Hello IggleBugs! The 3 karma 100 days achievement code is now live, so if you’ve taken photos for 100 days in a row, message me and I’ll give you the code! The following milestones will be 150, 200, 250, 300, then 365. Each one will be worth one more karma than the one preceding it.

Tweet @IggleBugs for the 7, 30, and 60 day achievement codes if you need them! You don’t have to upload the pics in a row, but at least make sure you’re taking one every day.  You’ll also find a code in the forums.

For anyone who doesn’t know what’s going on here, if you haven’t checked out the IggleBugs lately, you should swing by and have a look at our Photo 365 Challenge thread in the IggleBugs Forum! Join us if you’re looking for a fun photographic challenge for 2014! You don’t need a fancy camera or anything, just a passion for taking pictures! Upload and share however you want, if you want. It’s entirely up to you! The best part about it is you can make your day one whenever you want! So feel free to jump in late, we won’t bite!

I will post seven themes and ideas a week as we go through the year. They won’t be strict assignments, just helpful ideas to get you through the week if you get stuck or feel like you need some inspiration.

Here is the list of helpful ideas for week nineteen!


Now for a new segment here: Photography tutorials! By now, we’re all fairly familiar with our cameras, right? We all know the basics, how to turn it on and take a decent picture. We may even get lots of pictures we’re happy with. But how much of that is skill and how much is just luck? How many pictures do we get that we are not happy with?  I’m going to start with digging deeper into your camera. If you have a camera with any sort of manual controls, you can follow along.

First, let’s take our camera off “Auto” mode. Yeah, the first time I did this, it was pretty scary for me too. There are three main camera settings you have to worry about if you want to take a picture in manual mode. Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  For part 1 of this tutorial, we’re going to talk about Aperture. So, if your camera has an “Av” mode, turn it to that. Av mode is “Aperture Priority” mode. This mode allows you to change the aperture and your camera will do the rest of the thinking for you. After you’ve read through this, play around with different apertures! If your camera doesn’t have an “Av” or Aperture Priority mode, look and see if it has a mode for blurry vs sharp or something like that. It may be simplifying aperture for you. Play around with those settings anyway and see what you can do with them.

First, what is Aperture? In the simplest of terms, it’s an opening that light travels through. The larger the opening, the more light that comes in. But photographers have to talk about aperture in complicated terms, using numbers and letters to purposely confuse people. At least, that’s how it seems. When referring to aperture, you’ll often see  what is called the “f-number” or “f-stop” written as f/# like f/10 or f/1.4 etc. 

So what do those numbers mean? I’m not going to get into the math of it, because it is a very mathematical answer, so let’s just look at it like this. The smaller the f-number, f/1.4 for example, the wider the aperture is. The larger the f-number, f/22 for example, the narrower the aperture is.  A wider aperture will allow more light to hit your camera’s sensor, and a narrower aperture will allow less. Here’s a visual example of how the aperture sizes can look. As you can see, the wider aperture is the smaller number:


If you think of how a camera’s sensor or one of those antique rolls of film works, aperture begins to make sense. A photo, or exposure, is made of captured light, whether it’s on a sensor or a bit of film. A camera’s shutter opens and closes when you press the button, letting light in only for a set amount of time. The wider your aperture, the more light it can let in during that set amount of time. Not all lenses or cameras are created equal. Some cameras or lenses can achieve a wider aperture than others. (If you’re looking at a lens, you may only see numbers, or you’ll see something like “1:1.4” or “1:4”. This is referring to the widest aperture that lens can achieve. Just replace the “1:” with “f/” and it’ll be the same thing.) A lens that with a really wide aperture (generally in the f/1.something range) is usually referred to as a “fast lens,” because it lets you get more light into your exposure faster. The faster it is, the less time you have to leave your shutter speed open, so you can take pictures in low light and have to worry less about blur. That sounds great, right? Blur is something we’ve always struggled with, something that messes up all our pictures, when someone or something moves and you wanted a nice, crisp image. Why not just make all our lenses fast? Why even bother with f-numbers bigger than two? Well, aside from faster lenses being more expensive (a Canon f1.2 lens costs $1,619, while a f/1.4 lens costs about $350 and a f/1.8 costs $107), aperture also has an affect on what is called “depth of field.” 

You know when you see a pretty photograph and the subject is in focus but the background has this nice, pleasant blur? That photo has what is referred to as a shallow depth of field. Not everything in that photo is in focus. If you think of everything being on multiple planes, only things in a certain plane are in focus, while other planes of the image, such as the background, are not. As a contrast, generally when you look at a landscape photo, everything from front to back of the image is in focus, which is a deep depth of field. 

So, how does that relate to aperture? The smaller the number, the wider the aperture, the more shallow the depth of field and the less sharp your image will be. Wherever your camera is focusing will be the sharpest, while everything else will be blurred. This can be a great effect for nature photography or portraiture, but you won’t want to use it for everything. Generally, f/8-f/11 are considered the universal apertures to get everything in focus nicely. f/22 should be reserved for really bright and sunny days (when a wider aperture would severely overexpose the image), or when you’re taking landscape photos or when you want everything in focus. If you don’t have a lot of light, the shutter speed will stay open longer, which may cause the image to have motion blur just from you not being able to hold the camera stable enough. If you still want the effect of everything being nice and crisp even in low light, use a tripod. Here are examples of how aperture can affect what in your image is sharp and what is blurred. In every image, the focus was on the front Danbo, but you can see the different planes of the image come into focus as the aperture was narrowed.


I hope you’ve learned something today! Next week we’ll discuss shutter speed! Now, I’m not a certified expert on this stuff, so if you notice a mistake, or if something is confusing and needs clarification, let me know and I will fix it or answer any extra questions! If you have any suggestions, questions, or ideas for future tips, tricks, or tutorials, comment or tweet at me and I’ll address them in future posts!

Have a good week and don’t forget to follow @IggleBugs for updates and encouragement! If you use the hashtag #IggleBugs365, I will try to retweet a few photos every day!

Also, if you want to nominate someone for IggleBug of the Week, tweet @IggleBugs with your nomination!