Hurt Photography: Blog en-us (C) Hurt Photography [email protected] (Hurt Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:18:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:18:00 GMT Aperture... In my 3rd part of my learning series I will be talking about Aperture. Just like shutter speed, what is it, what is it used for, and when to use it.  Aperture and shutter speed go hand in hand. What you do with one will affect the other. You will use this to manipulate the camera to obtain the photo you are going for.

The aperture (also known as F stop) is represented on your camera by a number such as 1.8, 8, 16, etc.  How low the number will go will vary depending on the lens you are using. Depending on where you are viewing on the camera this number might have an F before it, on my Canon this number is to the left of my exposure meter in the view finder, it shows an F on my LCD screen on back.

The aperture acts like the pupil of your eye.  The brighter it is outside the smaller your pupil is, allowing less light to enter. The darker outside it is your pupil becomes wider, allowing more light in.  The same holds true for you camera. The aperture can range from 1.8-22 (again this will depend on your lens). The smaller the number the wider your aperture is open, the larger the number the smaller the opening.

So now we have a little understanding of apertures, what does this all mean and how do we use it. Just like your pupil if you are in a dark room (gym, restaurant, etc.) you need as much light as you can to enter the camera to expose the shot properly. There are 2 ways to do this a long shutter speed as we discussed last week or a wider aperture. When you have your camera on a tripod as long as the object is not moving you can get away with using slow shutters. But if you are shooting your kids basketball game, a birthday party, or holding your camera in your hand, you need to have a faster shutter speed set. So to offset the faster shutter you have to have your aperture open wider (smaller number).  You can also use this when outside shooting wildlife, sporting events, etc. to get a faster shutter speed to freeze the action.

The opposite also holds true. Say you are out shooting in the mid day with bright sun light and you want to show motion in your picture. Such as a soft lines on waterfalls, a car passing by, etc. Well as we mentioned last week you need to have a slower shutter speed. If you are in a bright area and you use a smaller aperture (larger number), this will allow you to slow down your shutter speed.

Are we confused yet, I know I was, let’s get lost even more…One more thing that is affected is your Depth of Field. Depth of field is what is relatively in focus or sharp in the picture. Just like your pupil if it is open wide not much of what you look at is in focus, but as it adjusts and becomes smaller more things become focused.  As you will see in the photos below as the F-stop increases, the opening of the aperture becomes smaller, resulting in more things in focus.

So why would your depth of field be important? Let’s say you are shooting a portrait but the background is filled with people, if you use a smaller F-stop it will blur that background more so your subject pops more out of the picture. However if you are shooting a landscape you want more of the scene in focus, so for that you will use a larger F-stop and more of the scene will be in focus. Also if you are shooting a person but want the background to be somewhat in focus you will use a larger F-stop as well.

Besides aperture on the camera, distance will also affect your depth of field, as well as the zoom on your lens. The distance from the camera to subject and subject to background. We will get into this later down the road.

As mentioned earlier in this post here is some photos showing examples of how the F-stop affects the photo. I did not change distance, focus point, or anything else. Each item is about 6 inches from each other and the apple is about 24 inches from the camera. Only thing that was changed was the aperture. (And shutter speed to correct the exposure)

In this first photo the aperture (f stop) is set to 1.8. As you can see just the apple is in focus, the rest is pretty much out of focus. This photo really highlights the apple alone, and removes some distracting features in the background. This is great for portraits, the subject is in focus and distracting background items are blurred not taking away.

In this next photo you can see that the orange comes into more focus. F-stop is f4. This and the next shot might be good if you are shooting a person and want some of the background in focus. It’s not over powering to take away from the person but its strong enough to be able to make out the background. (ie like in front of Eiffel tower, Disney Castle, etc.)

At F8, you will see the orange is now in focus as well, the last orange is coming into focus along with the chair.

Finally at F22, the apple and 2 oranges are in focus. The banana has come more into focus, the grain on the table is more noticeable, the chair is also in focus. This would be great for landscapes.

You can click on the photos for a larger view.  There are many more f-stops that will fall in between each of these photos, with each one the change will be less dramatic.

This was a pretty long post, if you have stayed with it this far thank you. If you have any questions or would like to know more leave a comment or feel free to contact me.

Tommy Hurt Jr.

[email protected] (Hurt Photography) Learning Fri, 17 Feb 2012 09:17:11 GMT
Shutter Speeds... Continuing from last week, I will go into shutter speeds. What is it used for?  When do you use it? What effects will it cause? How to use it to your advantage.  Link to larger image at end of post.


