It ain’t easy photographing your cat in its carrier. Focus, what does your camera focus upon? It knows and it does. How? Miraculous! Outta the box. Done.

Black cat, photographing is a nightmare. Ha ha. A pun? Tillie had one eye open. Otherwise it is an expanse of black fur without much detail.

Upon return from our recent trip, it would appear that my skill – assisted by the camera – has not diminished too much.            


Covered in pollen this bee landed on my hand as I was on my morning photo tour of the garden. Ok! Shoot me! And I did. The bee lingered long enough for me to get this shot. No complaint. It flew off.

The pollen makes this image striking. Focus is critical. Macro has very limited depth of field. Everything needs to be focused for this image to work. Under the circumstances I am usually in manual focus. Auto focus is hit and miss.


Technical: Canon EOS &D, 1/800 sec, f1.4, focal length 50

David used a 50mm focal length and f1.4 to get shallow depth of focus. I like the image composition. I’m unsure about the focus. Perhaps more depth of field would be in order here. It’s really a graphical image with angles and curves. Except for the stool, which is also graphically placed, the image almost looks like it was masked. I think that HDR processing might be an interesting thing to try here. For me, I wouldn’t have the patience to set up the tripod and so forth. So it’s just a thought on my part. And again, I appreciate David’s continuing contributions. He’s got some pretty sweet images.

London Time Lapse

Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1.3 sec, f14, focal length 50mm

David will have to explain how he pulled off this image. The exposure is 1.3 seconds. It looks like a double exposure but the metadata says it was all done in one exposure in the camera. As an engineer, David has produced some very imaginative shots from a technical viewpoint. This is one shot that I admire and will wait till he explains the process. You really got me on this one. (see reply, David explains)

Fisheye Lens

Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1/80 sec, f28, focal length 50

Well the technical data says focal length 50. So I make the guess that fisheye refers to the door peephole. That would give you a fisheye effect. David you should look into the “LensBaby” which is an attachment lens to your camera. Actually it mounts to the Canon body and gives you a super selective focus. I view it as a gimmick lens. But experimenting could produce some fairly interesting images. Check it out online. You also can experiment with other Canon lenses by renting them to try. I have done this and it’s great fun to play with expensive glass that you would otherwise never buy.


Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1/80 sec, f1.4, focal length 50mm

This is an example of shallow depth of field. Critical focus is important. Cousin David focused on the left eye highlight. Everything else is slightly out of focus. With point and shoots, and even with automatic DSLR settings, the computer avoids the wide open f-stop. The whole point is to focus the viewer on a particular area of interest. For portraits it’s the eyes. And the shallow depth of field gives you that ‘bokeh’ some photographers avidly seek. With auto-focus, I’ve really gotten lazy. But it doesn’t mean you should forget the rules. In order to ‘break the rule’ creatively, you need to know the rules. At least that’s my opinion.

Swing and Motion

Susan wrote: Not one of my favorites but brings up a question?  How do you photograph kids on swings?  Motion catch???

There are some pointers but no sure fire solution. Use a fast shutter speed. That would be to set the shutter at a fixed setting and let the ISO and f-stop adjust. I would use 1/500 to stop motion on a swing.

Manually focus as the subject moves. The motion is toward, away, or across your field of vision. Focus out or in depending on the direction of motion like the swing. For objects moving across the field of view – pan the camera. That is to say swing it in the direction of the motion. It will blur the background and focus on the object such as a car. No one much uses manual focus anymore. But it’s there if you want to try it.

Focus points are now in multiples on all advanced digital cameras. The Nikons and Canons offer a choice of metering patterns. There are multiple points of focus where the subject crossing that sensor point will cause the lens to focus on the subject. On the Nikon D200, I use the closest subject focus choice. It focuses reliably on the nearest subject, which usually happens to be my subject of interest. It works most of the time. This is what I rely upon as far as focus.

Anticipation is important. Most things we photograph are moving in a reasonably predictable pattern. Not so for wildlife but most things like a swing have predictable paths. You can focus on a point and let the action come into the field of view. You can pan the camera and follow the action. You can continuously focus and fire the shutter at the critical moment.

There is a button on Nikon and Canon cameras, which allows you to focus first and then trip the shutter separately instead of a single button that you depress partially and fire the shutter. This gives a bit more control. It is what the sports photographers rely upon. It’s a very good trick and feature on the camera. The manual takes a page or so to discuss it and I swear I skipped over that part until I shot tennis. Then it all made sense.

Finally be prepared to shoot a lot of images. There will usually be one or two that you will want to keep. The rest will be technically good but not outstanding.



Technical: Nikon D90, 1/200 sec, f5, focal length 22

Flowers are great subjects. They don’t move, except for the breeze. So because we see flowers all the time, it’s hard to get a photo that’s a ‘keeper.’ You know what I mean – something special. The composition is interesting because a square crop is not so common in photography. But it’s definitely in use in the ad world. The center mum has not bloomed. It’s a distraction. I would instead move in and focus on one plant and emphasize color and texture. Yellow or purple, you decide.


Technical: Canon G11, 1/80 sec, f4.0, ISO 80, focal length 6.1

For all you bloggers who post every little thing, and you know who you are. Some things are just not that interesting. Think, before you post. Is it gonna be interesting to anyone? I’ve looked at a lot of, well, mediocre posts. Hey, maybe that’s me too. Anyway this photo is a riff on my rant.

There was this fly… I saw him yesterday. It was on the window screen six floors up in the chill night air – about 40 degrees. All night? I glanced as the sun came up this morning and he was still there. Same spot, he never moved. It had to be the same one. I thought he was dead and stuck to the screen.

Well later around 10AM the sun was high enough and had warmed that little bug enough so that he stirred. It was at that moment that these thoughts came to mind. I managed to macro on the G11 and catch this shot. Not too bad for what I wanted – an image to discuss.

I still wonder that this little fly sat out in the cold without mittens or scarf all night in the cold. And he’ll be dead soon. The shot – well, I must say that the Canon came through again. It didn’t know I was shooting through glass and had sun glare. I wanted to focus on an object on the screen. And all I got was one shot before the fly flew (ha ha). It focused pretty decently on the screen. It could have easily focused on the window or the brick wall beyond. The lens flare put some circles that pointed to the fly. A little fill flash and I would have had the fly’s head better exposed. Imagine that, all so that I could post this commentary. When you see David’s fly you will see how pitiful my effort was.


Technical: Canon EOS 7D, 1/4 sec, f10, ISO 800, focal length 126mm, no flash

This is great! ¼ sec and must be that it was with a tripod. The ISO was 800. You could have shot with a faster shutter speed? Or you could use a slower speed and lower ISO. The glass and the reflection selectively focus upon the woman’s head. It’s a great example of selective focus and how to get there tastefully. Here, I might have squared up the composition. But you could easily crop for this. Then again, it really doesn’t need any help. Now that I have looked again, those are pedestrians passing that make the reflection. This was a really neat image capture.