In this post we're going to look at just two little things you can do with your camera that will make a big difference in your photography: controlling the shutter speed and controlling the aperture.
Let's first set it on "Tv" (Time Value) so we can set the shutter speed to capture the action of a fast-moving subject. As long as the overall light level is pretty good (a nice sunny day) the camera will automatically select an aperture that will yield a good exposure.
But what happens when we go in the other direction?
Here's an image showing the least amount of depth-of-field possible; it was photographed at f2.8, which is the "widest" that particular lens could go. Other lenses (considered "faster") may allow for f1.8, even f1.2!
This kind of imaging creates a lot of separation between the subject and the background, making the subject stand out dramatically. Portraits are nearly always taken in this manner, for example.
I know this is a pretty cursory description of the relationship between shutter speed and aperture, and you probably have more questions now than you did before. That's a good thing! Explore and try things out. You aren't going to break the camera, and you'll discover amazing things about photography -- and yourself! -- in the process.
We'll look at some other creative, outside-the-office techniques down the road. And I hope that road is a long, scenic drive.