Photography NCFE Level 1 Class 7, Camera Focusing

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

As usual we started the class of with a bit of a discussion and looking through each others blogs.  We discussed the fact that many photography tutorials will mention that it is better to slightly over expose when you take a photograph, whereas we were saying, spearheaded by our teacher that in fact when you are slightly under exposed you get more of a vibrant colour and contrast.  It is easier to lighten something and keep the quality than be over exposed and try to darken.

We also discussed the ‘rules’ with regards to composure and how it’s not rigid, sometimes for instance with a horizon and water this will be taken more 3/4 way up a photograph to allow more room to show the reflection and or lights shimmering over the water.  Some photographs call for a centered position, whereas in the same situation a rule of thirds would just make it look odd.

We also talked about lens flare, how this is caused when you are shooting in to the light, there is not a lot you can do about this.

Today however we are focusing on

  1. Focus
  2. Long Exposure

Focusing

There are different focusing modes.

Viewfinder Adjustment Dial – Setting the focus to your eyes

This a little bit like going down to Specsavers and getting glasses.  I actually wear glasses and am so relieved to find this function as I hate taking photographs whilst wearing my specs, often I forget and end up in my excitement crashing my camera against my glasses.  When you look through your view finger you will see the stat numbers at the bottom.  If they are blurry then you can set the focus to meet your eyes requirements.  There is a small dial next to the viewfinder which you can turn back and forth whilst looking through the viewfinder until it becomes less blurry and in focus.

It kind of looks something like this:

viewfinder adjustment dial

Manual Focus

On my Nikon 3300 camera there is precisely one way in order to manually focus and that is by moving the bit right at the end of the lens in and out to focus the shot.  This you do when your focus setting is on manual and you can move it in and out.

The area you move looks like the smooth part at the end of the lens shown below:

manual focus on a camera lens

The advantages of doing this is that you can focus on whatever you wish.

I was told that the following focusing methods are used:

  • Landscapes = manual
  • Movement = auto
  • Portrait = auto
  • Macro = auto

I was wondering whether when in manual it change the focal distance.  I asked this question because in auto it would stop focusing at a certain point and not take the photograph whereas in manual it would still take it.  However, you will find that when you go past the minimum distance that although it takes the photograph it will not take a nice picture.  So the manual setting does not override the minimum focal distance on a lens.  You can find the minimum focal lens written on the rim towards the fixing end of the actual lens.

How To Use Auto Focus

Mechanics Of Focusing

Area Of Focus

You have to be on Auto Focus as the setting on your camera to then go in to your AF menu on your camera.  This can be found on your screen by the AF letters as below:

auto focus setting

auto focus setting

If you go to your Auto Focus menu on the screen you will then find the following settings:

  • AFA – AI Focus – This is when the camera chooses which focus system to use – not such a useful mode.
  • AFS – One Shot – This is when you press the shoot button half way and it will lock on to a focal point, you can then move and re-position the composition or subject matter but the focal point will remain the same.
  • AFC – AI Servo – This is when the camera will track a moving shot.
  • MF – Manual Focus

Most cameras when you buy them are automatically on the AFS – One Shot menu.  When you are on the One Shot menu you can look through the view finder and you will see red dots usually in a grid form, you can move the dial to the right to move the focal point, left – right, up – down which makes life a lot easier.  An example of the dots you can see below:

Focal Points

Focal Points

Though I have not tried this yet, apparently if you are in AF mode and focus on an object and don’t want to have to refocus all the time, you can whilst on your focal point switch from AF to M mode (manual) and it will retain the focal area so you don’t have to do it each time – yet to be explored!

When wishing to show your ability for selective focusing we were told that a shallow DOF displays this ability better.

Shutter Speed

Two things you can do to avoid camera shake when having a longer shutter speed is :

  • Use a remote
  • Use a self timer with tripod – the self timer can be found by the small button with a circle and line it which you can see an example of below:
  • Nikon self timer

Once you press this the menu will pop up which looks like this:

self timer menu

self timer menu

in this section it will normally give you a 10 second or 2 second delay.  In this section you can also find continuous shoot mode and various other things.

On some cameras that are wireless you can get an ap on your smart phone which acts like a remote.  Otherwise it is recommended to get a cable release remote which allows you to have a time lapse, long exposure and has a display etc.  (one is on order for me, so watch this space)

Homework

Our homework this week has no subject mode, yippee!  However we are to practice various focus modes.

So I headed down to our local garden centre, Adrian Hall and had some fun with mother nature.

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/5.6 1/320 sec ISO 100 52mm

 

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/5 1/320 sec ISO 100 34mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/5.6 1/250 sec ISO 100 55mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/5.6 1/250 sec ISO 100 55mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/7.1 1/60 sec ISO 100 55mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/7.1 1/60 sec ISO 100 55mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/7.1 1/2 sec ISO 100 50mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/7.1 1/2 sec ISO 100 50mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/7.1 1/2 sec ISO 100 55mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/7.1 1/2 sec ISO 100 55mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/7.1 1/2 sec ISO 100 55mm

Photography Class 7, Camera Focusing

f/7.1 1/100 sec ISO 100 55mm

As always if you wish to join along the way please post in the comments some relevant links back to photos or if you wish to catch up please press the link here:  Photography Classes.

Meanwhile wishing you a lovely weekend, Justine x

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