cloudy day

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by stevet1, Aug 16, 2019 at 1:04 AM.

  1. stevet1

    stevet1 TPF Noob!

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    Let's say I have a cloudy day
    In order to let more light into the camera, would I want to set my aperture to around 4 and adjust my shutter speed low to around 1/100th of a second.
    Conversely, on a bright, sunny day, would I set my aperture up to around 11 or 16, and increase my shutter speed to around 250 or 500?
    I'm using a 70-200 mm lens, and I think 4 is the lowest it will go.

    Steve Thomas


     
  2. adam.smith11

    adam.smith11 TPF Noob!

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    The longer the shutter is open the steadier your hand should be to avoid blur. The rule of thumb is that the shutter speed should be 1/[Focal Length]. So if you are shooting with a 500 mm lens, you should set your shutter speed to 1/500 or higher.
     
  3. stevet1

    stevet1 TPF Noob!

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    So, I've been trying to use the aperture to control the amount of light coming in and then adjusting the shutter speed accordingly.
    Should I just use the aperture to control the depth of field and concentrate on using the shutter speed to control the blur and amount of light coming in?

    Steve Thomas
     
  4. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Hi Steve,

    This totally depends on what your subject is. So in order to determine shutter speed and aperture there was a concept I was introduced to called the limiting factor, which I think may be useful to you.

    So in any photo we take there are two main factors that limit our ability to select either shutter speed or aperture. As we decrease shutter speed we can introduce blur if anything in the shot is moving and as we open the aperture (smaller f number) we make our depth of field thinner which can limit what is in acceptable focus.

    In any shot we take we can be limited by one, or both.

    For example: if we are photograhing a landscape on a tripod on a still day our limiting factor is aperture, as there is little movement in the scene but we want everything from the foreground to the dustance to be in sharp focus. So we'd want to use an aperture value of f8-f11 to maximise our depth of field. So the limiting factor here would be aperture.

    If we are shooting say a football game and we want a shot of the quarterback running to catch the ball. Depth of field matters less and as long as they are in focus. So we need the shutter speed to be fast enough to render the quarterback sharp, we may need 1/500th sec - 1/800th sec. The limiting factor here is shutter speed.

    If we are shooting say a portait shot of family members on a beach with boats in the background and we want everything sharp, the people are moving, the boats are moving and we want a deep depth of field we might need a shutter speed of 1/100th sec - 1/250th sec and a small aperture of f8-f11 to get everything from foreground to background sharp. The limiting factor here is both shutter speed and aperture.

    Things get a little more complicated at the telephoto end (long focal lengths) as depth of field is also limited by distance, so the camera to subject to background distance. If you are close to your subject and there is a large distance between them and the background you may find that at a long focal length you will be unable to get both in focus even at very small apertures, conversely if there is a large distance between you and the subject you may not get much blur on the background even at small apertures. You will find that with extremely long focal lengths like 400-600mm depth of field can be very shallow indeed. It's worth noting that after the aperture hits f16 diffraction starts to kick in which has a slight blurring effect across the whole frame, so normally you don't want to go any smaller than that unless you are shooting macro.
     
  5. stevet1

    stevet1 TPF Noob!

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    Weepete,

    Thanks for your help. I think I understand a little better.
    My pictures have tended to be a little overexposed. I think I need to up my shutter speed and shrink my aperture a little more.

    Steve Thomas
     
  6. RVT1K

    RVT1K No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is how I often, but not always shoot.

    I'll set the aperture depending on what I want the shot to look like. If I just want the subject and background sharp, I set the aperture smaller (higher number). But if I want the background blurry then I open the aperture up (smaller number).

    But if I need to capture something fast moving like hummingbirds, I'll do what ever it takes to get the high shutter speed. That usually means opening the aperture.

    But you've not mentioned the third part of the exposure equation and that is the ISO your camera is set to. The higher the ISO the more sensitive it is and the less light it needs to get the same exposure.

    So in the case of the hummingbirds, it is often open the aperture and raise the ISO so a fast shutter will allow a proper exposure.

    If your camera has an "auto" feature where you mostly point, focus, and shoot, you can experiment a little. Take some shots the way you normally would then set the camera to auto and see what it does. Are the shots better? If so, what did the camera do different than you did?
     

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