exposure

21 June, 2006

Originally uploaded by techne.

Now that it’s summer, I have learned what f/22 is for. I had only used the high f-stops before for things like long exposures in dark bars. Well, now I’m shooting stuff outdoors at noon in the brightest light of the year — Honfest a few weekends ago, and last weekend I shot the DC Boxcar Derby for a local newspaper. Thank goodness I had that Honfest experience, because I really learned an AWFUL lot that day that was vital for the Derby. Like what f/22 is for. 🙂

I’m told that low-light work, which I pretty much get cause I’ve been doing it almost exclusively for the better part of a year, is much harder. Still, I have felt slightly ridiculous lately as I mess up so damn many shots trying to learn how to handle summer light. It’s made me realize why I never got this deep into photography before, despite having the desire. I would have wasted so much time and film by this point it would have discouraged me right out of it. Stuff like dropping off/picking up film in a timely fashion is precisely the sort of life task that I am terrible at. In contrast (ha!) I thrive on digital’s instant feedback.

It’s sort of like languages. Studying for an hour every day, day in and day out…I learn nothing because I get so little reinforcement because the progress is so slow. So I was awful at languages at school. Immersion, though, that would work for me, and when my language courses were more immersion-style, I did much better. Gee, I know it’s shocking, from a blogger whose theme is obsession, that learning languages obsessively is better than measuredly.

OK, back to work. My PI’s big defense-like thing was yesterday. He won’t hear formally for some weeks, but he got excellent feedback, pretty much instantaneously. It’s a frighteningly exciting time to be in this field, and to be where we are. I’ll blog more about it someday. There’s so many good science blogs though, I hesitate to make this into one. I’d really appreciate it if my readership could comment about how much science they do or don’t want to hear. Remember, I can explain anythign to anybody, so if you really do want to understand what I do, we can do that. Or I can just post the fun stuff.

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3 Responses to “exposure”

  1. Bsivad Says:

    Not to confuse you further, but probably you shouldn’t be using f/22 …

    http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm

  2. techne Says:

    Thanks so much for the link! I love sites like that!!! Although if I’m reading it right and using their little tool properly, I’m still OK when stopped way down on the 300D because it has large-ish pixel area (same sensor as the 10D). I’m just so low-light-oriented that the concept that I can get usable shutter speeds while severely stopped down is new ‘n’ exciting. In practice I’m not up there much…

  3. furcafe Says:

    Yes, per Brett’s post, the optimal aperture for most lenses is 2 or 3 stops down from the maximum (e.g., f/5.6 or f/8 for an f/2 lens). Also, aperture control is important not just as an indirect means of controlling your shutter speed(s), but as a means of controlling depth of field, e.g., sometimes you don’t want everything from 3 feet to infinity to be in focus. So, rather than f/22, you might be better off just dialing the ISO down as low as it can go (100? 50?) & rely on your modern camera’s high shutter speeds (1/2000th? 1/4000th?).


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