Image of flowers from top view (Botanic Garden, Auckland, New Zealand @2014).
– What does f-stop or aperture number do?
– It determines the depth of sharpness area of the image, or depth of field!
Shallow or wide strips of sharpness are obtained by using different f-stops. Shallow depth of field (using smaller f-stop numbers) means that the area of sharpness is very small and all other objects including nearer or farther objects are blurred in the image. Obviously, larger sharpness area is obtained as depth of field becomes deeper (using larger f-stop numbers). So, you can capture an object in near and far distance as sharp as it is, and leave everything else blurry. In contrast, you can capture a landscape with everything sharp in it, from near to far distance.
Image story: A pleasant Saturday morning walk in Victoria park, Auckland city, New Zealand. End of winter and there was no leaves on trees. These beautiful seeds, like black dots in white lines of tree branches made me think of using a shallow depth of field to capture the beauty of a single dot in a shot! I set the aperture of my lens on its widest, f/4, and shoot a dot. The original background of the image was green and I lightly touched the Hue of background to make this nature paint more eye catching.
– How can I shoot a moving object?
– Adjust your camera setting, look for the object path, follow it in view finder, and shoot!
If you like to shoot moving objects like kids, runners, cars, birds etc., this short note may help you to get better results. The most important thing about moving objects is their speed. As the object moves faster, your camera shutter speed have to be faster to freeze it. However, faster shutter speed means that you need brighter light source, higher ISO, or smaller f-stop (larger aperture) to maintain light balance of your image. Usually, this is not a problem in daylight and studio photography, however it would be a concern if you shoot in cloudy sky or at night. In these situation, you may use your camera flash, an external light source, or consider to use higher ISO or smaller f-stop (larger aperture) if possible.
Image story: An amazing afternoon in Ponitian, Johor bahru, Malaysia. I saw this bird standing on a rock, preparing to take off! I looked around to see if it is possible to shoot it during its flight, and yes it was. So, using the shutter speed priority mode, adjusted shutter speed on 1/800 sec, I followed the bird in the camera view finder and shoot it several times during its flight. The sunny sky allowed me to use ISO 100, and the selected shutter speed (1/800 sec) along with f/6.3 (based on my lens aperture at 300 mm) gave me the required depth of field to have a sharp image of the bird from wing to wing. A crop and a little post processing gave me this image that I like to share with you.
After adjusting the camera setting, you should look for the object path. It means that you should be able to answer two questions as “where is it heading to?” and “can you follow it in view finder?”. If you are positive, use your camera view finder to follow the object and shoot. It is important that you be aware of other objects in the scene. For example, a great shot may be distracted by an annoying object in the background. Last but not lease is your decision to use continues or single shooting mode. It’s up to you to select one of them, but you should know that your choice does not have anything to do with shutter speed and blurry images. It means that if you get blurry images, you should re-adjust the camera setting (particularly using faster shutter speed) instead of shooting continuously.