Monday, March 08, 2010

f-Stop Fun - Foto Friday on Monday

In an earlier post about my cantankerous lawn windmills, I mentioned some photos could use a little f-stop magic.

I try to post photos and related information on Fridays, but there are multiple exceptions like thie past week: (1) we are concerned with family situations, hence the post about Sisters, and (2) the weather did not provide satisfactory conditions for me to venture outdoors, even though I had researched and set my camera in a certain mode.

Since I don't know who will be reading this post or their knowledge of camera jargon, here is a simplistic overview of f-stops.

A f-stop, otherwise called aperture, is the size the lense opens at any given setting. the numbers on your lense, or displayed in some of your settings; typical numbers are 2.8, 3.5, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22. The lower the number the wider the opening.
The "f" stands for fraction and the number is related to length of the lens.

This opening, as well as exposure (time the lens is opened) plays a part in focus and depth of field (how much of total picture is in focus and sharp).

I am not going any further, because I don't know how sophisticated one's camera is. I have a Nikon with an exchangeable zoom lens allowing maximum control with a given lens/camera.

I also have a Canon A-1000 IS so-called point and shoot camera, but it has far more features than AUTO. Although f-stops are not specifically set, some modes like Macro use openings and exposures that emulate wide lens openings. I have made some darn good pictures with the Canon.

[Now you advanced amateur and professional photographers, don't jump all over me for oversimplifying a complicated subject. It is hard to isolate and explain one feature which is so interrelated with 3-4 features. I am merely trying to explain how to blur a busy unwanted background,]

Since I have not played around with settings in quite awhile, I went outside Saturday's spring-like day of 63 degrees with little wind, to PLAY, so don't look for any beauties, just playing.

The stump and the owl are the best examples of selective f-stop for background control. Usually this means the main subject, usually in the very near foreground, [owl or stump] is in sharp focus and the background is blurred, even unrecognizable. In these two pictures, the backgrounds are sufficiently blurred that the eye goes directly to the subject.

This little trick is a way to lead the eye into and out of a picture. It is best in the owl photo [f5, 1/60, 86mm] as the eye focuses immediately on the owl into the picture and out following the light straw...hmmm ...dead weeds.The Owl is a nearly "Straight Out of the Camera." I adjusted contrast on it; no crop, etc.

The stump [f5.3, 1/500, 200mm] is a matter of what is focused and what is not. I decided to do a little cropping, too--may have done too much, as I like the top rail of the fence leading the eye out of the photo....decisions, decisions, decisions!

The spring leaves of the Naked Lady [f5,3, 1/500, 200mm]at first looks like a macro, but it is not. It is taken by the telephoto zoom. This is a true "Straight Out of the Camera" shot.

The flag photo [f4.9, 1/500, 78mm] and the ubiquitous windmills are not very good examples of f-stop magic. They failed because of several factors-- too long and complicated to explain.

I like the back-lit flag. I cropped the photo, but am intrigued by the moss on that big tree we are trying to salvage from the Great 1000 Year Ice storm. I don't remember that much moss--maybe some kind of color aberration.

The windmills [f4.2, 1/150,35mm] appear to like each other today, but otherwise this is a lousy [cropped] photo. I feel like my eyes are splitting between the two windmills; I'm staring at a brown blank wall! Yuck!

I almost forgot the messy room! This room was so bad my housecleaner said I had to do something with it before she attempted to clean it. Sounds bad, doesn't it?

The messy boxes and chair is all I have to finish in the room which had boxes and STUFF piled everywhere. I hope she is elated this week. It has taken me three weeks.

Perspective and f-stop + focus bring attention to the mess. Note: photos on wall are blurred. That huge plastic bag on the door knob? I have overfilled and emptied it 4 times with mostly papers and shredded materials.

For those persons interested in the hieroglyphics I provided with some of the photos, I obtained the mumbo-jumbo from the EXIF info attached to the photos. Some info doesn't seem quite right but after all the camera is a computer, and computers don't make mistakes! Right???


jinksy said...

Now, you tempt me with a messy room -but don't show it! I was hoping it might make mine look better! LOL

Arkansas Patti said...

What jinksy said. I wish I had your knowledge and patience. I am pretty well locked into point and shoot and can only admire the work of those who dig deaper. Keep playing and having fun.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, my...I'm thoroughly amazed...My camera does everything for me...but I would much prefer it did not...then, I could control the settings etc...but it sounds like an awful lot to learn as well...forgive me for being late to visit...My son and I have been sick...but I wanted to stop by to see you especially!!! Love you and have missed you!!! ~Janine XO

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Don't know if my comment got through...sure do hope so...can't remember whether or not you have comment moderation, and so I will post again!!! I wish I had a wonderful camera like you!!! But I suppose, then, I'd had to figure out all the techie stuff...and I'm not as good at that as you!!! But I loved the explanation because I always wondered what an f-stop was!!!! Terrific!!! Love you!!! Janine XO

Lorna said...

You've suddenly brought into focus things my brother has been saying and i have been skipping for years.

Silver said...

Informative. Now i learn something new! An f-stop.

I have become lazier to learn new stuff or features with all these toys.. i still prefer to get everything with an auto focus and just snap when i need to. ;D