The Occasional Shippment

Occasional thoughts from a young adult reveling in the messiness of life.

Head Spun. Peanuts Fell.

Wow. Week 2 was an intense class. We covered Exposure, Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. That’s the quad-fecta (yes I just made up a word) of photographing images. My head was spinning reading the materials before class, and it spun even more during class as I was trying to grasp how all of these settings affect the way light is captured in an image. Just try to wrap your head around this one: Aperture is the size of the opening that determines how much light gets to the sensor in the camera. A small Aperture number equals the largest opening, which lets in the most light, but it creates the shallowest depth of field. Yikes. I’ll be working on wrapping my head around this one for a while. Whether I understand all of the technicalities, I at least “get” what each one does. Aperture is depth of field, Shutter Speed relates to motion, ISO relates to light and “noise” and Exposure is pretty self explanatory. Nevertheless, I really want to understand the mechanics of it, and specifically, how they all work together.

For the homework assignment, we had to bring in 4 images – 2 working with depth of field, and 2 working with motion. I was in Birmingham to throw a bridal shower and decided to head over to the Peanut Depot to do my homework. Click on each image for full size.

Working with Depth of Field


Working with Shutter Speed


I think I really got two new nuggets of knowledge this week:

First, tripods are essential in more situations than I previously thought. I need to invest in a good one that provides me a greater range of options when positioning it.

Second, the fast the shutter speed, the darker the image will be if you don’t work with the other settings in the camera. As you can see with the images above, I was shooting peanuts coming out of a roaster. I only had one opportunity to get these shots and had to get a more “fluid” shot and a more “stopped” shot to share with the class. The peanuts take hours to roast but only 3-4 minutes to be dumped out of the machine. I was set to Shutter Priority, which meant that I set the shutter speed and the camera selects the correct aperture…well, most of the time. My pictures kept getting darker and darker. I realized during class that I should have used a higher ISO (I was on 800), but I think if I had more experience (and more than 3-4 minutes for the shot), I would have shot these on Manual mode and set everything myself to get more light. Thank goodness for my post-production processing software which enabled me to get the right exposure.


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This entry was posted on March 23, 2011 by in Photography and tagged , , .

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