the three building blocks of exposure

I've had the amazing chance at taking two different photography classes over the past few weeks. They have been so helpful, and one of my Twitter followers asked me if I'd pass along some information to you.

Of course I can!

So, today I am going to tell you about the Three Building Blocks of Exposure.

They are:

1. ISO

2. Shutter Speed

3. Aperature (my personal favorite!)

Now, hang with me. These can get kind of confusing, but, in the end, you'll figure it out, I'm sure!!!

First, let's talk about ISO. ISO stand for International Organization for Standardization, but don't worry-- that's not on the quiz. ISO basically refers to your camera's sensitivity of sensor to light. If you are going to be blowing your photo up to a large size, you will want a low ISO. You will also want a low ISO if you are shooting brightly-lit scenes or when you are able to use a tri-pod in low light situations. Use a high ISO for dimly-lit scenes or for capturing fast action (this ties in to shutter speed, which we will talk about next).

Also, a note about high ISOs-- they tend to produce and generate more "noise" in your photographs. "Noise" is basically that grainy-looking-ness on your images. Compare the following two photographs:

The photo on the left has an ISO of 100. The photo on the right (the grainy image) has an ISO of 3200.

OK, now, let's talk about Shutter Speed. Shutter speed refers to the duration of time your sensor is exposed to the light through the lens. This number is measured in fractions of a second on your camera. For example, a very fast shutter speed would be 1/650. A very slow shutter speed would be 1/6. You would use a fast shutter speed to capture movement with no blur (like to photograph a child running). A fast shutter speed "freezes" your subject in motion. A very slow shutter speed would be used to show the motion, such as moving water or, again, a child running. A slow shutter speed will show blur.

Longer shutter speeds are for dimly-lit situations when using a tri-pod. Anything less than a shutter speed of 1/60 needs a tri-pod, or your photo will come out blurry from where you were moving the camera.

Most of the time, you will use a fast shutter speed.

This is a fast shutter speed-- probably around 1/500.

This is a slow shutter speed-- probably around 1/30.

Finally, let's look at aperature, my favorite of the three building blocks. Aperature is what separates a snapshot from a photograph, in my opinion. Aperature refers to a variable diaphram within the lens, which, as it opens and closes, allows more or less light through to the sensor. Aperature is represented by an f-number, or more commonly, an f-stop.

This is where it gets a little tricky-- the higher the numeric value, such as f22, the smaller the opening; the smaller the numeric value, such as f8, the larger the opening. The smaller the opening, the greater the depth of field. The larger the opening, the less the depth of field.

Now, what in the world is depth of field? I'm so glad you asked-- depth of field is what is in focus, or sharp, in your photo. Look at this example of a picture I made in Italy:

Notice how in the picture, the statue is really in focus, but the building in the background is not. That is aperature.

Aperature, when used correctly, can really enhance your photos! It can really help your photographs to stand out.
I hope this helps out some. I'm still working (and I'm sure I will continue to work) on mastering these three skills. Photography is an art, and it takes time and effort to learn your camera and learn all the different aspects of photography. I am, by no means, any expert-- I just wanted to help you learn a little more about how to move beyond making snapshots and move toward making photographs.

Only the picture of the statue is mine. The other two came from here and here.


we're back...

We are back from Charleston-- well, I am back, at least. Mat went to see his parents for a few days, and he will be home tomorrow.

The trip was wonderful, relaxing, and a really sweet time for me and Mat to spend some time together. We really had so much fun together-- just the two of us.

I'll do more detailed posts later, but for right now, you can go to my facebook and see some pictures if you'd like...

More soon. I promise.



Mat and I just pulled out of our driveway on the campus of Southern Seminary headed south to South Carolina. We are hoping to make it to Spartanburg by midnight. Mat's driving, and I'm in the passenger's seat with my trusty University of Alabama sweatshirt blanket and my Kindle on my lap. We've got our bags in the back, and my Nikon is in tow. Tom Petty and Ryan Adams are blaring on the radio, and Mat and I are nursing Diet Coke. We are so ready for vacation.

The Mac did not accompany us on this trip, sadly. But I might try to do a little blogging from my iPhone (like I'm doing now). I'll also, of course, be tweeting the trip. (www.twitter.com/whitalexander)

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend. I'll be back Wednesday to show you my pictures, which promise to be, as always, my favorite souvenirs.

We're going to Carolina in our minds...and in Mat's Calibur. Happy Friday!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone



Mat and I leave FRIDAY for our first vacation as husband and wife...alone (besides our honeymoon). (I count the one night we spent in NOLA watching the Alabama bowl game in 2009 as our first, but Mat doesn't claim that because it was only for "one night...") We are going to Charleston, SC, and we are so ready!

We are so excited, so I need some help-- who's been to Charleston before? We've never been. My best friend Anna lives there now, so she'll be a HUGE help, but we'll take all the advice we can get. Where do we need to eat? Where should we shop? Are there any museums or exhibits we have to see? Anything??

We are also going to Savannah, GA, so if any of you faithful readers have been there before, let me know what we can't miss there, too!

Thanks! (And yes, we'll bring you all back something...maybe.)


pastor mat

One week ago tonight, the sweet people of Sunnyside Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, voted unanimously to call Mat Alexander as their pastor.

And we are so glad they did.

It's a quaint church way out in the country, and from the moment we walked into the church four weeks ago, we felt right at home.

The people are loving, kind, real, and very down-to-earth. We have completely fallen in love with them.

They are also building us a parsonage that should be ready in just a couple of months. We are so happy about being able to live in a house again! The house is right next to the church, so Mat is really glad he'll be able to walk to work.

We have prayed and prayed for the Lord to bring us a church to serve, and He has answered our prayers. God is so faithful, even in the big and small things...

I can't wait to get to tell you more as Mat and I grow and learn about being a pastor and a pastor's wife. We look forward to seeing what God will do at SBC!

Sunnyside Baptist Church

Our new house in progress (we'll probably move in at the end of the summer)

The sanctuary


race to nowhere

Have you seen this? What do you think about it?

(Although, I don't appreciate the blatant negative Dubya reference...)



photo credit: me

"And I don't know why I'm going through this, but I do know that God is for me and will do whatever it takes to conform me into the likeness of His Son.

And because I am His child, nothing disrupts His plan for my life.

Where He is taking me is GOOD."          -RDM