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Ask questions and share knowledge about cameras and photographic technique

Moderator: Matt

By bombsboy
Posts:  584
Joined:  Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:57 am
Don't you hate it when you want to take a close up shot at something, but the digital camera focuses elsewhere? Read on!
I have found a way to override the stupid camera AI of focusing in the back of a small object such as that hard-to-shoot drosera flower! ;)
I do have a D 7000 (a newer manual focus camera that costs a fortune) but want to show you guys that you can take good pictures of your plants with even a digital camera!
With this technique i have taken photos of the flowers i wanted to focus on~ check out my photo album here: ... ch%20%201/

If you have a point and shoot camera, look for the "scene mode" and switch it to macro (usually a silhouette of a tulip or flower is there) or you can just turn macro mode on.
Next you want to focus on something that is equal distance as the shot you want to take. You can do so by pressing the shootphoto button halfway down NOT ALL THE WAY!
Now you want to point the camera at the target, and focus it within the range as you have pre-focused on the ground.
Then move the camera back and forth until it is focused at the fixed distance of however far you focused it at the ground.

EXAMPLE: you want to shoot a picture of that new drosera flower that is shooting up, but it is small, and the camera focuses elsewhere
  • 1. I will switch it to macro mode
    2. I will focus on the ground with the camera about three inches away
    3. I will move the camera, with my finger still pressing the button half-way down onto the photoshoot button
    4. With the camera pointing at the drosera flower, I will move my camera back and forth to "manually focus," keeping in mind that i set it to a three inch range in step 2
    5. snap away!
Be sure to upload your cp pictures, and shrink them if you have to! i upload into photobucket and then post a link, it saves space for Matt's server :)
more tutorials coming up!
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By jht-union
Posts:  3205
Joined:  Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:43 pm
Thank you, i take normally good pics, and i know about the settings, but the thing about holding the button half way, i din't know that, thanks for this!
By jht-union
Posts:  3205
Joined:  Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:43 pm
this should help everybody, specially the ones that don't know how to take pics with macro mode and want to show their plants to members in the community!
By bombsboy
Posts:  584
Joined:  Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:57 am
cephs would definitely be difficult, but id say droseras are more because the odd angles you need to capture everything perfectly
By RL7836
Posts:  188
Joined:  Tue May 18, 2010 2:56 pm
I normally use a small variation of this approach when the camera is unable to focus on something very small (like a tiny utric flower). I check to ensure that the camera is in macro mode (this setting allows the camera to focus closer than in other settings) and place a finger next to the flower at the same distance from the camera. I follow the procedure above (shutter button halfway down, etc) and focus on my finger. Once the camera has it locked in, I swing the camera a bit to center the flower and snap the pic. Sometimes I don't move the camera & just let the flower be on the side - I then crop the pic later.

Here's an example with the finger:

.... and without:
RL7836, RL7836, RL7836 liked this
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By Steve_D
Posts:  3913
Joined:  Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:06 pm
I tend to set the camera in manual-focus mode (no auto focus), then if I'm not using a tripod, I'll focus on the plant (or something nearby as Ron suggested), then rock slowly forward and backward to try to take the photo at the exact time that what I want to focus on looks in focus in the view finder. It's crude but surprisingly effective. I learned it by reading a description at a camera forum of the technique used by a great macro photographer in England. No one could believe his crude-sounding techniques, including homemade and improvised flash diffusers (like a soda pop can cut into flared segments, taped to the flash with duct tape, with the front covered with a single thickness of paper towel!), but his results were amazing! :D
By bombsboy
Posts:  584
Joined:  Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:57 am
that utric pic is great! i like to do the finger thingy too, however using a peice of paper yeilds a better result for me
By Adam
Posts:  2892
Joined:  Sat Dec 13, 2008 4:39 am
dantt99 wrote:Oh okay :D.

Usually for me, ISO 800, 1/15-25 shutter speed, and TV mode.
Why such bad ISO? would you not rather use 100 or 80? It should be less gritty...
By dantt99
Posts:  5045
Joined:  Sun Oct 17, 2010 4:48 am
Adam wrote:Why such bad ISO? would you not rather use 100 or 80? It should be less gritty...
The thing about using a low ISO is that it lets less light in, and then you have to turn the shutter speed even lower (like 1/5) and then it's hard to get clear photos without using a tripod. That's just sometimes, I change it all the time :)
By FlyBoy
Posts:  8
Joined:  Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:52 am
A lower ISO can be used with use of a longer shutter speed and a stable tripod. Which will give you a deeper "depth of field" which can pull in that whole subject. You do have to make sure you have no wind or viberations though.

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