" Photography "

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!

 

2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Preview

Happy Monday! We are only a little more than a week away from the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, and preparation is well underway at the park. Many of the flowers and topiaries are already installed, and I wanted to share a few photos of them with all of you today that I shot over the weekend.

The flower beds are installed, and monorail reflections frame them wonderfully.

The flower beds are installed, and monorail reflections frame them wonderfully.

The classic monorail shot from the other side of Future World.

The classic monorail shot from the other side of Future World.

Anna and Elsa have moved from the center of the park to Norway, which makes sense, as their ride and meet and greet open later this year in that location.

Anna and Elsa have moved from the center of the park to Norway, which makes sense, as their ride and meet and greet open later this year in that location.

They'll be replaced by a Ranger Mickey topiary in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service!

They’ll be replaced by a Ranger Mickey topiary in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service!

The festival is a great chance to get lots of colors in your photos and make some pretty great compositions.

The festival is a great chance to get lots of colors in your photos and make some pretty great compositions.

Captain Hook and Pan are back in the UK again this year.

Captain Hook and Pan are back in the UK again this year.

There is nothing quite like a monorail shot. Add all these flowers and color and it really is the best time of the year at Epcot.

There is nothing quite like a monorail shot. Add all these flowers and color and it really is the best time of the year at Epcot.

We’ll be sharing plenty of photos as the festival officially starts as well as some tutorials on ways to capture it best, so definitely make sure to keep an eye out for that. Are you excited to photograph Epcot in bloom? What’s your favorite lens for Flower and Garden Festival? Let us know in the comments!!

For those curious, these were all shot with the Sony a7 and either the Zeiss 55mm F1.8 or Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lenses, both of which are available at our Amazon store. If you need anything from Amazon, clicking the link helps us keep the site running, at no extra cost to you! Thanks for reading!

Low Angles at Epcot

Happy Monday! Let me apologize up front for the lack of good text in this post. With the Super Bowl happening over the weekend, there wasn’t a ton of time. But, I wanted to make sure to put something up here to kick off the week!

Sometimes, when I go to the park, I select a theme for my shooting. Sometimes it will be including sunbursts into the photo, sometimes it will be shooting only wide open, and so on and so forth. Over the weekend, when I was in Epcot, I decided to try to capture a bunch of shots where I took a lower angle. Many times, this included adding elements like flowers into the foreground, or also getting into slightly uncomfortable positions where people would look at me oddly.

Well, here are a few of the shots I came away with:

For this one, I got into the bushes to add the layer of green into the foreground.

For this one, I got into the bushes to add the layer of green into the foreground.

I uncomfortably leaned over the stair rail in Japan to capture this leading line to the Torii Gate.

I uncomfortably leaned over the stair rail in Japan to capture this leading line to the Torii Gate.

This one was less awkward than the first two, but I love the flowers in the American Adventure here.

This one was less awkward than the first two, but I love the flowers in the American Adventure here.

Getting low for this angle didn't incorporate any elements or lines, but it allowed me to get the entire building for Mission: Space into the background.

Getting low for this angle didn’t incorporate any elements or lines, but it allowed me to get the entire building for Mission: Space into the background.

Well, that does it for today’s article. Have you ever done a themed day with your compositions or settings in the parks? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

For those curious, everything in this article was photographed with the Sony a7 and the Sony FE 28mm f/2 lens, both of which are available over at our Amazon link, which if you click and then purchase something helps us maintain the site at no extra cost to you! 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!