#3 Skeptical

First, can I say that this is the kind of photo shoot Smokey can handle;) Here is the Daily Chuck.

Now, to the meat. I read a lot this weekend, and I learned a lot...but not enough:P

I kinda knew that shooting good pics is all about light. I figured out that Aperture is the amount of light you let into the camera. This is determined by your "f-stop". A low f-stop (lowest my lens goes is 3.5) means that your background will be out of focus. A high f-stop (highest my lens goes is 22) means the whole photo will be in focus.

Currently, I'm just trying to get the hang of Aperture setting. I get shutter speed sorta, but currently, I have no business trying to set that as well. My camera has a setting for aperture. The problem I had with this shoot is that when I set my camera on "a" and set my own aperture, I could not get the camera to auto focus. Dang it:P

I took about 50 shots of lazy Mr. Smokey...many of them were out of focus. The hell? How do I know when I'm setting the focus, if it's out of focus? I gotta read up on focus and auto focus. It seems wrong to me that if I'm on the "a" setting, that I can't still be on auto focus.

I'll tell you one nifty thing I learned. Do you shoot in RAW, or .jpg? One of the reasons I was scared to shoot in RAW is because the files are SO big. The Bro told me that when you import RAW pics into Photoshop, you can easily color correct for daylight vs fluorescent, or shade, or cloudy...

Well, did you know that you can shoot in .jpg, and still "open camera in raw"? You can! Usually I open my photos right in iphoto. Today, I opened them in Adobe Bridge. You can go to open>open camera in raw and do the color correction right there! Totally psyched when I figured that one out:)

So, I'm learning. I'm disappointed about this pic, because I wanted the background to be more out of focus:P Don't get me wrong, I'm happy Mr. Smokey is finally in focus...I just want to get this already.

I get it, I get that I've only been at it for five days, but I'm one of those people who likes to be good at things. Which means that learning hurts sometimes:P So bring on the next Daily Chuck Heather...I'm learning every step of the way;)


  1. To get that shallow depth of field try shooting at more of an angle. Or put Mr. Smokey further in front of the background so there's some distance.

    When I want a really fuzzy background I get as close to my subject as possible (I don't have a macro lens so I can only get so close) and then focus on just the face or head or whatever. The rest of the background should fall off.

    Here's an example, though the middle is in focus and the foreground is fuzzy.

  2. a few things...
    -the lower the f-stop the better the blurry background will be.
    -photoshop is amazing, and you can even fake your blurriness in editing if it didn't quite hit the way you'd hoped. (Magic lasso and Gaussien Blur baby)

    Now a tip or two, well more of an experiment I guess...
    Try this, find one of the kids toys, set it on the kitchen table directly in front of a box of cereal at the far end of the table. Set your camera about 5 feet away and take a picture.

    Don't move the camera...

    Now try the same picture, don't move your camera, move the toy closer to the camera and retake.

    Now one more time moving the object even closer to the camera and retake.

    In all three watch what happens to the focus of the background.

    Also play with this a bit and see how close you can get to the object before it too falls out of focus.

    This little experiment will give a greater understanding of depth of field and help you to understand the limits of your lens and camera.

    For instance you will know just how close you can stand to your subject before they fall out of focus and you will also learn how much distance to put between the subject and the background for that blurry effect you are after.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Life with Boys...gonna try this tom. I gotta read up on focus though. Do I want to set the f-stop on this, or be on auto?

  4. I like to shoot in A too. :) Having fun following you on your journey!
    I have been shooting every day since Jan 1 and see improvements in my photos (and in my photoshop too...) already. Best way to improve is practice!

    Can't wait to see the next installment!

  5. Thank you for the nice thoughts about my hubby's hospital visit.

    Re your post -- you sound just like our blond twin. She wants to be good at everything RIGHT NOW.

  6. Dude. Awesome. I love watching you tackle this. I can tell you are someone who wants to get it right! I love that....

    I don't think it's that bad of a photo but yeah, I'm a fan of some depth of field.....like Amber said..more distance between Smokey and his background. But I like the color and the general composition!

    I think I'll learn a thing or two checking in on you and your Daily Chuck!


  7. Not being as familiar with the Nikon line of cameras as I am with Canon, I can't tell you why you seem to lose auto focus when you're shooting Aperture Priority (where you set the aperture and the camera picks out the shutter speed). Auto focus should be maintained.

    Previous commenters are giving you good advice - so I'll just sit back and watch, for now. Just keep shooting.

    The wonderful thing about digital cameras is the 'instant' feedback you get regarding the effect of what you've done with aperture/shutter speed/ISO setting changes. There was always a disconnect when working with film - that lag between taking the shot and getting your prints (and seeing the results of your work) meant that the import of changes was lost - unless, of course, you were REALLY religious about noting the settings for each and every shot in a book or something.

    And, of course - it doesn't cost you anything to shoot lots and lots of digital - unlike film.

    Shoot, shoot, shoot. And you will learn.

  8. Nap Warden, try it both ways. Your F-Stop shouldn't affect your overall focus, even when out of auto. Set your f-stop at 3.5 or 4 and shoot from the different distances. You may find that the reason kitty wasn't in focus was because you were too close to him for your len's capabilities as there is a point in which you get too close and lose focus of the subject.

    By trying out that little experiment, it will get you used to what your distances need to be to keep focus and get the desired effect. Would love to see how they turn out.

    As for auto, go ahead and try it in this experiment and see what the camera produces for you. It never hurts to see what your camera can do. it also gets you a little more comfy too.

  9. You are way more dedicated than I am. I took a class last fall and bought a book recently which I haven't read yet. These terms are so foreign to me that they make no sense. You're doing good! Learning is the best thing and you're determined to make it happen. I can't wait to see what you're shooting in a few weeks time.

  10. I love that you're teaching yourself and telling us at the same time.


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