Kamloops professional photography tips by Kelly Funk: Lesson 3-focus (part 2)

In the last installment I wrote on static or non-moving subjects and the best way to deal with them.  Today, I’m going to concentrate more on moving subjects: Both slow and fast moving.  Hopefully you all at least tried to become acquainted with the ‘single focus point’ method of focus.  If you’re still using the ‘closest focus method’ you may find that quite often you’ll get results back you’re not happy with.  Trust me!

First let’s start with the slow moving subjects with very limited depth of field ( From lesson 1, small aperture number, small sliver of focus ) In the image below I wanted to isolate the violin player on the right but the girls were close to one another so I shot this at f/2.8.  By using a single focal point and moving it until I was happy with the composition I was able to focus on her eyes to get them razor sharp.  Important:  I shot this using ‘continuous focus’ or AF-C so the camera’s autofocus sensor was continuously working to keep her eyes in focus.  On static subjects you can use single focus or AF-S, where you depress the shutter half-way down and the camera’s focus module will not re-focus. 

In the second example I’ll talk about moving subjects that need what’s called ‘Dynamic focus area’, either on the back of the cam or in the menu.  This is to be used with a subject like on the right.  This type of focus allows me to move my focus cursor (single) into an area that I feel I want the surfer.  Now, if I miss the surfer slightly the surrounding points from the one I selected will pick up the subject to keep it in focus.  Because the surfer is staying in place somewhat, I could have probably gotten away with single focus AF-S but with AF-C in ‘Dynamic focus area’ mode, I ensure success.

Lastly, let’s chat about fast action.  For the example shown, I’ve scouted this particular locale and have told the snowmobilers to come through this opening.  I wanted to make sure I didn’t focus on the sledder on the left so I moved my single focus point to the place where I knew the guy on the right would be, left it on AF-C single focus point and as soon as he came into view was tracking him with this point, all the while shooting in ‘Continuous high’ frame rate (about 7 shots/second)  When shooting action make sure you move your shooting frame rate off of ‘single’, as you’ll only get 1 shot !!

Hope that helps for now.  Get in touch with any questions you may have or go to my site here  to see more examples.

Go ‘Nucks’ !



~ by Kelly Funk Photography on May 3, 2011.

3 Responses to “Kamloops professional photography tips by Kelly Funk: Lesson 3-focus (part 2)”

  1. Kelly – your photos and tips are inspiring! I just viewed some of your recent Kamloops photos on theweathernetwork.com and had to visit your site. I will definitely be back to your blog again and look forward to dusting off my DSLR 🙂

  2. Just wondering why you didn’t use a continuous focusing mode for the sledder? Doing my homework for Saturdays workshop Kelly and I am already a bit overwhelmed with choosing focus modes… !!
    Bonnie Pryce

    • No worries on the focus modes, you will be using S or single focus and I’ll be right there :o) I didn’t use C focus on the sledders because I was at
      f/14 and a wide angle lens (lots of depth), I pre-focused on manual and then didn’t have to worry about focus when I composed the scene.

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