Aperture Experiments

When I was first venturing out of full auto mode on my camera, one of the first things I did was try Aperture Priority mode. I think my very first day with that setting produced these geese pics:

I love these for some reason! I guess because my goal in photography isn’t (at least most of the time) to re-produce what I see so much as what I feel. And these images really did that for me.

I’m usually a little scared of geese. (They’re BIG!) But the evening I took these, they weren’t intimidating me so much. They were more mellow, and they seemed more tolerant of me as a passer-by, so I in turn felt easier with pausing to admire them. That comes out in these photos, I think.

It was soon after that that I took this picture – also on Aperture Priority mode:

IMG_2485I like this one because it makes me think about traveling. The blasted whiteness of the wide-open aperture really puts the focus on the vehicle – but not on it as a machine in and of itself. Somehow I see its potential as a tool, a means of going places. I really feel that, looking at this. (I like that!)

So I started getting interested then in the potential of a very wide aperture – including for portraits. Here’s one example (taken of myself when I was messing around one day, also on Aperture Priority):

IMG_2860I don’t include this here because I think this is some stellar portrait of myself or something. The thing that strikes me about this one is that I was actually sick when I took this. And you can’t really tell that, I don’t think, looking at it. You absolutely would have seen that if you had been there looking at me in real space. But when you see me through this wide-open lens, my eyes look brighter, my skin looks smoother. I look like a considerably better version of myself than I should by rights look, considering how I was actually feeling that day! So that’s interesting to me.

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So, I’m thinking about this aperture priority stuff today because I’ve had my camera on full manual mode for the last two months or so, to practice – and, with that, I’ve been very focused on actually learning how to make the camera do what I want, rather than experimenting with the ins and outs of particular functions (like aperture.)

But I’ve finally reached a point, I guess, wherein I’m pretty comfortable with the camera (finally!) Because yesterday I found myself getting a little experimental again.

That’s how I got these, taken inside the Jefferson Memorial (Washington, D.C.):

I had the aperture set about as wide as my lens allows – and as a result, they’re a little too washed out, I know. I’m not 100% satisfied with them. But even so, there’s something I really like about them. A timelessness….a boldness. I can’t quite verbalize it.

Architecture aside, the Jefferson Memorial isn’t really some ancient, timeless, mythological structure. But there is something about some of the memorials in D.C. Something inspirational….something sort of bigger than life. The light here, so bright against the white marble pillars, captures something of that feeling for me.

Here’s my crowning achievement though:

IMG_6232I really like the way that one came out! (Though I wish I’d left just a tiny bit more room between his head and the top of the frame.)

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It feels good to realize that I’ve mastered the basics now enough that I can feel capable of executing some experiments. Experimenting is so much fun!!

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