If you’ll recall, a couple of weekends ago I posted pictures of the little tweetie birds enjoying the feeder I’ve put out. In that same post I lamented about the quality of the photos. They weren’t real sharp.
I’ve noticed a lack of focus with many of the photos taken with the 70-200mm, particularly when I zoom to 200mm. I assumed (correctly) that it was user-error, not lens error. But, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing wrong.
So, at the same time I published that post I reached out via a thread on the Clickin’ Moms website asking for input and guidance. I discovered Clickin’ Moms through my sister-in-law, who is both photographer and Mom. I am a non-Mom photographer, but there is a place for everyone on that site. And, there are some extraordinarily talented photographers on there. Like, jaw-droppingly gorgeous photos and superb technique photographers. I took Mastering Manual Exposure through CM last summer and learned a dizzying amount of stuff in four short weeks. I hope to take a class on composition this summer.
General consensus among those who responded was that my focus was off. Could be due to camera shake, focus being off the subject, etc. I asked a few clarifying questions and received limited additional response, which I initially found a little frustrating. Now I’m glad I didn’t have complete answers spoon-fed to me because it made me have to do my own research. You’re admiring the results in this post.
May I take a moment to do a happy dance? Haaappppyyyyy dancin’! Whoot-whoot! Sunshine and rainbows and fluffy kittens and warm chocolate chip cookies! The difference between the photos I took a couple of days ago and those I took two weeks ago? HUGE! I mean look for yourself! Go back to that prior post…then look at this post. Night and day! How cool is that?!
What did I do differently? A few things. First, I’ve been pondering the whole issue, taking into consideration what the ladies over at CM had to say. A lot. I’m also, as I mentioned here working my way through David Busch’s Canon 60D book and…put it together and what have you got!! Forget bibbity-bobbity…I’ve got photographic improvement!! Not perfection, but marked improvement.
First, I didn’t know that my camera is capable of three different kinds of focus (one-shot, AI Servo, AI Focus) and that each have different strengths depending upon what your photographing (one-shot is ideal for subjects that don’t move, AI Servo is used for sports and other fast-moving subjects and AI Focus is a combination of the first two). I selected AI Servo, because little birds are fast. I also elected to use continuous shooting, which I’d not previously used. I committed to a shutter speed of around 1/1000 and didn’t let it drop lower than 1/800 and tried to keep the aperture from drifting below f/5 (the lens is an f/4). I also used a tripod for every single shot.
I am so very pleased with the results. That sounds so calm and refined.
I am so stinkin’ ridiculously excited! Where’s me a cupcake? This warrants a celebration!