Your shutter speed is how long the shutter is open on the camera. The slower the shutter speed the more light will enter the camera. Your shutter can be open for fractions of a second 1/2000, for several seconds, or even minutes. On most cameras shutter speeds are shown as a whole number when viewed through the view finder. These are actual fractions of a second so if it shows 100, it’s really 1/100 of a second. Once you start getting into slower speeds it will appear with a quotation next to the number. So 0″5 would be half a second, “1 would be open for a full second and so on. On some newer cameras if you are looking at the LCD on the back it might show the shutter in fraction form vs as a whole number.

Fast shutter speeds are great for action shots where you want to freeze the action. Such as sports, maybe an explosion, wildlife, or motor sports.  For sports or action shots usually around 1/500 is a good starting speed to freeze the action. If you find that the object is slightly blurry you might want to go with a faster shutter. If its sharp you might be able to reduce the speed if you think the image is too dark.  When you are shooting at these speeds your “aperture” needs to be open wide to allow enough light in to expose properly. We will discuss apertures next week.

For shooting people I would tend to stay above 1/60 or so for speed. Reason being is people move and can cause a slight blur on a hand. Also when you are holding the camera in your hand a little shake at a slower speed could result in a blurry image. If you have a lens though with image stabilization you can get away with a little slower speed.

We know why we use fast shutters, to capture and freeze the action. So why would we want to slow down the speed? There are times when you want soft lines like with waterfalls,  beach waves, tall grass blowing in the wind, or if you pan with the moving object (this will blur the background some and make the subject stand out). Slow shutter speeds are used to show motion in your otherwise “still” photograph. It is also used to allow more light when shooting in dark situations or the night sky.

When you are using slower shutters its recommend to have the camera on a tripod and use a shutter release cable or wireless remote. The reason for this is any little bit of shake on the camera will cause unwanted blur in your image. If you don’t have a cable release or wireless remote most cameras will have a delay. You can set your camera to a 10 sec delay so after you hit the shutter it has time to settle before the camera takes the shot.

Below is a animation showing some different speeds. I was hoping to get some faster speeds to show more of the “freezing” action. I will get some updated photos and add one with some more faster speeds. As you can see the first shot at 1/20 you get some freezing but there is a little blur. As it goes to slower speeds you can see the transition and giving the effect of movement in the water.


Tommy Hurt Jr

[email protected] (Hurt Photography) Learning Fri, 10 Feb 2012 12:47:23 GMT
Time To Get Started So here is my first post in a line of articles about what I have learned along my travels. From the basics to the more advanced. I am a big believer in you reap what you sow and you sow what you reap. I have talked with others and learned a lot over the last couple years. While my information many may know I hope that it will help others out along their way. Sorry for no photos on this post, I will be sure to have some going forward.

About 7 years ago I took the first plunge into digital and picked up a DSLR. Things happen and we’ll just say after two years, I was forced into early retirement. Just 2 years ago I finally got myself back into a position where I could get a DSLR again. I now protect all my gear with my life. I can only imagine where I could have been if I did not have that 5 year lapse, but things work out in the end.

You’ve now taken the plunge to get your first SLR, like I did many moons ago. Whether it was digital, film, new, or used. Many individuals will stay in that box of always shooting on “auto”. Not us, we bought this camera to get out of the “little green box” (if you have a Canon). These cameras have so much more potential once you make the jump. So let’s get started.

First thing I would recommend is look through the instruction manual that came with the camera. You will be very surprised on how much info is now packed in these manuals about your camera. If you bought the camera used and don’t have one, check the manufacture’s website. They don’t just give you the basics on what each button does, but they have advanced sections that tell you how things affect each other. If you have a library see what they have to check out. Kodak had some really great books and most books on film will translate well to digital.

On To The Camera Settings. 

Most if not all SLR cameras you will find the following on the dial:

“P” – Program AE: This is very similar to the “auto” mode on the camera as it will properly expose the image for you. The difference is you have control over the other features such as Auto focus mode, flash, and other functions. The other benefit of this mode over auto is you can still change the shutter or aperture on the camera. If you turn your dial to change the shutter speed the camera will automatically change the aperture and vice versa to get a properly exposed shot. This also basically gives you the next two settings but combined into one.

