Focus and recompose

Sue Mason’s ‘Outback Sunset’ awarded AB Grade Merit, Iconic Australia

Sue Mason’s ‘Outback Sunset’ awarded AB Grade Merit, Iconic Australia

Julie Hartwig, Tin Can Bay Camera Club

This month, we’re looking at a camera handling technique to eliminate or minimise unintentional camera movement. It’s called the ‘Focus and Recompose’ technique.

The shutter button on a digital camera does more than just take a photo when you press it. Two other vitally important actions also occur:

  1. The camera auto focus system is activated and focuses on elements in the scene. The chosen auto focus mode will determine which elements the auto focus system focuses on; and
  2. A light meter reading of the scene is taken to enable the camera to calculate the correct exposure.

That’s a lot to ask one button to do in a split second and with all that happening, something has to give! Usually, it’s the sharpness of the photo, affected by camera shake, induced by pressing the shutter button.

To use the Focus and Recompose technique:

  1. Half press the shutter button. When you do this, the camera auto focus and take a light meter reading. Cameras normally give an indication when this has been achieved by beeping or showing a light (usually green) on the LCD/viewfinder. Once this has been achieved, keep the shutter button half pressed. If you release the shutter button at this point, the focus is lost.
  2. Compose your photo. While the shutter button remains half depressed, focus remains locked on the elements focused on in Step 1, so go ahead and recompose the photo.
  3. Fully press the shutter button to take the photo. Try not to “stab” the shutter button, squeeze it in a smooth, gentle action while holding your camera as still as possible. Some people say it helps to hold your breath when you do this.

Next month, we’ll look at more techniques to help you beat the shakes.

The Tin Can Bay Camera Club will meet 7pm, Wednesday August 15 at Tin Can Bay Library.

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