Friday, December 23, 2016

Make Your Christmas Lights Bigger

I was playing around with a candle and Christmas lights today and came up with a series of photos that demonstrate how different aperture settings change how lights in the background appear.  

Here's a little refresher on aperture.   The aperture is the opening in the lens that lets light pass into the camera.   The bigger the aperture, the more light gets to the camera sensor.   The aperture also changes the depth of field or how much of the photo is in focus from near to far.   A larger aperture (smaller f-stop number) creates a small depth of field, making things in the background out of focus.

Here is a series of photos where I changed the aperture when making the same shot.

As you can see I started with a pretty wide aperture (lower f-stop number is a wider aperture or opening in the lens).   A wider aperture makes things in the background more out of focus.  In this case, it makes the Christmas tree lights in the background appear to be larger.  As I increased the f-stop, making the aperture smaller, the lights became more in focus, appearing smaller relative to the candle in the foreground.

The photo below was taken at f/14.
Notice the lights no longer appear round but look like octagons.  This is because, at smaller apertures, they begin to take on the shape of the aperture opening, such as the medium aperture in the diagram above.  The quality of the out of focus lights is dependent on the number of blades in the aperture.

I thought this was pretty cool and I wanted to share with others.   Now, go give it a try.

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