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Chapter 4 Assignments

Try the aperture roundup

One thing you can do to give yourself an advantage over most other photographers is an exercise that gives you a more intuitive feel for f-stop choice. Set up your tripod with camera and lens focused on a close-up subject that won’t be moving and that has lots of stuff in the background behind it. Set your lens to manual focus so that the focus never changes off of the same spot on your subject. Do a whole series of photos as you change your f-stops from the widest aperture possible on your lens (such as f/2.8 or f/4) to the smallest (such as f/22).

Test for diffraction challenges

Here’s an exercise that is easy to do, but that most photographers have never done! Check out how well your lens or lenses do with diffraction effects. Set up your camera on a tripod, with the lens focused on something with good detail and something that won’t change position (this could be a magazine or newspaper page). Be sure your lens is manually focused. Then try a series of shots starting at f/11, then f/16, next f/22, and then any smaller apertures your lens might include. Compare the shots on your computer screen, enlarging details as needed.

Go for deep detail

Set your lens to f/16 (using a wide-angle or at most slight telephoto focal length—not a strong telephoto), then take at least 20 photos in a row of varied close subjects where you deliberately try to include environment in the background. Use your LCD to help you refine your shots, always watching what is happening to the details in the background.

Isolate your subject

Set your lens (not using a wide-angle focal length) to its maximum aperture (the lowest number f-stop), then take at least 20 photos in a row of varied close subjects where you now deliberately try to isolate the subject from the background. Move your position as needed to increase the distance between subject and background. Again, use your LCD to help you refine your shots, always watching how the background appears.

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