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Old 03-30-2005, 09:47 AM   #1
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I need to ask a photographer a question

no offense, but serious photographers who really know their stuff is who i am hoping to ask here.

i'm learning photography and my instructor is terrible at explaining the part about shutter speed vs aperature settings. I understand that if you need to let in more light, you open the aperature (use a smaller number) and if you want to freeze fast action you turn up the shutterspeed (higher number) If you want to get cool shots of water in a time lapse kind of fog look, you slow down the shutterspeed (lower number)

what i dont understand is this:

if i need to let in more light, and i open the aperature, do i also need to adjust the shutterspeed? and if i take a picture of a waterfall, say, and want that cool look to the water, and i slow down the shutterspeed - it lets in too much light and will over expose the frame. So to compensate i'll need to close or tighten up the aperature.

is there a formula to use? this is hard to explain...what i mean is, say i dial the shutter speed down to say, 60. Is there a setting on the aperature that i should automatically be using with that? Or do i have to figure that out on my own? Conversely, if i speed up the shutterspeed to say, 1000 to capture a sporting event/action, is there an aperature setting that i should automatically use to let more light in? IF NOT, how do you EVER learn to figure it all out?

and finally, last question. IF i am allowed to take my camera to the U2 concert (which i hear is a possibility) what kind of settings are best for that weird low light in the audience, lots of light on stage, live action thing? And do i need to use a flash or can i compensate for that with manual settings.

ANY help is greatly appreciated! I have time to go out and practice this before the April concert
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:13 AM   #2
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Re: I need to ask a photographer a question

Quote:
Originally posted by boriel


if i need to let in more light, and i open the aperature, do i also need to adjust the shutterspeed? and if i take a picture of a waterfall, say, and want that cool look to the water, and i slow down the shutterspeed - it lets in too much light and will over expose the frame. So to compensate i'll need to close or tighten up the aperature.

It depends if you are working with "aperture priority" or " shutter priority"; if you use the aperture priority you will be able to control the aperture while the camera sets automatically sets the shutter speed. If you use the manual mode you gotta have enough practice to control the amount of light and the speed.

if you want to capture the movement of the water in a waterfall you will need a high speed, so i would recommend you to use your camera in "shutter priority" mode. If you choose a very slow speed you will capture the blurry "movement" of the water but not the water itself and probably you will have problems with the amount of light if you don't use the "shutter priority" mode.
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:24 AM   #3
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Re: I need to ask a photographer a question

Quote:
Originally posted by boriel


is there a formula to use? this is hard to explain...what i mean is, say i dial the shutter speed down to say, 60. Is there a setting on the aperature that i should automatically be using with that? Or do i have to figure that out on my own? Conversely, if i speed up the shutterspeed to say, 1000 to capture a sporting event/action, is there an aperature setting that i should automatically use to let more light in? IF NOT, how do you EVER learn to figure it all out?

well... depends of the results you want to get and to be honest i've never found any "rules" for that; and you have to consider variables like the ISO number and the quality of the light.

If you wanna work with the camera in manual mode (controlling all the variables) you gotta have a lot of practice and the only way to get it is taking pics and keeping control over the results... I learned to handle my camara that way, writting down all the variables and looking the results... So that's why i said that is easier to work with "aperture priority" o "shutter priority", i'm gonna try to explain them:

* Aperture priority: you use it when you wanna control the amount of light and the depth of field (range of sharpness). in this case the camera automatically sets the shutter speed for a good exposure.

* Shutter priority: Use it when you wanna control the speed. this is a good option when you wanna capture fast movements without blur. the camera will set the aperture automatically.
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:29 AM   #4
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Re: I need to ask a photographer a question

Quote:
Originally posted by boriel


and finally, last question. IF i am allowed to take my camera to the U2 concert (which i hear is a possibility) what kind of settings are best for that weird low light in the audience, lots of light on stage, live action thing? And do i need to use a flash or can i compensate for that with manual settings.

if you are not near to U2 in the concert a flash light is useless. the average flash light only reaches like 30 mts.

some digital cameras can compensate the lack of light.

use an ISO 200 or 400 whether if you are using a digital camera or an analogue one.

use "aperture priority and set it up to 5.6 minimum
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Old 03-30-2005, 10:41 AM   #5
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analogue probably if they let me in with it. Otherwise I'll have to read the manual on my digital real fast to figure out the settings.

not to sound totally dumb, but is ISO shutter speed?

and if i use aperature priority, I will have a shorter depth of field, and better pics of the band and less background in the shot (background will be blurred and not in focus therefore your eye skims over it and focuses on the band) correct?

thanks for the help, btw. (its all so confusing sometimes )
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by boriel
analogue probably if they let me in with it. Otherwise I'll have to read the manual on my digital real fast to figure out the settings.]
that's the best choice

Quote:
not to sound totally dumb, but is ISO shutter speed? [/B]
in analogue camaras the ISO number represents the film's sensitivity to light. Lower ISO (like 50, 80, 100) mean that the film's grain is small and it is good for bright light and to capture a good amount of details. bigger ISO (like 200, 400 and so on) mean that the grain is big and it will capture more light but with less detail.

