I recently took a class to gain better understanding and hopefully some control of the pictures I have been taking of the animals at the shelter.  Thanks to Lindsay of Shaffer Photography, I was able to regain some of the knowledge from younger days. F-stops, shutters speeds and ISO aren’t as much of a mystery today. It is a balance of the three that make up the focus (depth of field distance).

Before the class, I would toggle between the iconic presets of the mode dial on my camera. The flower for close-ups, the running man/sports for a quick-moving animal, and so on…. I usually got a good picture but never really felt in control of the camera. Now armed with a solid understanding of things photographic, I am able to mostly use the aperture priority setting and only when I want to freeze the motion or slow it down do I switch over to the shutter priority. Gone are the days of the presets. I am not even sure why I would use them now.

A few of the rules I learned:

  • Sometimes the best way to make an object closer is to MOVE closer to the object, seems simple enough but I had forgotten that I am the controller.
  • In aperture priority set the aperture as low as possible (depends on lighting conditions) to get a the smallest depth of field possible.  A small depth of field will allow the object in focus (hopefully the animals eyes) to be the center of attention and blur the clutter in the background.
  • Don’t shoot anything less than 1/60th of a second for images to be in focus, unless the camera is mounted on a tripod. We just can’t be still enough for that slow of a shutter.

Black cats have been a struggle for me.  I am usually blowing out the colors but with the new adjustments, I actually captured Onyx the way I saw him.  Beautiful sleek black coat full of shimmer and shine….


One thought on “Priorities

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