This week we are addressing ISO, the final of the three facets which make up the ‘triangle’ of photography. ISO is a way of measuring the sensitivity of your cameras image sensor to light. The lower the number of the ISO setting is, the less sensitive it is; the higher the number, the more sensitive it is to the light. Higher ISO settings will allow you to shoot in lower light without a flash, but also means more ‘noise’ in the image. However, this can be utilised to add mood and artistic effect, as seen in the above examples.
This week we are addressing aperture, the second of the three facets which make up the ‘triangle’ of photography. Aperture is a measurement of the amount the blades inside your lens open up to allow light to enter, and is measured in f stops. The wider an aperture, the more light is allowed in, and vice versa. This means that to compensate for a wider aperture (which will be measured by a low f stop, such as f1.8) a faster shutter speed is required to compensate and the same is true in reverse.
Aperture also controls the amount of area in focus, or the depth of field. A wider aperture, (e.g. 2.2) will give a shallow depth of field and a wider area that is out of focus in the foreground and background, otherwise known as bokeh. A smaller aperture (measured in larger numbers such as f22) will give you a much broader area of focus.
This week during the class exercise I was not feeling particularly inspired. I only had a prime lens with me having left my wide angle and telephoto lenses at home. On top of this it was pelting down with rain again and for whatever reason I was feeling unusually self conscious when going out to the city to shoot, so I let myself off the hook for once with the intent to complete the exercises later. Despite being last minute, I enjoyed the shoot I created today, and am myself partial to a wide aperture and a shallow depth of field.
Here is a link to an article with great explanations behind of the nitty gritty and mathematics behind aperture as well as other juicy details.
Shutter speed is the nominal time for which a camera’s shutter is open for a given setting. (ref: google) It is one of the three facets which makes up the ‘triangle’ of photography, the other two being aperture and ISO. Shutter speed is measured in seconds or fractions of a second e.g. 1/100 or, one one–hundredth of a second; would be how long the shutter would open and allow the light in. Leave it open too long, too much light enters and your photo will be over–exposed and the whites will be over pronounced or washing out the scene. The same is true in reverse, if you do not set a long enough shutter speed, your photograph is dark, dull and more prone to blurring due to movement and camera shake.
These truths can also be used in a way that is advantageous to the photographer, for example; a longer shutter speed with the appropriate settings will allow you to effectively illustrate the movement of a car, or turn a boring scene such as a man crossing the street into a fascinating abstract. You can also use an extremely low shutter speed of ten seconds or more, to capture the light paintings from an iPhone in a dark room. A very high shutter speed on the other hand can be used to capture a millisecond, allowing us to see the wonders in a frozen moment that the human eye in real time is ill equipped to translate.
Again this lesson was a bit challenging for me, firstly because of the bloody Sydney rain which has barely stopped since the day I arrived here, (which I overcame by using the glad bag out of my packed lunch as a makeshift camera raincoat) but more so because of the fact that I do not yet know anyone from school and found myself flying solo again. This meant that I had to look for examples of movement in the urban environment and ask strangers to pose for me instead of taking action shots of my classmates which would have been fun… However overcoming these challenges gave me an opportunity to capture some perspectives that I might not have otherwise and I am quite pleased with the results, in particular the water shots as it is probably my favourite subject matter.
Lesson two of ‘Life Through a Lens’ was my first lesson in attendance. We were given an hour to go out into the city and photograph examples of the five ‘rules’ of photographic composition with our cameras set to black and white. We were also to photograph some examples of breaking these rules. The five rules of composition were: the rule of thirds, leading lines, negative space, symmetry, and framing. I found it quite challenging to be wandering alone around an unfamiliar city, feeling quite conspicuous taking photos of everything. That said, I managed to take over 200 shots and was quite pleased with my final selection, which I think ended up being an interesting variety of subject and style.