Day 3: Learning Photography 🦹‍♀️

My 500 Words, photography, Travel

This past month has led to the setting of some goals and planning for greater personal and professional growth. I had been focused for a long time on fitting myself into a mold, trying to find validation in my job or in the cocktail party summary of my life.  I probably still am, but I think I might be working my way through it. I am finally aware of it and taking steps to find things that make me happy, not just things that make me seem “together”.

Some of these goals have already been featured on my page, things like reading and writing more intentionally. I have also been thinking more about my health, fitness, and beauty routine. In addition to these pursuits, I have been craving another creative outlet, one I can combine with my other interests- writing, traveling, adventure, outdoor pursuits, and more. I want to learn and develop as a photographer, albeit a novice one. Photography and the ability to create meaningful, beautiful images with a portable device really appeals to me.

My boyfriend has a DSLR Camera laying around that I have started to fiddle with and hope to continue learning with. Does anyone else ever feel the compulsion to buy something new every time you want to start a new hobby? It is like you think that having a new thing will magically make you better. I spent an hour this morning looking up new cameras and pricing, trying to see which option would suddenly make me amazing and motivated. Luckily, before dropping thousands of dollars, I realized the folly in that line of thinking. I have a camera that I can use sitting right next to me. It is complicated and scary, and I have no idea where to start. And, that is okay!

What does DSLR stand for anyway? I realize that I should probably get some very basic concepts down before even discussing this hobby any further! DSLR stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex. Luckily, that is out of the way!

Next, I need to understand aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, as directed by my boyfriend and camera owner. Youtube is guiding my steps in answering these questions in a fun way. I have always heard that with a google search bar, you can learn enough to get started in almost any skill. Now, I guess we will put that theory to the test.

Aperture, also called F-stop, refers to the size of the opening where light enters to interact with the sensor. The smaller the F-stop, or aperture, the greater the opening will be for light. And, as a fun fact, the numbers that make up the range is a fraction, which explains why a smaller number translates to a greater opening. From what I understand, changing the aperture allows you to adjust the depth of field or the focal length. The depth of field refers to how much of the depth of your image will be in focus, in front of and behind the focal point. Shallow depth of field refers to an image in which the focal point is in focus (obviously) with the foreground and background blurry. A large depth of field refers to an image in which most of the image is in focus, both in front of and behind the focal point. The video recommends that if aperture is the priority, to set the DSLR camera to AV, which is aperture priority, and allows the camera to automatically adjust the other settings to match the aperture of your choice.

Shutter speed refers to the amount of time a sensor is exposed to light. Certain situations can influence whether you would want a long exposure versus a short exposure. You might want a long exposure, as the video explains, if the light is limited, such as at night or if you want a motion blur effect. Short exposures are for fast moving things, like wildlife. Short exposures need more light! Aperture and shutter speed are related, of course. And, there has to be a balance found between the two to avoid over or under exposure. If shutter speed is the priority, the TV mode is the go-to mode. You select the shutter speed and the camera chooses the best aperture! Super cool.

The ISO number refers to the sensitivity of the sensor. If it is getting dark, you might want to make the ISO number more sensitive to the available light, and vice versa. You can risk graininess if you made the ISO number too high. The goal is to set the ISO as low as possible given the other settings. The M mode setting refers to manual, and you can play around with the images using this mode!

This video was so informative and so awesome! It really helped to make these concepts digestible.

I am excited to let this information marinate and look forward to learning more as I put new information to practice!