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Wide apertures at events #photography

I reviewed a small art exhibition at the library and then later on Friday I photographed the switch-on of the Christmas lights in Wednesbury, as I have for the past few years. The event was different this year and there was less light for many of the shots. I needed to use a wide aperture for the art exhibition and similarly for the switch-on. Wide apertures let in more light and also gives you a faster shutter speed on aperture priority.

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Wide apertures

I didn’t really have too much time at the library and took the shots wide open with a 35mm prime lens. It was a good choice for most of the shots but not for this one. It does give me a great picture to explain why I took the shot too wide. Notice the submarine picture in the centre of the image. I focused on that and it is in focus at F1.8 (very wide). The writing on the card is clear but look at the cards that are closer and they are blurred, so too are the ones farther away. Within that focal plane, everything is sharp but any closer or farther away and you get blur. The 35mm prime used wide open is great for copying pictures and for portraits but you have to be careful with a shot like this not to set the aperture too wide.

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Wide open

This shot was taken wide open at F 1.8 too, but it brings my subject into sharp focus and the rest of the image doesn’t matter.

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Christmas lights switch-on

I didn’t much like the fluorescent light in the library but at least it was light!  The switch-on was very dark and so I needed to use a flash which had to be adjusted for some shots. I used my 18 – 105 mm zoom lens for this shot and I didn’t really have time to set a wide aperture. Sometimes you just have to take the shot before they change their minds. I shot this at F8 and it isn’t too bad considering.

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I shot this at F4 and my subject was the sign. The rest of the picture isn’t so sharp but my subject is and the image conveys a message. Wide apertures are better even for this type of shot.

wide apertures give you a sharper image


This is Vicki who runs Mindful Gifts and I had more time for this shot so could take a little more time setting the wide aperture at F 4.8 which gave me a decent shutter speed of 1/60 of a second. For many of my other shots, I didn’t have so much time to do settings. I just made the most of the opportunity to take a shot.

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Libby Rose

This is Libby Rose and this shot was wide open but as you zoom in the aperture goes narrower and so I shot this at F 5. It isn’t a bad shot considering it was flash photography.

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Group photos

Group photos are quite difficult. You need a narrow aperture to get a sharp image and to get a fast shutter speed especially in low light but you don’t want the people at the back too much out of focus. I zoomed in for this shot so the aperture narrowed a little to F 5 . I didn’t manage to get the whole group on but at least I got the deputy mayor in the middle.

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I zoomed out  and got  F 3.5 for this shot which is wide open for the 18 – 105mm lens. The camera will only focus on subjects where it sees light and dark. If you try to focus on something where there is no variation in light and dark like a blank piece of paper it won’t focus using auto-focus.

I’m photographing a Christmas Fayre next week. I hope I have learnt enough to get better pictures under fluorescent lighting. I will definitely be using wide apertures again.

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