Aperture and Shutter Speed

I tend to get a little obsessive when I find something I’m interested in. I have this need to abusive it until I’m SICK of it. So, as per my usual, I’ve been obsessive about the aquarium the past week; lots of researching, aquascape brainstorming, and of course, lots of shopping. To make my vision come to life, I knew I was gonna have to create the little details on my own, but I wasn’t sure how. I wasn’t sure what would be safe for my future goldfishes. My research lead me to polymer clay. There aren’t any concrete evidence that it’s safe to put in an aquarium, but others have done this and their fish are fine. Lucky for me, I coincidentally stumbled upon a MEGA clay sale! This HAS to be a sign, right?

I wanted to dive right in and start sculpting my pieces, but then realized that I’ve been obsessing over the aquarium a little too much lately. The chances of me burning out are high when I obsess too long on one thing. So, I felt it might do me some good to take a little break from the aquarium. I knew that I needed to refocus a little on some of my other interests, such as photography. I decided to work on my photography project to get me re-familiarized with the basics. It was a fun little project that took much longer than I had anticipated. I guess I am a little rusty after all!

Testing out F-Stops. I decided to make good use out of my Sculpey! What you’ll notice is that, at wider apertures (f/4), your depth and field will be more shallow verse when your aperture is smaller (f/22). So for this set of photos, don’t concentrate on the clay, but the bird in the back! As the f-stops get smaller (f/22), the clearer the bird gets! I know there is suppose to be a “break point” somewhere, but I didn’t notice it. I’m using the term “break point” because I don’t know what the correct word would be, lol, but what I’m referring to is how, once you hit a certain f-stop, going any smaller would cause some blur. Meaning, f/8 could produce a clearer photo than f/22. I don’t quite get it so I’m not going to get into it, but thought it was only right that you all should know that this happens! I’ll have to do more research on it, but probably later when I’m a little more comfortable with photography again 🙂 So, for this set of photos, I had my camera set to aperture priority mode and changed the aperture in each photo.

ISO 400

  • f/4 for 0.6 sec.
  • f/5.6 for 1.3 secs
  • f/8 for 4 secs
  • f/11 for 6 secs
  • f/16 for 10 secs
  • f/22 for 20 secs







If aperture gets wider (going from f/22 to f/4) and shutter speeds stays the same, you’ll have blown out photos because too much light is coming in. If aperture gets smaller but shutter speeds stays the same, your photos will get darker. You need to find a nice balance between apertures and shutter speeds to get a perfectly exposed photo!


I really wish I had better light to work with. The photos are still pretty grainy even with ISO 400. I wonder if it’s because there wasn’t much light? Ooooo! Looking at the close up of the photos, I see that it started getting more grainy after f/8. Maybe this has a lot to do with that break point thing I had mentioned earlier! Hey, that’s neat haha I guess I learned something after all!

The first photo was taken at 1/3 sec., the second photo is shot at 1/125 sec., and the third with the fastest shutter speed at 1/250 sec. You can see how the water slowed down. It’s pretty neat! You can do some pretty cool tricks with this which I plan on doing once I get better lighting set up 🙂

Ok, the last thing I tested was shutter speeds. The faster the shutter speed, the clearer you’ll be able to capture motion without blur. Here are three photos to show you what I mean!




Ok, that’s enough learning today ;P I hope something I said was helpful!

Good night!

Canon Rebel XSI

I’ve been doing a TON of research on DSLRs the past couple of days because I’m set on getting a new DSLR. I currently own a Canon Rebel XSI that I barely use. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Laziness to pick up the camera and go shoot stuff
  2. Laziness led to not being creative which made me unmotivated to go take photos
  3. I made excuses as to why I couldn’t take good photos with the Rebel
  4. I felt very limited to what I can do with my kit lens (18mm-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS)

In all honesty, it was just laziness. I didn’t want to work harder to make my photos come out better. I admit it and the first step to improving is knowing what your problem is, right?

So I’ve been playing A LOT with my Rebel the past couple of days because I needed something to work from when I’m doing research for another camera and lens. For instance, if I was to get a fixed 50mm lens, what would that look like in the viewfinder? I go to my Rebel, set it at 50mm and look through the viewfinder. I needed to know what my limitations were with a fix 50mm lens if I decided to go with it. Basically, I wanted to know how much would I have to walk back and forth from my subject to frame it the way I want? How close would I be to my subject with a fixed 50mm lens?

Then I started getting curious about ISO effects with my current Canon. A quick photography lesson. ISO is how sensitive your “film” is to light. So ISO 400 is twice as sensitive to light than ISO 200. What this means is, if you’re in a dim-lit situation, going up on the ISO will help you get an image. If you were in a low lit room and your camera is set to ISO 100, you’ll probably get a photo that’s completely dark or even black. Aperture and shutter speed will also effect what will show up in your image but I’ll get to this in a little bit. With ISO, higher ISO is more sensitive to light so good for low-lit situations but the trade-off is that you will get more noise in your photos. So I did a couple of test shots with my Rebel to test the noise.

