Aperture A challenge in relation to 'a day in the life of a grass snake'

Aperture is one of the challenges set for my project in DMD604 and DMD605. The aperture is a technical term used in photography, which is used to describe the lens opening and controlling how much light goes in to the lens and camera. Aperture will also determine focal length, such as f/stop which will ensure that your subject is in focus as well as everything else in front or behind it as well. With aperture you can also make it so the subject is in focus and everything around the subject is blurred into the background, making it a very focused and effective image if you are solely wanting to focus on one subject. Because of this, I wanted to try capture close ups of plants and test this aperture with the blurring of the background, as well as try to darken the image in the background. This is an effect I wish to use on my final piece in regards to 'a day in the life of a grass snake'.

Pictures of snow drops. First image, uses aperture so that the background is blurred and the focus is on the snow drops. The second image, is the same in respects of the aperture, however, it is darker due to either the ISO or exposure settings, which was an attempt to get the darker background, but this created a dark background for the entire image. The third image has a soft setting, with the focus entirely on the brightest part of the photograph which is the snow drop and the background slightly blurred, but not entirely blurred out so that it is not as harsh.

I have learned that in order to gain a dark background which depends entirely on lighting, it is best to put a dark subject behind the main subject and then progress into editing to make the main subject lighter and darken the background. I have learned that I missed a basic point, which was to set my focal point when shooting in manual, therefore, the images are not sharp and slightly blurred especially when the image is zoomed into. This is a basic error that I can not afford to do in a professional environment.

In five out of six images, the background is blurred either completely or slightly. The last image has only got slight blur at the back, which shows that the focus is entirely on everything in the image rather than only on one subject area like the rest of the images. Changing from different apertures, ISO and exposures, enabled me to see the difference in sharpness, focus, detail and which lighting suits the brightly lit crocus flower.
The fungi on this tree stump is either Coriolus hirsutus or Many-zoned polypore (coriolus resicolour). The fungi was interesting for me to shoot as they look almost like 'waves' and I liked the colours as they come across 'warm' and remind me of the beginning of spring or autumn. With these shots, I really experimented with aperture. There was a twig that was in front of the fungi, but this created a brown effect on the central image, which I really liked and felt that this gave character to the image. From the first three images, you can see the aperture focal point change from front to rear and the experimentation of different perspectives, showed me what different photographs I can achieve with aperture. Again, the focal point did need to be set at first to benefit from a sharp image, however, with subjects such as this, it can almost be acceptable as it gives the photograph character by not being 'perfect'.

Overall, the experimentation of aperture against different subjects enabled me to switch the focus and aperture from the main subject to the background. In this experiment of aperture, I have learned to set my focal point beforehand as to get my desired shot, otherwise the focal point could blur out the subject that I intend on shooting and find out afterwards when I come to look at the images on the computer, that in fact, the main subject is not sharp and blurred. Preparation of this is important for me to be able to get the desired shots, so planning is important and understanding my equipment to its full potential, will enable me to be an experienced wildlife photographer and be prepared for these moments. The experimentation of colours with aperture, was interesting and I have learned that I need to experiment more with the background colours, for if I am to get a black background, but with a brightly lit grass snake, I need my flash gun and appropriate equipment. I possibly need to put a black board or similar object, behind the snake without interfering with its habitat or even use its habitat to my advantage, to try and gain a dark background behind the snake. I am happy with this practise and will further my practise towards my final presentation of 'a day in the life of a grass snake'.

Created By
Nikki White


Nikki White Photography

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