TRYING OUT MY NEWLY ACQUIRED, (USED) ZOOM LENS + LEARNING ABOUT 'APERATURE'

A few days ago I purchased a used zoom lens, (since buying it new was totally out of the question), for my Canon EOS Rebel T3i camera. As most of you who bought the kit know, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS is the standard lens that comes with the camera. And for those of you who have been following me all along on my interest in photography, know that I am no expert and I don't pretend to be one.  Hence, excuse the retardedness that some of you professional photographers will see on my blog from time to time. There are many reviews on these types of lens out there so as usual, I won't go into that aspect of it. My goal here is to show you, my viewers, my way of learning to use a camera, from a newbie point of view! I am teaching myself photography through online help as well as my famous 'Press Buttons Now, Ask Questions Later' way! One thing I've learnt when it comes to learning photography - or anything for that matter, online or even in a book, is that they always make things more complicated than it has to be. My attention span is very limited and if you start using too many words I don't understand I'll just close the window, (or the book) and look somewhere else... or just start pressing buttons. Explaining things in its basic form is how I operate. I do that in my job when training people, I do it with my children when explaining how to use something, I do it in every facet of my life. Why make things complicated when they don't have to be. Professionals are so used to what they do that when explaining something, they forget to stop and think that the person they are explaining it to has NO CLUE to begin with and should try to use words in layman's terms and not 'professional' terms. It's like learning how to drive... "to get up to speed on the highway, depress the accelerator slowly". Why not just say, ".. to go faster, just step on the gas pedal... slowly!"
My first camera!

This aperature business, it was so confusing in the beginning. I understand the concept NOW, after reading it over a million times! The aperature, which plays a vital role in photography by the way, is the size of the opening in the lens when taking a photo and according to how wide or narrow the opening is, determines the amount of light that gets in. Fine, that I understand but when they start saying things like - the bigger the aperture/f-number the smaller the opening which in turn results in a larger depth of field - my mind starts to wander. Then they will go on to mention that large apertures (where lots of light gets through) are given f/stop smaller numbers and smaller apertures (where less light gets through) have larger f-stop numbers. The problem is our brains, (well mine anyways), equate smaller opening to mean a smaller number and not the other way around. So f/2.8 is in fact a much larger aperture than f/22.
So one thing at a time here. Let's just first worry about lighting before tackling depth of field. When it comes to understanding aperature in terms of lighting, just remember this (thanks redbubble.com/):
Higher numbers mean more restriction, and harder to get enough light in and lower numbers mean less restriction therefore lots of light can get in! In other words, Lower = LOTS of light! 


Ok, so now that we have THAT out of the way, the next thing to learn is that adjusting the aperature also means adjusting the shutter speed.  They go hand-in-hand and if you change one without adjusting the other, you will get something like the picture on the right above. But that's another lesson. For today I'm just learning the basics of aperature and how it changes the depth of field. So the low number which lets lots of light in also means that only part of the image will be in focus and the rest will be fuzzy aka bokeh imagery such as in the example pic I shot below.




Shot with my new zoom lens!


USING MY ZOOM LENS!
Anyways, enough lesson for today. Back to my zoom lens!

In regards to this particular used lens I've purchased, the reviews on it weren't the greatest. One article I read, stated build quality is on the low end - plastic lens mounting, the focus rings is not the smoothest, the zoom ring is a bit stiff, blah, blah, blah. For me, being a newbie, I couldn't care less!

Having said that, and now that I've been trying out this zoom lens, I can appreciate what they are trying to say. However, this is all I could afford and for what I need it for - it's good enough.

Now, you all know I love taking shots of my backyard squirrels with pictures coming out more or less something like this:


or this:



Nice, but not close enough for my liking. So standing in the same spot and now using my zoom lens, I'm now able to take shots like these!:







or like these:




or these:





And last week I had to do some photo shoots for another blog I write for and these were some of the shots taken with my zoom lens:











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