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F is for Focus…

Focusing on your subject sounds so damned easy, especially with a snazzy autofocus system, but nevertheless at times my autofocus seems to have a mind of its own! I’ve learned to twiddle around the available focus points with my little four point directional thing on the back of my Nikon to choose my preferred point of focus for each individual image, but even that can be a bit of a blunt instrument at times so often I’ll resort to using a single point focus and the AE/AF lock button, then recomposing the shot.

But being fond of shallow depth of field images, my biggest focus fiasco is remembering that it’s even more necessary than ever with my aperture wide open to be pin-sharp with my point of focus – it drives me mad to create a pleasing composition, and to get my exposure right, only to find my final image is either not focused where I wanted it to be, or is simply focused in too tight, like these crocus, taken at an eye-wateringly narrow f1.8… crocus

As an experiment I took this photograph of the crochet blanket draped over the back of my sofa (where I’m sitting writing this) to see just how limited a plane of focus I actually get with my aperture wide open at f1.8 – and yes, creatively I may well achieve a spectacular depth of field at this extreme setting, but I can see I also need to be careful to leave enough of the subject in focus to make it visually comfortable to look at… I’ve found too much blur just gives me a headache! plane-of-focus

So it seems like I can get so carried away with trying to be creative with my images I sometimes forget to concentrate on having good subject focus first and foremost! Ironically it’s probably the one thing that can’t be fixed later – poor composition can be cropped, bad exposure can be lightened/ darkened with computer software, but out of focus is out of focus, period! All my Nikon lenses have the option of manual focus, which I’ve avoided to date, but I think it’s maybe time I explored manual focus a bit more… 🙂

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14 thoughts on “F is for Focus…

  1. I think the flowers are a very nice photo. I wish more of the second one were in focus, but perhaps just a touch more. I love this series and I’m glad you’re sharing the photos to help explain the effect.

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    • I’m glad you’re enjoying my A-Z posts, Dan – it’s giving me the boost I needed to get off my butt and learn more about what I need to learn to do to be able to take the kind if images I want to take! 🙂

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  2. I have to confess most of the time I am terrible for just using the magic auto button, everyone tells me how good my pictures are but I think in my case I am just good at capturing the moment and knowing what makes a good composition with no technical skill lol I really should start using my camera better:D

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    • Auto is great, I’ve used it loads over the years – but I’m at the point where I want a bit more control over what is captured in my camera, and this seemed as good a way as any to do it, sharing my efforts (good and bad) along the way 🙂

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  3. lundygirl says:

    Taking close ups of flowers is a big frustration for me – somethimes the colour just looks awful, othertimes the camera chooses to focus on the soil! I have a lot to learn.

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  4. The crocuses are so in focus, they look positively 3-d, floating over the fuzzy grass!
    The blanket pic is most informative of what focus is though, I’m not a photographer so I’ve never really considered it when I take photos, beyond “this photo blurred too much, pick a different setting and try again.”

    @Get Lost in Lit

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    • I needed a visual clue to see why I kept getting too much fuzziness with my focus, and the blanket pic certainly helped me understand more clearly what was going on… 🙂

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  5. NotAPunkRocker says:

    If you hadn’t said anything, I would have never noticed on the flower picture, but I get it. I say it is still beautiful and while technical details are good, they aren’t always necessary to capture the beauty 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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