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Portrait of a Young Man as The Artist
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From: thegelf Date: July 8th, 2006 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)
My best advice is to look into photo classes at a school/community center. Find one that requires a fully manual SLR and claims to cover both technique and technical details.

F-Stop numbers increase because they are the ratio between depth of field and aperture size. Deep depth of field/small aperture = large number.
Something useful I remember from my high school class is closing your aperture one stop is equivalent light-wise to going to the next fastest shutter speed. You can use this to figure out exposure times in low light settings when you want to shoot with a smaller aperture but don't have enough light to meter with the smaller aperture.
Grain is part of photography. In some cases, I like the grainy look. I'm not sure what the technical reason for grain in digital photography is, but in film photography faster film has larger grains of silver in the emulsion (larger grains expose faster, making the film faster), meaning when developed the film is grainier. Developing the film warm and fast also causes grain, and you can reduce grain in film by developing cool and slow. Not that you needed to know that :-P.

A large aperture can be useful in composing photos. If there's nothing in the environment to bring focus to your focal point (converging lines, strong contrast, frame within a frame) you can set a faster shutter speed and larger aperture to blur the background so it distracts less from what you're focusing on.

Also you might want to play with the flash and motion and longer shutter speeds. You can get some really neat drag effects.
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