It was fun but I still need more practice! 

Lessons learned?

First, I had to re-remember that the bigger the aperture, the more light that gets into the lens. So, when you are shooting with your aperture wide open, you don't need your ISO to be as high or your shutter speed to be as low. The opposite goes for the small aperture. I had to bump up my ISO and lower my shutter speed for some of them. (they call this the "exposure triangle")

Also, I still need to practice more, as I tend to "set it and forget it" like Ron Popeil. I need to be conscious of what my settings are set on and remember to change them! Ansel Adams is well known for his landscape shots, which he used a very a very small aperture for. I strive to be more like him! (He used f/64!!)

Join us for next week's link up where we will be talking about: ISO and Shutter Speed.

Have you experimented with aperture? What f/stop do you like best? If not, just as an observer, which photos are more pleasing to your eye? Blurred or not blurred background?


  1. Great photos! That penguin is really cute and funny, haha. I've been tending to shoot wide open lately too, and while I really like the effect of it, I'm also discovering that I do need to use a higher f/stop sometimes. It was interesting to see how dramatic a difference the f/stop makes.

    And f/64?!? I didn't know that. No wonder his photos were so crystal clear!

  2. Love the photos. I just have a very basic camera but think it would be fun to someday get a fancy one and learn how to really take advantage of all the fun functions like that.

  3. I have a really, really crappy/dated point & shoot, so I have never experimented with the aperture! Some day I will get a nicer camera and have the ability to play with such settings!!

  4. Aperture drives me up a wall. Though I understand it well, I always go the opposite way when I need something. I You have some great images to help with this, too. Well done all around.

    As for Ansel Adams, I am with you. He's my favorite. I've seen a couple of exhibitions of his original images and I'm amazed at his work. Could you imagine shooting in f/64? Yikes! When I get up for f/22 for long exposure shots I get excited!

    Good post!



Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!