“Tv” – Shutter Priority AE: With this you can control the shutter speed of your camera. The camera will automatically adjust the aperture for a correct exposure. Faster shutter speeds will freeze the action, this is great for sports, wildlife, and moving objects. Slower shutter speeds will give the effect of motion, such as moving water on a waterfall.

“Av” – Aperture Priority AE: You control the Aperture or F-stop. The camera will adjust the shutter speed to give a properly exposed photo. This gives you control of the sharpness/focus of items in the picture. With a larger F-stop (number) more items will be in focus of the frame, a smaller f-stop (lower number) less of the frame will be in focus. Small numbers are great for portraits or when you want the background to be out of focus providing the foreground to stand out. Larger numbers are great when you want more items in focus such as with landscapes.

“M” – Manual Exposure: You now have full control over the camera. You set both the shutter and the aperture. Due to this you can underexpose or overexpose an image. To minimize this when you look through the view finder you will see a meter at the bottom this is your exposure. Would look something like ” -3∙∙-2∙∙-1∙∙0∙∙1∙∙2∙∙3 ” you might only see down to 2 or you might see more. There will be an arrow or line below that graph that will move as you adjust your shutter or aperture. Most of the time you want it to be under the 0 or in the middle but some instances you will want it to the left or right (we’ll go into this later). The above meter is on a Canon, I believe on Nikon it is reversed.

At this point you might be thinking all this is a little over your head, I know I was. Don’t worry over the next few weeks I will be going into greater detail of each one, what I use if for (you might find other times), shutter speed, aperture, etc. If you have a question about any thing or would like to see something in specific feel free to contact me.

Tommy Hurt Jr.


[email protected] (Hurt Photography) Learning Wed, 01 Feb 2012 09:55:27 GMT
3 Years In The Making

Here is my first entry for the new blog. My goal is to build this up with useful information for myself and others to come to. I hope to keep this as well as a way of tracking my history and being able to look back on where I started and where I am at some time in the future. In the last few months I have decided to take on photography as a full time business. From trying to sell my landscape shots, enter contests, and work shooting properties for real estate, vacation rentals, builders, etc. While things are coming in it is slow at times and the New Year brings in more marketing in hopes of building up a booming business that will keep me going for years to come.

On to the good stuff on the above photo. From the first hike out to view the Folly Island Lighthouse back in 2008 I had always imaged an image like this.  High tide, rough seas, and a sunset worth capturing.

I have enjoyed shooting landscapes and what I have learned is to be successful in capturing those great images is you have to be at the right place at the right time. You have to be willing to go where no normal person would, pushing yourself and your equipment. This is what doing all the above can get you.

It was the summer of 2011 and Hurricane Irene was coming up the east coast. We started to see effects of her on Thursday, so right after work I rush home to let the dogs out grab the camera and off I go. While the surf was pounding there was not too much going on in the sky or out by lighthouse. I knew we had one more day and she would be closer, 100 or so miles off the coast.  Time for the same program, rush home from work, let the dogs out, 60 min drive out to beach. What should have took me only 20-30 mins to get to the spot took so much longer, everyone was out at the beach. The whole island had lost power so the only thing for the residents to do was hit the beach and watch the surfers. So the road was packed with traffic and parts of the road where flooded.

I finally get past all the traffic and find a place to park. The sun was setting quick and I still had a 15 minute or so hike to the point to see the lighthouse. Amazingly I get out there and there is 2 people out there.  A news reporter and the camera man. I start to look around for a good angle and nothing. The tide was so high that where you can normally walk out to the beach was just ocean.

Time to just go for it. Camera pack goes on back, tripod to shoulders, walk past the reporter and step into the unruly sea. If you can imagine the fear and excitement. Here I am in knee deep water, carrying close to 2k in camera equipment, trying to get a shot…Not one of the brightest moments I had. I get out to a spot fire off a few dozen shots then start to make the hike back.

I finally get back to where the reporter once was and there is now a handful of people taking shots of the lighthouse. Looking at me like I was crazy, hey who can blame them. Was it worth it? Yes, sure I could have stayed where everyone else was and got the same shot they all got. The shot with so many distractions from the city in the background taking away from the lighthouse. I decided to take the risk and find that angle that would show just the lighthouse in the middle of the ocean, still standing tall, without any other items to take away from it.

This was a once in a life time shot. How many times will a hurricane pass just far enough off shore to leave gaps in rain bands, during a high tide, and close to sunset?

To see larger image click here: Morris Island Light

[email protected] (Hurt Photography) Landscapes Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:49:51 GMT