Photography Basics: Aperture

Whenever a photograph is taken, a decision has to be made about how much light is needed to achieve an acceptable exposure. Often the camera will automatically select a shutter speed, aperture and ISO to control this. However, the photographer may decide to select one or more of these variables themselves.

The aperture of a lens refers to the size of the opening through which light passes. A certain lens will have a maximum aperture (the size when it is as wide open as possible) but can be set to close down to a narrower size.

If two photographs are taken under the same conditions,  using the same shutter speed and ISO but with different apertures, then the photograph with the smaller aperture will appear darker. A small aperture lets in less light than a large aperture.

The progression of apertures (in “stops”) is as follows: f1.4, f2, f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22, f32… Closing down the aperture by one stop halves the amount of light reaching the sensor, so the shutter has to stay open for twice as long to let in the same amount of light.

(diagram from Wikimedia Commons)

The photographs below demonstrate the effects of changing the aperture. Not all lenses can achieve every possible f stop. For the experiments shown below, I used a lens whose widest aperture was f2.8.

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Online Resources for Choosing a Colour Scheme

I love colour and can spend ages playing with different colour combinations, but I find that it can be very difficult to narrow down all the different options and come up with a colour scheme that is more than just a unco-ordinated mix of beautiful colours.

If you are serious about using colour in the most effective way and would like to do some research, then I would highly recommend a series of three articles by Smashing Magazine:

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Website for MJD Homes

MJD Homes website using Squarespace

John Holman, of MJD Homes, asked me to set up a simple website to display photographs of the houses built by him and his business partners…

Website Solutions – Part 3: Squarespace

squarespace logo

This is the last of a three part series in which I have set up a test website on different platforms to see how they compare.

Squarespace could be a good choice if you want plenty of control over the way your website looks and works, but don’t want the responsibility of maintaining it yourself. It doesn’t seem to have quite the power of WordPress, but it’s pretty good and a bit easier to use.

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Website Solutions – Part 2: Weebly

weebly logo

In the first post in this series, I described how I set up two versions of a test photography site to compare self-hosted WordPress with WordPress.com.

In this article, I consider another alternative – Weebly.  Weebly could be a good choice if you are looking for something simpler than WordPress and you don’t want to be responsible for backing up your website and keeping your theme and plugins up-to-date.

You may find the limitations of Weebly frustrating, but if your site is fairly basic then it could be all you need. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised and quite impressed. Weebly’s drag and drop editor is easy to use and there are options allowing you to personalise your site.

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Website Solutions – Part 1: Self-Hosted WordPress versus WordPress.com

Much as I like WordPress, I realise that some of the alternatives could also be good choices for building a website. I decided to make a test site to compare a few of the popular options. This post concerns self-hosted WordPress and WordPress.com.

Self-hosted WordPress is flexible and customisable.  It can be extended, using plugins, to suit a variety of different types of site. But, if you choose to use it, then you should accept that you will be responsible for maintaining it.

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