Create more interesting photos by experimenting, writes Salliza Salleh

APERTURE setting is crucial to a balanced triangle exposure, along with shutter speed and ISO setting. It controls the opening of the hole in the lens which allows light to pass and reach the sensors.

If you look at your camera’s mode dial, the letters “A” or “Av” means aperture.

Aperture works just like our eyes; light entering our eyes is adjusted by controlling the size of the pupil.

The effect of the aperture to photographs is extensive as any change in aperture setting has a direct effect on brightness (exposure) and depth of field of the images.

Depth of field is the distance between the closest and farthest objects in a photo that appears acceptably sharp.

Aperture is measured by the f/ number. The smaller the number, the bigger the aperture. For example, aperture f/2.8 is a big aperture and this setting will give a shallow DOF. Meanwhile, the bigger the f/ number means the smaller the aperture and you get a deep DOF, where all parts of the photos will appear sharp.

So how will the selected aperture affect the exposure and DOF in your image?

Here are some ideas on how to make the most of aperture setting.



UNDERSTANDING F-STOPS

1.UNDERSTANDING F-STOPS: Smaller apertures (f/13andabove) allow less light in and create deep DOF effect. In this photo of a landscape view from the top of Bohey Dulang Island at 11.30am, I set my camera at f/16, 1/125sec and ISO200. Setting the aperture at f/16 on a sunny day will limit the light entering the camera’s sensors and this creates a “larger” depth of field, meaning both the fore ground and the background will be in focus.




UNDERSTANDING DOF

2.UNDERSTANDING DOF: Bigger apertures (f/1.8tof/4) allow more light in and create “shallow” DOF. In this portrait of a boyata shady alley around Peshawar market in Pakistan, I set my camera at f/2.8, 1/60 sec and ISO800. At f/2.8 in a dim surrounding, more light enters the sensor and subsequently creates “shallow” DOF, blurry background a.k.a bokeh effect. His eyes are in focus while his face softens and the background is creatively blurred.




ADDING SUNBURST EFFECT

3.ADDING SUNBURST EFFECT: Add sun or starburst effect in your photography by setting the aperture to f/16-f/22 or higher. In this landscape view of a sunny morning at Wellington Harbour in New Zealand, the sun was intense and my camera setting was at f/22,1/75sec and ISO200.




ADDING SHADOW

4.ADDING SHADOW: Use wider aperture (f/1.4, f/1.8or f2.8) and add shadow to portraits by shooting in a low light scene. Aperture size correlates with exposure. The larger the aperture setting, the more light getting in and the brighter your photo will appear. In this photo of a young girl from Dhaka, she was sitting on dark stairs and my camera setting was at f/2.8,1/60sec and ISO800.




LENS LIMITATIONS

5.LENS LIMITATIONS: Aperture controls the quality of light that goes into the lens and its efficiency depends heavily on the type of lens itself. Every lens has its own limitation. Prime lens with a very wide aperture (f/2 and below) allow more light-in during a low light scene. A “fast” zoom lens with a fixed aperture (at least at f/2.8) is able to maintain a constant maximum aperture at f/2.8while the standard kit lens, for example like Nikon 18-55mmf/3.5-5.6, can barely make it somewhere around f/3.5in a low light scene. In his Milky Way photo on Sabtang Island in the Philippines, I put my camera on a tripod and captured this image with a Nikon 14-24mmat f/2.8, 30sec andISO2500.



LIFE IN PIXELS

A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER WHO BELIEVES THAT PHOTOGRAPHY HELPS HER UNDERSTAND LIFE, SALLIZA SALLEH AKA MATSUDA MASHIMARU WANDERS THE GLOBE TO EXPERIENCE MOMENTS WITH HER TRUSTY FRIEND, HER CAMERA.

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