Focus Tip: AF-C/AI-Servo and back button focus

I am often asked “can I not leave my camera on AI-Servo (AF-C if you are a Nikon etc)?

The answer is: not a great idea normally. Because you cannot recompose. The moment you try that, taking your focus spot(s) away from your subject, the camera focuses on whatever is behind the subject!

But there is a trick, and I used it today to photograph these amazing insects:

Namely this:

  1. Set your autofocus mode to AI Servo/AF-C.
  2. Select “back button focus” in your camera’s menu (i.e. focus when you press a button on the back of the camera, not whenever you half-press the shutter button).

Now you focus as follows:

  1. Follow the insect, or hockey player, or whatever you are shooting.
  2. While doing this, keep the back button focus pressed, so your camera adjusts to follow the subject’s distance.
  3. But when the butterfly sits and you want to recompose, let go of the back buttoin focus. You can now move the camera to recompose, yet when you shoot, the camera will not adjust its focus.

Done and done!

A quick note about that amazing insect. Nature knows what many beginning photographers do not: you need a catch light in the eye to make it look real and alive. The butterfly’s owl eye has that catch light (the white circle part ion the “pupil”)! Amazing, eh? So learn from nature and always include a catchlight in your portraits.

 

Ajax

That was a good meeting, yesterday in Ajax. I presented “Developing your photographic style”, an all-new presentation, to the Ajax Photography Club, my favourite club.

I shall publish some excerpts here, in the next little while. First, though, one more trip to Europe tomorrow. I apologize for the tardy blogging in the mean time, but that will change.

 

 

Ebb and flow

….is how photography goes for me. Now, I am sitting in an airport, looking at 25 hours to complete an 8 hours flight… and reflecting on how few photos I made in Holland this time. It was not a holiday, so I may perhaps be forgiven. But I did shoot pics of my friends, some long-lost.

(I met Bob, above, once in Libya, in Ghaddafi’s birth town. He drove in from Tripoli, I drove in from Marsa El Brega. We met half way. Small world.

Photos bring it all home.