How to focus on “focal Point”

Photo by Anton Romanov on Unsplash

We live in a wonderful world of technology, and sometimes we get used to how it usually helps us, but, get frustrated when it doesn’t go right. For example: the photo above, is a great photo of a squirrel doing his daily thing. You know that this was taken, most likely, with a telephoto lens. And our cameras do an amazing job of focusing automatically on our subject. But, how does your auto-focus system know what you want to be the main “focal point”? Is it the squirrel? Is it the branch in front of it? How about the beautiful forest behind it? There are so many things the automation of your system doesn’t really know, what is going to be your main “focal point”.

green trees and plants
This is a great photo, but most autofocus cameras will have a hard time knowing what your focal point is. —– Photo by gryffyn m on

How to focus manually when your camera is auto focus:

When we are taking photos of a “complex” scene, where you are trying to be specific about your focal point, it’s a good thing you can override your focus on your lens. Take some time and find that switch or button on your camera, and notice how the end of the lens that focuses, can now freely move.

Auto focus switch on your lens.

Above you see the photo showing the AF switch for your camera. AF=Autofocus. If you are struggling with your lens focusing, then do it manually by sliding the AF switch to MF (manual focus). Then you will be able to focus on whatever you want. Now, there may be one more issue in making sure your focus is right. If you have any type of vision issues, such as astigmatism, or blurred vision when reading, then you have one more adjustment to make on your camera.

Diopter dial on your camera

You can use your camera without having to wear glasses. This diopter adjustment is designed to help people who have to normally look through glasses to see things clearly. I have that issue. I use glasses to read, or to see things up close. So, when I got my camera, I just looked through the viewfinder of my camera, and adjusted the diopter dial to work with my vision. Now, I don’t have to wear my glasses while looking through the viewfinder in my camera.

Now, with the diopter adjusted right on your camera, you can easily see, looking through the lens, and adjusting the focus, that your picture is sharp, where you want it to be sharp.

Photo by Shad Meeg on Unsplash

Here is another great example of making sure your focal point is where you want it to be. The intent of this photographer was to have the feet sharply in focus. The camera, seeing all the scenery in the background wanted to focus on the scenery. So, the photographer had to manually focus on his feet to override the auto focus.

Now, you may want to use your manual focus more often. Another real issue is when you are taking a scenery or landscape photo. Ever notice that the furthest point in your photo does not look sharp?

Zone scale on your lens

Want to make your photos even sharper using this zone scale? Come back for tomorrow’s blog to see how you use your “F stop” setting (aperture setting), to make your scenery photos even more spectacular.

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