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What Happens When You Change Your F-Stop

Happy Monday everyone! For today’s post, we’re going to take a look at what happened when you adjust your aperture, or F-Stop. Understanding what this means is a crucial part of understanding photography, and knowing what situations to use certain apertures in can make the difference between nailing the shot and missing it.

That said, I have a composition from Hollywood Studios over in the Muppet area. I took the same shot roughly six times, starting at 1.8 and then moving up one full stop every shot, until I hit f/9. Check them out!

f/1.8

f/1.8

f/2.5

f/2.5

f/3.5

f/3.5

f/5

f/5

f/7.1

f/7.1

f/9

f/9

So, there are a few things to notice here. When you start at the lower numeric value, like 1.8, the corners are darker. This is called vignetting, and it happens the most at a lens’ most shallow aperture. Some people like that, others don’t. It’s really up to the artist whether to keep the natural vignette, or to correct it in software like Lightroom or Photoshop. The vignetting goes away the higher the f-stop number goes.

You’ll also notice that at f/1.8, the fellas in the boat are nice and sharp, but nothing else is. Using that works really well when doing portraits for a dramatic look, or when you are in low light and want to keep your ISO as low as possible. Once you get up to f/5.6 and higher, you start to see more things in focus and sharp across the entire range of the frame. For most landscape photos, you’ll want to do that to ensure sharpness. But, a higher aperture number will also require a slower shutter speed or bumping up your ISO, so be ready for that.

You may also notice, depending on the quality of the lens, that shooting with a lower f-stop number not only ensures sharpness on only certain parts of the photo, but you may see some softness due to the razor thin depth of field. Because of this, any time you are shooting stage shows or action, like Disney parades, that sacrificing some of that smooth bokeh may be worth it to get a sharp shot.

Hopefully reading about this can help you understand apertures a little bit better and improve your shots the next you are out in the field. The many variations on the Muppets were taken with the Sony a7 and the Zeiss 55mm F1.8, both of which can be purchased over at our Amazon store. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, thanks for reading!

 

Portraits at Animal Kingdom at 50mm

Happy Monday! For today’s post, I’d like to share a few shots that I took over the weekend at Animal Kingdom. The common idea is that in order to take successful photos at Animal Kingdom, you need a 70-200mm lens or a 300mm prime lens. Truth be told, for some shots, you do need that. But not for all of them. The longest lens I own for my camera at the moment is 55mm. That falls very much into the ‘normal’ focal length on a full frame camera. But, I was out at the park, and I snapped a few animal photos with said 55mm lens and I’d like to share them here today.

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There were quite a few of this guys buddies in the same area as him, but they didn’t have that awesome pink beak. So, I got down low to the ground and snapped away.

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For this shot of the Komodo Dragon, I did crop a very slight bit. But, with today’s camera sensors, that really doesn’t hurt you too much. I also intentionally framed this one with the foliage wrapping around the animal, which wouldn’t have been possible if I was shooting this at 200mm, as all that would be in frame would be Komodo Dragon itself.

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The tigers on the Marajahah Jungle Trek are the main attraction there. So, there were a bunch of people taking photos of this guy along with me. At this point, it’s a good idea to ask yourself how you can make your shot different from theirs. The tiger was, a few moments before this shot staring and looking at the area where all the guests were. That was when most people were taking their photo. I decided to wait and see what the tiger did next, which was walk along this little carved out path, which (to me, at least) conveys a sense of motion and direction in the shot. Not the best shot I’ve ever taken, but it at least made things a little different.

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These beautiful blue birds were out at the end of the Jungle Trek, and were actually blocking the exit which caused a traffic jam of people. Again, I got down very low to the ground and fired away. This was another opportunity to use the 55mm, because since the birds were kind of close to me, the minimum focusing distance on a lens like a 70-200mm would have hurt me and made it harder to capture the shot that I wanted.

So, there you have it. A little bit of compositional thought, and a little bit of different perspective on shooting inside Animal Kingdom. I’ve owned many 70-200mm and 70-300mm and 135mm lenses before. They take great photos and you do get the extra reach for some of the really far away subjects. But, it can be quite liberating to talk through the park with a light 50mm lens attached to your camera. In many circumstances as well, the 50mm is a fraction of the cost of a 70-200mm lens!

