January 05, 2005
Wrong Focus 2

I posted a article almost a year ago called “Wrong Focus” - which was an attempt to get a snap of my bus at one of my local stops. It was a great example of how the camera’s autofocus subsystem lets you down by targetting the wrong thing. In that case it was the twigs of a tree between my observation point and the bus.

Well - it happened again. The bus is different - but the perspective almost the same:

It’s great to be back on the bus after the holidays.

Posted by jag at January 05, 2005 08:25 PM
Hi Jag, Happy new year to you? I have a question "like munnabhai MBBS style" .. Do u carry u r camera all the time with u.. Posted by: cvraman on January 5, 2005 09:04 PM
Hi Venkat - I sure do! ("munnabhai MBBS" made me laugh!) Bonne année - merveilleus por tous! (By the way - you spelt your blogspot address slightly wrong - if you click on it you will get a "Mega site of Bible Studies and information" - but don't worry - many people have made this mistake!) Posted by: Jag on January 5, 2005 09:20 PM
Well, it misses the bus-stop. And I dont think there was a sign before. I still don't know how the camera manages to catch that twig and put it on focus. Always happens at the wrong time. Posted by: sat on January 5, 2005 11:08 PM
Sat - yes, the picture this time was taken at few degrees of angle to the right. Which means that the bus stop is now obscured by the bus itself - and what has appeared in view is a street lamp pole - which was there the last time - but not in the frame. But you are right: the sign on that pole is new. It wasn't there last Feb. When you choose to take pics like I do - which is spontaneously - then one is at the mercy of the autofocus; not enough time to manually adjust settings. So you take a chance - and see how it turns out. Sometimes good - and sometimes not how intended - but nevertheless good. I like it sometimes when it turns out like that! Posted by: Jag on January 5, 2005 11:22 PM
I have not worked out how to adjust the settings manually yet on my camera and can't be bothered to RTFM so I have quite a few of these, only a lot less nice looking. Posted by: stroppycow on January 6, 2005 09:27 AM
Keep those camera tips coming Jag...I have yet to venture out of the Auto focus realm. I should probably give it a try. My prior non digital camera conditioning has me thinking I still have a roll of film not to waste, LOL. I had to laugh at the sign saying 200 yards worth of humps That sounds like a Porno Movie title. Posted by: Fritz on January 6, 2005 04:06 PM
Strop: You just need to *pretend* to yourself that you've read the manual - and then the bad pictures will actually turn out good in a "different" sort of way. Or else you pretend it was deliberate - i.e. arty. You can start a movement with that kind of attitude - look at "Lomo" ! ;-) Fritz: I never looked at the humps things that way. You got a dirty mind Fritz. Signs like that are absolutely everywhere in the suburbs! Now all I can think about when I see signs like that is ... (now look what you've gone and done.) Posted by: Jag on January 6, 2005 07:59 PM
Sometimes, these dicey focus moments can be resolved by first pointing the camera at a surface equidistant to the subject, pushing and holding the shutter button halfway down to lock the focus, then pointing the camera at the subject to complete the snap. Try it in Slough someday. I have a great Slough poem I want to share and need a Slough 'moment' to 'focus' on ;-) Posted by: Paul Vasold on January 7, 2005 10:41 AM
My EOS300's autofocus is a pain: it sometimes won't let you take a picture if it's not happy with the focus. If I'm shooting telephoto, more often than not I'll manual focus (unless I'm trying to track something fast moving). Plus, EOS is the only camera I've got with autofocus - all the others are fully manual, so I'm used to focusing manually. Of course, having an SLR-style focusing ring does make life much easier that when you're focusing with a compact. Posted by: Chris on January 7, 2005 01:14 PM
Sometimes I take the same shot (of the same object and background), one time, the object came infocus, and another time, the background (got that while I was trying to shoot a seagull against the manhattan skyline) I still don't know why. But sometimes, it does an amazing job. Even with a very small object to wor on, it does very good job of it. Posted by: sat on January 8, 2005 04:06 AM
I've reallygot to read my manual, I've been to 2 gigs now where the pics have been far from satisfactory in terms of light levels. either the shutter speed is too slow giving me blurred images or they come out too dark. Of course I never had that problem with my old film SLR, but it's not so convineine to just slip in the pocket. SAnyways, Happy new Year Jag! :-) Posted by: Brom-man on January 8, 2005 09:16 PM
Hi Paul: I am aware of the technique you describe. It's just that even with that knowledge it's really hard to do that when the moment is so "transient". Still - I have used the technique quite successfully in the past. I will definitely try it in Slough sometime - you're not thinking of the "bombs" poem by Betjeman are you? ;-) Chris: I am so jealous of you - an EOS300! I so so much miss the manual focus ring. My Sony DSC-V1 compact obviously doesn't have one - but I know it would make all the difference if it did. Sat: I, too, have those unpredictable snaps - which is why I try to take several frames - and then pick out the ones that turned out as I expected. Despite this - the DSC-V1 does indeed do a very good job. Brom-man: Happy New Year to you too! Only 2 gigs? ;-) Seriously though - I know exactly what you mean - for every 10 pictures I take - only 1 is really worth it. If you check out my "flickr" pages - you will see that I have about 250 pics - even though I must have taken over 2500 so far! By the way - I still carry my Lomo film-camera about with me occasionally! (See http://www.jag.me.uk/misc/lomo/index.htm ) Posted by: Jag on January 9, 2005 09:21 PM
Ya, that's the one. John Betjeman's 1937 poem "Slough" is definitely not 'politically correct' for today's Slough. It's a bit harsh. My rendition was 'translated' and cut-down to eliminate some of the pain, but perhaps not enough, so I'll file it away for now, and just happily enjoy all the 'visual poetry' that you so graciously provide. I enjoyed your video AND Billy Idol. Thanks. What you're doing here is very much appreciated. Posted by: Paul Vasold on January 10, 2005 07:51 AM
It may be wrongly focussed, but it's still a nice picture... Posted by: Stefan on January 10, 2005 08:04 PM
Cheers Stefan! It's amazing how some of the best snaps are those you never intentionally wanted to turn out like that. Posted by: Jag on January 11, 2005 12:33 AM
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