Exercise 1: Identify a stationary object to photograph. Take multiple pictures of this object using different focal lengths, but keeping the object roughly the same size in the viewfinder.
I brought a brick into the backyard, placed it at eye-level, and proceeded to take pictures. Before I even came inside to review the results, I learned two valuable lessons.
1. I SUCK at not moving the camera. My lens is pretty hefty, but I'm really going to need to research some solutions to this problem. I have typically compensated by trying to get better lighting and upping the shutter speed. A tripod will also help with some situations, but in general, I'm really going to have to figure out how to hold the camera so that my husband can't see it moving from 100 yards away.
2. I am very dependent on my camera correcting my exposure. I typically shoot in either aperture priority or shutter priority, so I normally don't even think about keeping an eye on my exposure. Today I decided that if I'm going to start learning, I'd better switch to manual. (I left auto-focus on. Baby steps.) I found that I would take 8 or 9 pictures and then notice that I hadn't been paying attention to the exposure at all. And today was a great day to discover that, since the sun kept darting behind clouds and the lighting was changing drastically from moment to moment. Great learning experience. Really going to need to practice that.
So I zoomed in on my brick. I zoomed out and got closer. I zoomed all the way out and got even closer. I started at an F-stop of 3.5. I did it again at F/8 and again at F/22..6. I came inside to have a look. Here's what I found. Photos below are at different focal lengths, all with F/8.
|focal lengths: 70, 50, 35, 28, 24 mm|
At first when I was looking at them, I was just annoyed at myself that I couldn't line up the shot the same every time. And then I noticed it! Eureka! When I used my zoom (the photo on the far left above), the background was just the stuff immediately behind the brick
When I zoomed out and actually walked up to the brick, the background behind it was in the shot.
Who knew? OK, everybody. And there's probably a website that explains all this, but nothing beats learning it first hand. This is very useful information. You want to exclude the background of your shot, use the zoom. You want to include it, move your feet. Got it. Now I'll need to go practice that some more.