Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sunset and Aperture - The Ramblings of a Photo Nerd

This past weekend I went shooting around sunset, down at the Venice Canals. It was just wonderful, that dappled orangey-golden light throwing long shadows all around. Great reflections on the water and in windows, lovely color temperature, and also just a very peaceful and beautiful evening.

I also told myself, “today I’m going to shoot as wide open as possible” (I use a Nikon D80 and my favorite lens is a Nikkor 55-200 4/5.6 with VR). So while I guess “wide open” doesn’t really mean “wide open” because it’s not a prime lens with a huge 1.8 aperture, it was still fun to draw a line in the sand and say I would only use shutter speed to control the exposure. Most often I use a combination of shutter speed and aperture, frequently shooting in sunlight at 1/100-1/320 f8-16 on ISO100-200 depending on the light.

What I found was that because I was shooting more open than usual, it forced me to re-think my approach to some of the shots I was taking. Wider aperture means greater depth of field of course, and it led me to frame things totally differently. It also gave me better performance in low light, without having to turn up the ISO.

In a way photography is like golf or any other fun hoppy. Endless tweaking of variables, leading to exploration and experimentation, and always learning along the way.


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Seth said...

Thanks for stopping by Paul!

That June Gloom sounds like a good chance to not do landscapes and focus on the minutiae we usually gloss over.

The idea of limiting yourself to one aperture also seems like a useful exercise. You'll get that 1.8 one day!

Also I couldn't get your photo website to open up.

Paul Sears Photography said...

Hey Seth - thanks for checking out my blog! My site was down for some reason this morning, but it's back up now. And btw my buddy is loaning me his 50mm 1.8 prime for the long weekend - that will be fun!

Donna said...

Hi Paul,
Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such a nice comment. I love having new visitors!

Your photos are great. I especially enjoyed the "rustic" gallery ones.