background picture of the author with a camera

Patrick's Photography Explorations

What these pages are about

Like most people, I've been using a camera for years, and wished that I knew more about them. It seemed so mysterious! How on earth was I supposed to know about ISO and aperture and exposure and depth of field, and all the rest? Luckily, modern cameras let you point and shoot and almost always give you good results. There are times, though, when they don't.

So I struck out, haltingly, on a quest to learn how to use my camera in manual mode. At a minumum, I wanted to understand what f-stop was, why to choose one over another, what the differences were with a digital camera in one ISO choice over another, and how to know what shutter speed would go with it.

Then I wanted to go further and understand how to do fancy things like a picture with a flower in focus but the background blurry, or freeze sports action, or get those streaky lights from cars at night.

So I began my quest, and as I figure things out, I'll make notes of them here. Of course since I'm also a programmer, and I'm also interested in digital graphics and arts, you can expect that I might go a little crazy with it;)

Circle of Confusion

This was the first. I wanted to do something with the new HTML5 canvas element, and at the same time I was trying to figure out depth of field, for which you need to understand Circle of Confusion. So I made myself an interactive play tool to figure it out. Hope it helps you too.

Cropping Factor

This was next. It's a simple concept, but a lot of explanations leave me more confused than I started. I thought that maybe if I drew myself some pictures it would make sense. Maybe it will help you too.

Basic Lenses and Focal Length

There are a lot of things that don't make sense unless you know what Focal Length is. I'm going to teach you, along the way you'll learn a tiny bit about how lenses work, and it will make sense to you. Easy breasy.