Step by step Fo­cus­ing from afar

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

01 Set a wide aper­ture

When us­ing a long tele­photo lens to pho­to­graph wildlife at close range, depth of field is very limited, es­pe­cially at wide aper­tures. Be­cause of this, you should take care to fo­cus ac­cu­rately on the eyes or face of your sub­ject us­ing a sin­gle aut­o­fo­cus point (see page 31 for more on this). Set a wide aper­ture us­ing aper­ture-pri­or­ity or man­ual mode, and then ad­just the ISO to pro­vide a shut­ter speed fast enough to pre­vent any blur from cam­era shake and sub­ject move­ment spoil­ing your pho­to­graph.

02 Track your sub­ject

For mov­ing wildlife you’ll need a fast shut­ter speed – up­wards of 1/500 sec – con­tin­u­ous fo­cus­ing and a fast frame rate. Once the sub­ject is well-framed, en­gage AF by half-press­ing the shut­ter re­lease (though see Pro Tips!, left, for more on this). The cen­tral fo­cus­ing point is of­ten the most sen­si­tive, so use this when­ever pos­si­ble, and keep the shut­ter but­ton half-pressed to main­tain fo­cus. Try to keep the sub­ject framed so that the fo­cus point re­mains on the eyes and shoot in short bursts.

03 Keep an eye on the back­ground

To make your sub­ject stand out clearly against the back­ground, take care to line it up against dis­tant land­scape fea­tures and set your lens’s widest aper­ture to pro­duce soft-fo­cus back­grounds. Solid back­grounds of a neu­tral colour – greens and browns – work best for wildlife. Also, try to avoid hotspots or high­lights in the back­ground. Get down low to in­tro­duce blurred fore­grounds too, which will give ex­tra depth to your im­ages and add a feel­ing of in­ti­macy.

Far right, top Shoot­ing in burst mode will help you cap­ture the peak of the action

Far right, bot­tom It’s im­por­tant to keep the ac­tive fo­cus point over the sub­ject when us­ing con­tin­u­ous AF

Above In­clud­ing some­thing in the fore­ground and blur­ring it out helps to leads the viewer’s eye to­wards your sub­ject

Left Get­ting down low and in­clud­ing some blurred fore­ground also helps to iso­late your sub­ject from its sur­round­ings

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