Big Bertha's Adventures

Photography Homework

Last year I took a photography class at Brookhaven College.  We met once a week in the evening for several hours.  I learned more from that class than I did from books on my own.

Here’s one of our homework assignments on Depth of Field using Aperture Priority.

I share it for two reasons:
1.  It’s a good refresher for me.
2.  I encourage you to try this assignment on your own.  Pick a theme and do similar settings – be sure to do it systematically so you can analyze the differences.  I chose crazy objects because I wanted to make an artistic impression in class.  😉

I used f-stops:  2.8, 5.0, 8.0 and 32. I chose ISO 400 due to my somewhat poor lighting conditions.  The camera did the rest of the work for determining the shutter speed since this was Aperture Priority.

A tripod is useful – or find a way to prop the camera so it doesn’t move even as you change your camera settings.  Don’t move anything in your scene – the goal is to limit the variables so that you can analyze the differences in a controlled setting.

Special thank you to my teacher, Jorge Martinez.

Photo 1 below:
Aperture Priority
f-stop:  2.8
shutter:  1/160
ISO:  400
Notes:  Notice the blurry blue background.

Big Bertha's Adventures

Photo 2 below:
Aperture Priority
f-stop:  5.0
shutter:  1/50
ISO:  400
Notes:  Subtle differences.  The background is still blurry.  But notice the black/white fabric on the left is a bit clearer than the first image.  The leg appears to be placed on top of objects.

Big Bertha's Adventures

Photo 3 below:
Aperture Priority
f-stop:  8.0
shutter:  1/25
ISO:  400
Notes:  Background is not as blurry.  The stripes on the leg are a bit clearer – and the leg appears to be on top of books.  The letters on the head are crisper looking than the first image.

Big Bertha's Adventures

Photo 4 below:  
Aperture Priority
f-stop:  32
shutter:  .8
ISO:  400
Notes:  You can see the blue background better.  The striped leg is clearer looking and you can read the titles of the books.  You can see the zebra print fabric on the left side of the photo – what a difference from the first shot.  f-stop 32 captures detail – which can be good… and bad in some instances.

Big Bertha's Adventures


Now experiment by doing this homework assignment on your own.  It’s a fascinating process to manipulate just one variable and see the differences in the photos.


Camera:  Canon 5D Mark II
Date:  February 2014

Notes on unusual objects:
Leg:  Dillard’s was going out of business and they were selling their leg displays.  I suspect they were used for socks and hosiery – I never paid attention when I shopped.  But I do think they are quirky and fun.
Styrofoam head:  Two heads are better than one.  And I thought it would be fun to make a “Letterhead”.
Hand:  My first hand – and probably what started my goal to collect ‘body parts’.  Purchased at a store in Toronto, Canada.
Head:  Purchased in Rome.
Mustache:  Souvenir/prop from a costume party.

2 thoughts on “Photography Homework

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