Everything in this article was shot with the Sony a7 and the Zeiss 55mm F1.8 lens, both of which are available through Amazon. How do you all feel about it? We’d love to see your comments down below. Thanks for reading!

 

Late Afternoon Magic Kingdom Photo Spots

Happy Monday! For today’s post, I wanted to share some great photo spots with you. Now, these spots are all great places to take photos at, but they are particularly nice when the sun is starting to set for the day and the warm light of the late afternoon creates an awesome glow. Let’s go!

Rivers of America

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If any of you know me, you’ll know that Rivers of America is one of my favorite spots for photography period, but, there is a certain type of magic once the light starts to get low for the day. To achieve maximum warm colors, shooting from over near Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will set you up for success, as the sun will be coming from behind where you are standing.

Tangled Tower

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Walt Disney World’s most decorated restroom area looks particularly nice during the late afternoon, plus there are these nice trees in which you can frame your shot. This one was taken at 55mm from over on the walkway near Columbia Harbor House, next to the Memento Mori gift shop.

it’s a small world

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The face for it’s a small world is relatively high off of the ground, which means that it won’t get too heavy of shadows from any of the buildings around it. Plus, when the sun hits all the colors on the building, they really pop off of the screen. Since the top of the building is the more interesting part, you also don’t have to worry about people walking in front of your shot!

Cinderella Castle

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This shot is a must do for the vast majority of WDW visitors. But, it looks even better once that golden light is lightly touching the castle. This is from the Liberty Square side of the castle, as shooting from the Tomorrowland side would mean shooting straight into the sun. That isn’t a bad idea for a shot either, but for the purposes of capturing the golden light, you’ll want to shoot it from this angle. This shot can be a tiny bit difficult, though. With the sun setting, the entire area underneath the castle can be covered in shadow when you expose properly for the castle. So, you’ll have to work some magic in Lightroom to level everything out.

Main Street USA

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Back when I used to vacation at Walt Disney World before moving to Florida, I would almost never be on Main Street USA during the early evening hours. That time would be reserved for dinner, taking photos, or riding attractions. But, Main Street USA is absolutely beautiful as the sun sets. Some of my favorite shots I’ve taken of this area of the park have come from while walking out of the park to head home for dinner and seeing the golden light touching the castle and the Main Street USA buildings. Seeing Main Street drenched in golden light with a castle at the end hits a nostalgic note for many people, as it would remind them of their own vacations, or looking at brochures or photo souvenirs before or after their vacations.

I hope you all enjoy seeing some of my favorite places to shoot in the park. Now, that was just 5 spots, and there are definitely a whole lot more that are awesome when the light starts getting nice. Which are your favorite? We would love for you to share them in the comments below.

For those curious, everything in this article was shot with the Sony a7 and either the Zeiss 55mm F1.8 or the Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lenses, all of which can be purchased through our Amazon link, which helps us run the site at no additional cost to you. Thanks for reading!

Using Lines at Hollywood Studios

Happy Monday, everyone! For today’s post, I want to keep it pretty simple. One of my favorite things to do compositionally is the use of lines to help draw the eye to the subject of my photo. I love the trolley tracks on Main Street, cracks in the pavement at Animal Kingdom, and many more things to help create a photo. So, for today’s post, I want to share three photos from this weekend at Hollywood Studios where I’ve used some of the lines in that park for some photos. Here we go!

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For this one, I actually used two lines, they just happen to be parallel to one another. They pull the eye across the frame to the Keystone Clothiers building. I went with a black and white conversion on it to create more contrast.

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For the time being, at least until April, you can still access and take photos of the Streets of America. The dotted line goes straight up the frame, right to my subject, the New York skyline at the end of the street. I also chose to use a shallow depth of field, shooting at f/2, that way the subject is sharp, and the leading lines are diffused.

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On my way out of the park, there was a cavalcade of the Citizens of Hollywood. So, for this shot, I did not use the solid white line as a way of drawing the eye to the subject, but rather a way of conveying motion. The line shows both where the Citizens were, and where they are going. It didn’t hurt that she was nice enough to wave to the camera.

Hopefully looking at these photos will help you find some interesting ways for you to compose your own photos, and maybe think a little bit differently next time you’re in the parks. For those curious, all of these were shot with the Sony a7 and the Sony FE 28mm f/2 lens, both of which can be purchased at our Amazon link, where anything you buy sends up a small commission to help keep the site running at no cost to you. Thanks for reading!