How I Did It On My Own Damn Camera: Aperture

For those of you who haven’t caught on yet, this is part 3 in my efforts to follow along with Darcy’s photography clinic over at The twist I’m putting on it is focusing specifically on how I did the assignment on my “new-ish” Nikon D5000.

Today’s assignment was aperture. If you haven’t learned about aperture or still aren’t quite sure how it works please go over to her blog and read her explanation – it’s great.

So for this one I camera selection mode dial was set to “A”. You could technically go with the M mode like we did for Shutter Speed and use the combo of the Aperture control button and the Command Dial but I decided to stick with the A mode and let the camera adjust the shutter speed as I went.


When you’re in the A mode the command dial changes the aperture and it’s displayed on the information screen both numerically and with that great little graphic.

One of the things that makes aperture hard to remember how to adjust is the numbers work in the opposite direction than you think they should. Kind of like steering a boat using a rudder, you move left to turn right. Well with aperture you have that whole the lower the number the bigger the opening thing going… which frankly I have trouble keeping straight.

10-11-2010 4-35-47 PM

That’s where the D5000 circle information graphic comes in handy again. You can see the animation of the aperture getting bigger (wider) or smaller as you turn the dial. The bigger the opening, the shallower the depth of field aka fuzzy stuff (bokeh but who really wants to say that right?). Big opening = Fuzzy Background. That’s what you have to remember.

So I used my favorite Halloween Decorations as my subject today.

DSC_5153 DSC_5159 DSC_5165




At f5.6 you can see the orange candle holder is slightly blurry and there is plenty of blur on the chair behind. At double that (f10.0) the candle has come into focus more but the chair is still a bit fuzzy. By the time I got to f32.0 the whole picture was in focus.

Here’s a larger version of #1


Of all the settings I probably play with aperture the most. I love the fuzz. Flower fuzz is probably one of my favorites.



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