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RE: Best way to Focus?

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Posted by: shadowguy at Mon Nov 8 00:06:10 2010  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by shadowguy ]  
   

First keep in mind that the subject's eyes must be in focus to be effective as a photograph... at least one eye at any rate. Remember that the viewer will inevitably look at the eyes as soon as the picture comes in to view. Rather than using a multipoint focus area I would suggest setting your focus for center priority only. Using auto focus to start point the camera at your subject and partially depress your shutter release button while the "box" in your lense viewfinder is on the eye closest to you. Continue to partially depress the button as this locks the focus at that point. You can then move the lense so as to place the overall animal in the picture where you want it, then fully depress the button so as to take the picture. Now try it with with the autofocus "off" but again focus as best your own eyes can determine on the subject's closest eye. Be wary of any slight rocking back and forth on your part as that will alter where the clearest point of focus on the animal will be! Try exhaling as you finally depress the shutter release to minimize heaving of the camera body. Another area of experimentation is in your aperature settings. With the camera on "auto" point the camera at your subject and partially depress the shutter release so as to see what the camera's idea is for aperature...say f8. Now set the camera to manual aperature and take a series of pictures say from f11 to f22. Most likely the flash will be required unless in full sun, and full sun makes for overexposed areas and washed out subjects! Now look at your pictures and see how the depth of field varies i.e; focus from front to rear. All of this can be hard to accomplish with a subject that is hard pressed to sit in one spot for more than a few seconds of course! Returning to the skink pictured, he/she is well focused but the bark is overexposed a tad. Take lots of pictures and experiment a bit. Lay a pencil or even a ruler on a table leading away from you and play with your aperature settings a bit to get a feeling for how things come out as a picture. I'm assuming you're using digital equipment of course.... remember, delete, delete, delete! Take lots of pictures and every now and then you'll surprize yourself! Animal photography is a crapshoot even for the Wolfe's and Mangelson's of the world, but you can certainly improve your odds!


   

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