Monday, April 25, 2011

Photo Tip #21...Intelligent Focusing

One of my favorite things to shoot is a moving target. Whether or not it's pelicans flying at La Jolla Cove or NHRA nitro funny cars, it's always a challenge to get things in focus. When I discovered the intelligent focusing feature on my camera, things got a whole lot easier.

If you have a DSLR camera, you probably have this feature. On a Canon camera it's called, "Al Servo" mode. You'll have to look in your user manual to find the setting on your camera.

The first thing you should do in this setting is choose a focus point. If you don't know how to do this, read your manual. This is a "must learn" feature! Most cameras use the center focus point as the default setting. You can manually select other points if you wish. Let's use the center focus point for this example.

The basic idea is this. Aim your focus point at the moving target and push the shutter button down half way. Your camera will continuously auto focus on your subject as it moves. You'll have to practice this, but the better you become at panning with your subject, the more shots you'll have that will be in focus. Set your camera to the high speed burst mode and fire away. Start with turtles, move up to pelicans flying, and if you're really in for a challenge, try a Nitro funny car. Anything that travels a quarter mile in less than 4 seconds is a bit of a challenge, but doable.

Have fun capturing lots of moving targets!

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