Quote:
and if i use aperature priority, I will have a shorter depth of field, and better pics of the band and less background in the shot (background will be blurred and not in focus therefore your eye skims over it and focuses on the band) correct?
[/B]
It depends... the more you open the aperture the more depth of field you will get.
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Old 03-30-2005, 11:14 AM   #7
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Re: I need to ask a photographer a question

Just a quick question beforehand - what kind of camera are you using? Is it all manual, or does it have auto settings? Is it digital, film?

Quote:
Originally posted by boriel

what i dont understand is this:

if i need to let in more light, and i open the aperature, do i also need to adjust the shutterspeed? and if i take a picture of a waterfall, say, and want that cool look to the water, and i slow down the shutterspeed - it lets in too much light and will over expose the frame. So to compensate i'll need to close or tighten up the aperature.
This is correct. Basically for a given subject/scene there is a "right" combination of aperture and shutter speeds that produce a technically good exposure. Let's say for example that 1/1000th of a second at f/8 gives you a good exposure. If you slow down the shutter speed to say, 1/500th but still keep the aperture at f/4, then you're going to overexpose the shot, since you've kept the shutter open twice as long with the same size aperture (let twice as much light go through). However, if you decrease the aperture to f/11, then that aperture only lets half the light that f/4 let in so it balances out with the longer shutter speed. 1/1000 @ f/4 = 1/500 @ f/5.6 in terms of exposure.

Or to put it in simpler terms, given the same lighting conditions, for every stop you decrease the shutter speed, you'll need to decrease the aperture by a stop as well (giving you a higher f-number). For every stop you increase the shutter speed, you'll need to increase the aperture by a stop as well (giving you a smaller f-number).

Unfortunately there isn't a predetermined right aperture setting for a given shutter speed. It really all depends on the scene you're shooting and how much light there is. For example, If you use a shutter speed of 60, then an aperture of f/8 might work if it's a really bright subject you're shooting, but an aperture of f/2.8 might work if it's a low light situation. It also depends on what effect you want. Know that if you want to do a blurred shot of a waterfall, you'll most likely need a tripod as it's very hard to get a sharp shot handholding at speeds under 1/30th of a second.

Also, be aware that changing aperture does effect how much of your shot is in focus. Large apertures like f/1.8 or f/2.8 have small ranges of focus

Like this shot (apologize for the size)


That was shot at f/2.8 - which led to the background being blurred out. Whereas a shot taken at f/16 produces sharp focus throughout the shot:



(but at the expense of shutter speed - you'll notice some of the leaves are a little blurry, that's because the shutter speed was slow to compensate for the small aperture)

There is a rule that might help you out - it's called the Sunny f/16 rule. Generally what it means is that if it's a sunny day with no clouds, then one correct exposure should be 1/ISO speed (eg, if your film speed is 100 then your shutter speed will be 1/100 or the closest number to that (usually 1/90) and f/16. Of course you can adjust your settings from that formula. Do a google search for Sunny 16 and you should get some helpful sites.

Quote:
and finally, last question. IF i am allowed to take my camera to the U2 concert (which i hear is a possibility) what kind of settings are best for that weird low light in the audience, lots of light on stage, live action thing? And do i need to use a flash or can i compensate for that with manual settings.

ANY help is greatly appreciated! I have time to go out and practice this before the April concert
Use fast film. If you want to shoot black and white, find some ISO 1600 film (ISO 800 minimum for low light concert photography). If you're shooting digital, shoot at 800 or higher. Also, the lens you use is important too. Lenses with large maximum apertures work well in low light because they let more light in. See if you can find an f/1.8 or f/2.8 lens that you can afford - that will help you get shutter speeds fast enough to avoid camera shake and blurring (the more light the lens can let in through it's aperture, the faster your shutter speeds will be).

Muggsy is right about flash - unless you're close to the stage, don't bother.
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:53 PM   #8
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Hi!

Use the auto mode........it's a lot quicker.....you can always adjust in Photoshop if you don't like the results. Zooming.....now that's a different story.....wizards love to zoom......

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