Saturday, September 12, 2009

what's your focus?

I got my first camera while in junior high school. I think I sent away for it from one of those ads in the back of a magazine. Unlike the pink-paddled breast-enhancer (you know them.... you'd squeeze the paddles together in front of your chest) that only gave me sore arms when it promised a larger bosom, the cheap plastic camera actually worked. Here's what was probably the first picture taken with that camera (my sis took it ~ it's of me ~ age 14).

In high school I received a 110 pocket Instamatic as well as a Polaroid self-developing camera. It wasn't until digital came around that I decided to invest in something new. I chose an Olympus Camedia C3000. It was one of the best non-SLR cameras available in 2001 and worked well for me for several years. It still works, but this year I wanted something more ~ something with more zoom that I could easily carry with me. Not finding one camera to fit both needs, I purchased two. In my purse, I carry a Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS Digital Elph. When I'm after good photographs, I use my Canon PowerShot SX1 IS. The SX1 IS is as close as I could find to an SLR without the price tag, challenges & higher learning curve of an SLR (I hope to get there someday).

Anyhoo..... to the point of this blog post... The auto-focus of most cameras zeros in on what is exactly in the center of your viewfinder/ LCD screen. What if that's not the section of your photo that you want to be the sharpest? For example, here's a picture I took without thinking about the auto-focus.

The fence is more in focus than the metal ring. This was not my intent. When I realized my mistake, I went back for another photo. This time, I shifted the camera so a portion of the metal ring was in the center then held the focus button half-way to 'lock' it. I then shifted the camera so the fence was again in the center of the photo and snapped the picture. See the difference?

Is this earth-shattering? Umm, no. It is something, however, that novice photographers might easily forget. Discovering a problem when we get home and view the photo on our computer monitor is not the time to shift the focus. Whenever we can, it behooves us to take a few moments before taking a picture to think through everything, then after snapping the picture, zoom in to view the photo on the camera's LCD screen before moving on.

Happy photographing!


Melissa said...

Hey, it's earth shattering for me! I've been fighting with the dang auto focus for years! I never thought to "lock" it. You may have actually changed my life!

Stepping off the edge said...

Since I am, also, working with a new camera- one that is way more intelligent than any automated devise should be- i completely relate! I was taking pics of dragonflies the other day- playing with the macro- when the thing disappeared. well, not actually- the camera just decided to focus waaaaaay past it- and the dragonfly went invisible! grrrrrr.
oh, and, uhm... i do remeber (we must, we must , we must increase our busts) ROFL- and I swear! I had that exact same shirt!!
you are a doll! Great to be home again so I can catch up with all of your great posts!