Closet Photographer - Back to basics with Aperture

  When people start discussing photography, words like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, Depth of field, and bokeh start getting thrown around. For someone just starting into photography, this can get a little overwhelming. What are these things? What do they mean? How do I use them?

 

 

 

It was only a few years ago that I would have been standing there, mouth open, going huh? Thankfully I’ve learned a lot along the way from people who were willing to explain it to me in not too technical terms. Now I’d like to break it down for you!

 

 

 

So what is Aperture? The definition from webster’s online dictionary is:

 

1: an opening or open space : HOLE

 

2a : the opening in a photographic lens that admits the light

 

b : the diameter of the stop in an optical system that determines the diameter of the bundle of rays traversing the instrument

 

c : the diameter of the objective lens or mirror of a telescope

 

 

 

So what does this actually mean? The aperture is the hole in our lens which lets in the light exposing the film or in most cases now our camera’s sensor. In the many film cameras produced even into the mid 20th century aperture was fixed – a single size of opening available with variances in the shutter speed (how long the whole is open) possible. Late in the 20th century the leaf style variable aperture in current cameras was introduced. Initially located in the lens and changed by turning a ring on the lens itself, now digital cameras allow the aperture to be changed by the flick of a button or wheel.

 

 

 

This visual demonstrates the various sizes of apertures:

 

As you can see in the visual above – the aperture is created by a set of blades which can rotate in and out of place to create a smaller or larger opening (aperture). The most confusing part for me was learning the aperture numbers in relation to the size of the opening. For instance F2 is a larger opening than F16. Backwards – Yes.

 

Now that we’ve figured out the basics of what it really is, we get to the important part of what it does for your photos. Let’s highlight the most important points:

• The bigger the aperture (such as F2) the more light gets let in – therefore, the less time the shutter needs to be open to properly expose your photo

• The bigger the aperture equals a faster shutter speed which means a much shallower Depth Of Field (more on Depth of Field next week I promise but for now think of it as how much of your image is in focus)

 

Now that we have covered a basic understanding of what the aperture is, we can begin to play with it’s effects/creative possibilities. Join me next week as we begin to investigate what depth of field is and how it is impacted by the aperture.

 

Until then keep playing and learning!

When people start discussing photography, words like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, Depth of field, and bokeh start getting thrown around. For someone just starting into photography, this can get a little overwhelming. What are these things? What do they mean? How do I use them?

 

It was only a few years ago that I would have been standing there, mouth open, going huh? Thankfully I’ve learned a lot along the way from people who were willing to explain it to me in not too technical terms. Now I’d like to break it down for you!

 

So what is Aperture? The definition from webster’s online dictionary is:

1: an opening or open space : HOLE

2a : the opening in a photographic lens that admits the light

b : the diameter of the stop in an optical system that determines the diameter of the bundle of rays traversing the instrument

c : the diameter of the objective lens or mirror of a telescope

 

So what does this actually mean? The aperture is the hole in our lens which lets in the light exposing the film or in most cases now our camera’s sensor. In the many film cameras produced even into the mid 20th century aperture was fixed – a single size of opening available with variances in the shutter speed (how long the whole is open) possible. Late in the 20th century the leaf style variable aperture in current cameras was introduced. Initially located in the lens and changed by turning a ring on the lens itself, now digital cameras allow the aperture to be changed by the flick of a button or wheel.

 

This visual demonstrates the various sizes of apertures: