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Subject: "jumping dolphins out of focus" Previous topic | Next topic
Diane Vancouver Registered since 15th Jul 2010Thu 02-Sep-10 03:40 PM
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"jumping dolphins out of focus"


CA
          

I found myself with no time to prepare to photo jumping dolphins and didn't do a very good job. I wonder what settings might have been better.

I think I should have a smaller app and maybe spot metering, but I am not sure. Or maybe I should have used the sport setting. I am an old film user and usually go as manual as possible.

Here is the photo. I find the dolphins look very unnatural and oddly out of focus. (even more odd, in this version made smaller to post here the dolphins are sharper).

I've also posted the original in my gallery. Thanks for your suggestions for next time or a similar situation.





Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
James23p Moderator Awarded for his wide variety of skills, a true generalist both in film and digital photography
02nd Sep 2010
1
Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
Len Shepherd Gold Member
02nd Sep 2010
2
Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
Bob Chadwick Silver Member
02nd Sep 2010
3
     Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
Diane Vancouver
02nd Sep 2010
4
          Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
Bob Chadwick Silver Member
02nd Sep 2010
5
               Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
Diane Vancouver
02nd Sep 2010
6
                    Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
CharlieS
02nd Sep 2010
7
Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
02nd Sep 2010
8
Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
Diane Vancouver
03rd Sep 2010
9
Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
carpemoment
03rd Sep 2010
10
Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
rectangularimage Silver Member
04th Sep 2010
11
     Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas
05th Sep 2010
13
Reply message RE: jumping dolphins out of focus
jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources
04th Sep 2010
12

James23p Moderator Awarded for his wide variety of skills, a true generalist both in film and digital photography Nikonian since 25th Apr 2004Thu 02-Sep-10 05:12 PM
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#1. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 0
Thu 02-Sep-10 05:14 PM by James23p

Memphis, US
          

This maybe a depth of field issue. Since the people in the background seem sharp on this shot I think your camera locked onto the spectators in the background. The other option is since the people are not moving or not moving fast it also could be the dolphins are moving faster than your shutter speed can fully stop the action.

What was your aperture and shutter speed? This info will help alot plus where is your focus point?

Well I looked at your EXIF data and it seems you were at a shutter speed of 250 this might be fast enough to stop the dolphins action, but your aperture was f5.6 so I think and of coarse I could be wrong but it looks like you locked onto the spectators and at f5.6 your DOF was a tad off making the dolphins a tad OOF. Again not sure how fast the dolphins are moving and never having tried to shoot dolphins in a show 250 may or may not be fast enough to completely stop action. I know when I was shooting seals at our zoo I used around 1/400 and above.

Jim

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I will use film until the last roll and last lab are gone. Go Navy

  

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Len Shepherd Gold Member Nikonian since 09th Mar 2003Thu 02-Sep-10 05:12 PM
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#2. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 0


Yorkshire, UK
          

There are 2 probable issues.
The first is the dolphins may have been moving too fast for the shutter speed, resulting in subject blur.
The second issue is the dolphins are not good AF targets so there is a good chance AF might chose people in the background - they are sharp.
http://nikoneurope-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4585
A pro would probably use manual focus, and check with the staff the distance the dolphins would be at when leaping. This way any problems with AF are avoided, and with a reasonably small aperture there should be enough depth of field to get the dolphins sharp.

Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.

Len Shepherd

  

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Thu 02-Sep-10 05:18 PM
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#3. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 2


Norcross, US
          

Sutter speed and depth of field were my first thoughts as well. The exif date indicates 1/250 at 5.6 at ISO 200 at 55mm. I'm assuming that you are wide open on this lens at this range and have no ability to decrease the DOF. I would have opened the ISO up and increased the shutter speed to try and stop the movement.

What autofocus made are you using. AF-S?

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Diane Vancouver Registered since 15th Jul 2010Thu 02-Sep-10 05:33 PM
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#4. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 3


CA
          

Thanks for the link and the suggestions. It is as I assumed. I should have used at least a faster shutter speed and different app setting.

Next time I go there I will be prepared in advance.

Bob Chadwick - wouldn't I want an increase in DOF so I could be sure to get them in focus depending where they appeared? It's not consistent. They pop up out of the water near and far and they are really moving.

Yes, AF-S

So I understand there are a lot of other setting choices I could have made. It just happened that I was not prepared and just walked up as the show had begun.

Thanks all for your tips.

  

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Bob Chadwick Silver Member Nikonian since 12th Jan 2006Thu 02-Sep-10 06:00 PM
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#5. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 4


Norcross, US
          

>Bob Chadwick - wouldn't I want an increase in DOF so I could
>be sure to get them in focus depending where they appeared?
>It's not consistent. They pop up out of the water near and
>far and they are really moving.

I would want a decrease in DOF to seperate the dolphins from the crowd.

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Diane Vancouver Registered since 15th Jul 2010Thu 02-Sep-10 06:20 PM
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#6. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 5


CA
          

Good thinking - it would be nicer to see them more distinct from the crowd which isn't the important part.

  

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CharlieS Registered since 29th Aug 2007Thu 02-Sep-10 09:23 PM
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#7. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

I think its simply a focus point issue. Granted a faster shutter speed never hurts for an action shot but if you look closely the crowd behind, and the concrete edge of the pool are in the sharpest focus. As for shooting wider, while that will help attain a faster shutter speed, due to physical conditions this is a shot that will never have mind blowing bokeh. Depth of field is dependent both on aperture, but also the relationship of camera to subject, and subject to background distance so i'm fairly certain the camera location isnt closer to the subject, than subject/bg distance. This will have a great affect on actual oof background no matter what the aperture.

It looks like you've got a good handle on getting exposure set properly, so to assist in getting the shot in focus quickly, prefocus on an approximate spot you expect the action to occur, then you're camera/lens will focus quicker having to only make a small focus adjustment rather than a large adjustment as it would say if focused at infinity.
One last thought, though not likely, is the lens could be back focusing a bit. which is easy to test for. If you notice alot of shots, even of static objects not quite being in focus, it might well be worth the time to check out.

____________________________________________________________________
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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Thu 02-Sep-10 09:36 PM
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#8. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

I'm afraid that I must disagree pretty completely from everyone else. This has nothing to do with shutter speed: the water droplets are pretty much frozen, and they're moving faster than the dolphins. Additionally, the outlines of the dolphins are not blurry: look at the lower dophin's nose, for example. Perhaps there's a contribution from shutter speed, but it's definitely NOT the fundamental issue.

It's also not a DOF issue, either, at least not directly. The issue is that the AF system is locked onto the only thing that it can be: the background. Look at the boots of the guy right behind the lower dolphin. They're in quite good focus. This stands to reason, since most of the time there is no dolphin visible, and there is also nothing between the camera and the crowd. So the camera is focused on the only thing available. When the dolphins come up out of the water, a click of the shutter doesn't give AF time to refocus, especially if you're on AF-S.

So... how would I go about shooting this? I'd try two different approaches. One would be to prefocus, either manually or auto - and in this case, stopping down for some additional DOF would help. Then do NOT try to focus as they come out of the water! This is what Len was saying about determining the distance in advance. This method is almost guaranteed to work well as long as the distance to the subject is reasonably predictable.

The other method I'd try is what you'd have to do if the distance is NOT predictable, as would be the case for dolphins at sea. In this case you'd switch to AF-C, probably with some more advanced tracking mode, and continuously focus on the spot in the water where you expect them to come out. Track through the air while focusing until you want to release the shutter, and allow the camera to do its best with AF. This won't work with a P&S because the AF mechanism is so slow (and also because the shutter lag is so significant), but on a DSLR it DOES work. As with the manual/prefocus method, stopping down will help somewhat, giving the AF system some margin for error, but that's not the fundamental issue.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Diane Vancouver Registered since 15th Jul 2010Fri 03-Sep-10 05:05 PM
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#9. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 8


CA
          

Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll keep them in mind next time I have flying dolphins to contend with.

  

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carpemoment Registered since 17th Dec 2009Fri 03-Sep-10 08:52 PM
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#10. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 9


Raleigh, US
          

Check your AF-area mode. This is the setting under the Focus Mode (AF-C) setting. Use Dynamic area (middle choice) or Single Area.

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rectangularimage Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Oct 2009Sat 04-Sep-10 06:33 AM
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#11. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 8


San Diego, US
          

>...
>So... how would I go about shooting this? I'd try two
>different approaches. One would be to prefocus, either
>manually or auto - and in this case, stopping down for some
>additional DOF would help. Then do NOT try to focus as they
>come out of the water! This is what Len was saying about
>determining the distance in advance. This method is almost
>guaranteed to work well as long as the distance to the subject
>is reasonably predictable.
>...

So with an AF-S kind of lens, would you prefocus on the something like the far edge of the pool (or whatever seems like a good guestimated distance) and then turn off autofocus and wait?

This is a difficult and interesting problem, I think. You can increase the ISO to get a smaller aperture and more DOF, but the critical thing is how to focus on something that's only visible for 1/2 second or so. Quite a challenge.

...Mike

My website | My Nikonians gallery

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 05-Sep-10 02:03 AM
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#13. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 11


Richmond, US
          

With any sort of lens, I'd prefocus on the last spot where the target left the water. And yes, I'd turn off AF (literally since I use AF-ON, I just wouldn't press the button) and then let loose a burst as he/she comes out of the water. The point here is that you're not focusing on something that's mostly invisible.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

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jrp Administrator JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources Charter MemberSat 04-Sep-10 07:57 AM
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#12. "RE: jumping dolphins out of focus"
In response to Reply # 0
Sat 04-Sep-10 08:00 AM by jrp

San Pedro Garza García, MX
          

I use a different technique for this type of action shots.
a) Pre-focus on Manual. Disable AF.
b) Use at least 1/250 sec (at least 1/500 if sidewise)
c) Use at least f/5.6 for a decent DOF with a normal lens or short telephoto.
The image below is about 50% crop of an image on a borrowed D200 with a 35mm lens in Cancun a couple of years ago. Under that bright light I could shoot at ISO 100.


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