So your assignment for the week (which has turned into two weeks…sorry folks, it couldn’t be helped), was to work on choosing a good f-stop to blur the background in your animal photos.
Ok. Did that! Got it down.
In the above image, I chose a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second, and an f-stop of F-2.8. You did that too, right? By choosing small f-stop numbers, there will be a lot less depth in our photos and the animals will really stand out from the background. Cool right?
Since exposure is always a combination of the shutter speed and the aperture (F-stop), we noticed that when we chose a small f-stop number, the shutter speed was increased. Great. Fast shutter speeds freeze the action in animal photographs so using a fast shutter speed and a small aperture is the way to go with animals.
If you want to let the camera set the exposure for you, set your dial on the action icon and the camera’s computer will choose the correct aperture to balance the exposure. Voila…since it’s an inverse relationship, when the shutter speed number goes up, the aperture number goes down (creating less depth of field), it works to our advantage with animal photography.
Another image with a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second, and an aperture of f-2.8. The depth of field is so narrow the flowers behind the peacock are just points of yellow light. If you follow the grass in front of the bird, and behind the bird, you can see how narrow the depth of field is in this image.
And here’s another one with a shutter speed of…let’s guess…1/250th of a second and an aperture of f 2.8. Again, the background behind the baby kids is totally soft and out of focus. There’s nothing to distract our eyes from focusing on the subjects.
So this week, try setting the shutter speed to 1/250th of a second, and set your aperture to a small number. See what kind of results you get. If 250th of a second doesn’t bump the aperture number down enough, choose a higher shutter speed until you have a smller aperture number. Keep trying until you see the animal’s movement frozen in the image with a soft blurry background.