This month we are going to learn how to utilize aperture. The aperture (thank you Merriam-Webster once again) is "a space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, especially the variable opening by which light enters a camera".
When shooting in manual mode on an SLR, it is vital to know how to use your aperture to shoot a good quality image. If your aperture opening is too large, it will result in a white-out photo - too bright, lack of details, super strong highlights (keep this in mind, as it can be used purposefully in a shot). If your aperture opening is too small, it results in the opposite - basically just an image of darkness.
Here is the tricky part to keep in mind. The smaller the aperture number, the bigger the opening of the physical aperture in your lens. If your lens is set at aperture 4, that opening is larger than an aperture set at 8. Check out the cheat sheet to the left, courtesy of "howtogetyourphotographynoticed.com".
You'll notice the aperture numbers are presented with an "f/". The f stands for focal, as the aperture affects your field of focus. See the cheat sheet to the left.
Now, let's look at how to get to your aperture settings on your Nikon SLR (single lens reflex). Images on your left will assist you with this process. Upon turning on my Nikon, my main screen appears presenting my stats that I have my camera set at. As you see on the image to the left, my main screen demonstrates an aperture of f/5.6.
How to adjust aperture using an automatic lens (Note: Automatic lens, not automatic shoot settings): Find the button on the body of your camera that has the aperture symbol. It will usually look a lot like the f/11 image on the first cheat sheet to the left. My aperture button is up by my shutter button, as it is a setting that is adjusted often. To adjust my aperture, I have to push the aperture button down, and click the adjustment dial (see images to the left).
To adjust your aperture on a manual lens, there is a dial close to where your lens meets your camera. The dial should have f/numbers on it, and all you have to do is spin the dial to the aperture number you wish to use.