Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Focus Issues

Despite my having what some people who know me would swear is a moderate case of ADHD, the title not referring to an inability to focus on the task at hand in photography. No, today my problem was getting things in focus that I wanted in focus.

I went outside during 4th period and started taking close-ups of some hedges that were wet from the rain. I had good subject material, but I just couldn't get the correct areas of the photos in focus very well.

click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr
Aperture: f/2.6
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 100

You'll notice I was shooting at ISO 100 instead of 80—this was because a slight breeze was blowing my subjects, and I needed that little bit of extra shutter speed to freeze it. The lighting was great, but not as bright as I like it. Too many dark gray clouds, not enough general "overcast" type clouds. I'm slightly proud to say that I was actually able to see the difference between 80 and 100 ISO in some areas.

Obviously, the main point of interest in this photo is the droplet. And also obviously, the droplet is not in focus. My autofocus sensor is partially blocked by the tube I use to mount lenses and filters (like macro lenses...). I think the Canon PowerShot A590 IS was not designed with aftermarket parts in mind. So I usually use Manual focus, but I had the tripod extended well above my head to shoot this subject, which was some 7 feet or so off the ground. My camera is not an SLR, so Manual focus means two things: setting different focuses with buttons on the back, and trying to decide which minute differences are optimal focus by looking at an LCD. Not my favorite thing to do anyway, but I couldn't see the LCD for this shot at all. I made the tactical decision and turned the job over to my autofocus, which, of course, rather missed the point.

Not a disappointing picture by any means, but I might just return to that spot on a rainy day sometime in the future, this time armed with an SLR. Or at least something to stand on so I can see my LCD.


  1. I keep coming over here and TRYING to follow your blog, and I keep forgetting. Blarg!

    I do have a DSLR, and I have focus issues like that sometimes. It's aggravating. But this still turned out fairly well. The colors are wonderful. Nice work.

  2. As far as your question on my lighting, I cheat. I have the desk situated by a north-facing window, so the light coming in is bright but diffuse. After that, it's all Photoshop tweaks. I increase the vibrancy when needed, I always increase the clarity (sharpen), and play with the exposure and white balance in RAW. Then I go in and brighten the background to soften the shadows where needed, and I often run a white or light-colored gradient outward from the center, at anywhere from 40-80% as needed. Takes about 3 minutes or less in post.


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