The top photo is shot at ISO 200 and the bottom at ISO 1600. The shutter speed and f-stop (aperture) are different so this is probably not the best example. I didn’t really set out to do a scientific test on this because I was mostly just playing around with the camera… but this kind of gives you the gist of it. I plan on doing a better set of photos to compare the different ISO settings. I’m not sure when but hopefully this week. I don’t know if I will still end up having to change the f-stop to get a good comparison, but if I do, this would really be a mute point.

IMG_9571a(Above: ISO 200, f/16 at 1/60)

IMG_9561a(Above: ISO 1600, f/32 at 1/125)

The top picture was taken at f/16 with shutter speeds of 1/60 whereas the bottom photo was shot at f/36 with shutter speeds of 1/25. Haha, I was wanting to test out two different things (the ISO and aperture) and did them at once. Terrible and lazy of me to do this because it doesn’t really give me an accurate depiction of the difference of either one!

So aperture is how much your lens opens up to allow light to come through. The wider the lens open, the more light will come through. At f/5.6 you allowing more light to get through your lens than at f/16. So essentially, bigger hole at f/5.6 and smaller hole at f/16. More light means brighter photo… bigger hole = more light = brighter photo. The problem with a large aperture (the smaller number… f/5.6 is larger than f/16) is you get narrower depth of field. What this means is, at f/5.6, the item you’re focused on will be clear but everything else behind it will be blurred out. I will have examples of this in the weeks to come. They’re mostly for me because I need to get back to the basics, but you can learn along side me 🙂

Shutter speed determines how long your shutter/lens stays open. The longer it stays open, the more light gets through your lens. More light means brighter photo. The larger the bottom number, the faster the shutter. So 1/60 is slower than 1/125. 1/60 allows for more light to go through than 1/125 so it will produce a brighter photo. The problem with slower shutter speeds is that you might get blurry photos. If your subject is moving or your hand is moving while holding the camera, your “film” will capture more of that at slower shutter speeds.

Moving on… one of the MAIN reasons I got fed up with my Rebel was because all my photos kept coming out dark or blurry.  Even with wide aperture (say f/3.5 because that’s the largest my current lens can go) and slow shutter speeds ( 1/15 ish because any slower would be pointless to shoot), I was getting dark photos. Dark, blurry people, and shallow depth of field photos. They were HORRIBLE and I get frustrated! The problem here was, I never bothered changed the ISO on my Canon because I just assumed the noise was going to be bad (Photography 101… higher ISO = more noise). Opps!

Like I said, it was just pure laziness and me relying on the excuse that my camera and lens aren’t good enough that I haven’t been taking as much photos. A better lens will help make things much easier, but that doesn’t mean that my current lens couldn’t produce better photos.

Below is a photo of my husband. If you don’t know him you probably can’t tell, but he’s making a funny face in this photo purposely, lol! This photo was taken in a low-lit room and without using any type of flash. I used ISO 1600 at f/4 and 1/10 sec. The color is a little weird because of the light reflecting from his monitor.

IMG_9529(Above: ISO 1600, f/4 at 1/10, no post production editing)

This is an easy fix using the RAW files in Photoshop though. See?


He was an easy subject because he was playing League of Legends and wasn’t doing much movement and I know he wouldn’t get up and move because he was too absorbed in his game.

IMG_9531(Above: ISO 800, f/5 at 1/15, no post production editing)

In the above photo, if you click on it, you’ll see a larger version. In this version, you can see how everything in the photo is kind of blurry except for where I had focused my lens on the monitor. The shallow depth of field is the reason for this! At 1/15, I’m surprised he’s screen was more blurry since he has people moving around on it. I really like how this shot came out! 🙂

Below is a photo taken with ISO 100 using a flash so I’d have enough light. It’s amazing how clear it came out! You lose a bit of sharpness around the ends of his eyebrows but it really isn’t that noticeable unless you blow the photo up to poster size.

IMG_9611(Above: ISO 100, f/18 at 1/200, no post production editing)

He’s going to hate me for this but here is a close up to show you how much detail I was able to get!

IMG_9611a(Above: ISO 100, f/18 at 1/200, no post production editing)


(Above and below: ISO 100, f/13 at 1/200, no post production editing)


So, overall, I don’t really hate my camera as much as I thought I did. It’s actually not all that bad. What it all really boils down to is that I’ve been lazy and haven’t been practicing as I should. Trial and error goes a long way, right? The issues I had can be easily resolved by tweaking settings or even moving my subjects. I didn’t get this camera to replace my point and shoot camera, I got this camera to hone my art. Far now, it will do, but I am still looking to upgrade to a full frame camera. I know I’ll be needing new lens soon and I don’t want to spend cash on lens that would be obsolete to me in the near future. Once I re-teach myself the fundamentals I’ll look more seriously into actually purchasing a “big boy” camera for professional use. For now, researching is fun and will give me the knowledge I will need to confident with my choice of camera and lens when I actually buy it.

Haha, my husband kept making funny faces at me while I was test shooting and I thought I’d share because it’s cute 🙂

IMG_9590(Above: ISO 400, f/8 at 1/40, no post production editing)

Good night all! I have a presentation to do tomorrow for work on how I can become a better recruiter. Yay! Wish me luck, I’m gonna need it!