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Motion and Depth of Field

There are distinct characteristics that are related to changes in aperture and shutter speed. Shutter speed controls the length of time the light has to strike the sensor; consequently, it also controls the blurriness (or lack of blurriness) of the image. The less time light has to hit the sensor, the less time your subjects have to move around and become blurry. This can let you do things like freezing the motion of a fast-moving subject (Figure 2.8) or intentionally blurring subjects to give the feel of energy and motion (Figure 2.9).

Figure 2.8

Figure 2.8. A fast shutter speed was used to freeze the action of the mountain biker coming into camp for respite from the desert sun.

ISO 200
1/2000 sec.
f/5.6
24mm lens

Figure 2.9

Figure 2.9. The slower shutter speed captured the flow of water over the rocks.

ISO 100
6 sec.
f/22
88mm lens

The aperture controls the amount of light that comes through the lens, but it also determines what areas of the image will be in focus. This is referred to as depth of field, and it is an extremely valuable creative tool. The smaller the opening (the larger the number, such as f/22), the greater the sharpness of objects from near to far (Figure 2.10).

Figure 2.10

Figure 2.10. By using a small aperture, the area of sharp focus extends from a point that is near the camera all the way out to distant objects. In this instance, I wanted the flowers in the foreground as well as the boulders in the background to be in focus.

ISO 200
1/40 sec.
f/16
17mm lens

A large opening (or small number, like f/2.8) means more blurring of objects that are not at the same distance from the camera as the subject you are focusing on (Figure 2.11).

Figure 2.11

Figure 2.11. By using a very large aperture, I was able to isolate the abandoned motorcycle from the busy background.

ISO 100
1/2500 sec.
f/2
50mm lens

As we further explore the features of the camera, we will learn not only how to utilize the elements of exposure to capture properly exposed photographs, but also how we can make adjustments to emphasize our subject. It is the manipulation of these elements—motion and focus—that will take your images to the next level.

Chapter 2 Assignments

Formatting your card

Even if you have already begun using your camera, make sure you are familiar with formatting the SD card. If you haven’t done so already, follow the directions given earlier in the chapter and format as described (make sure you save any images that you may have already taken). Then perform the Format function every time you have downloaded or saved your images or use a new card.

Checking your firmware version

Using the most up-to-date version of the camera firmware will ensure that your camera is functioning properly. Use the menu to find your current firmware version, and then update as necessary using the steps listed in this chapter.

Cleaning your sensor

Make sure you are familiar with the Cleaning Mode function so you can use it every time you change a lens.

Exploring your image formats

I want you to become familiar with all of the camera features before using the RAW format, but take a little time to explore the Quality and Image Size menus so you can see what options are available to you.

Exploring your lens

If you are using a zoom lens, spend a little time shooting with all of the different focal lengths, from the widest to the longest. See just how much of an angle you can cover with your widest lens setting. How much magnification will you be able to get from the telephoto setting? Try shooting the same subject with a variety of different focal lengths to note the differences in how the subject looks, and also the relationship between the subject and the other elements in the photo.

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