Monday, April 15, 2013

Oh, Shoot!

Earlier this month, I spent a day with photographer Beckie Kengle

I met up with Beckie to learn how to use my Nikon D700.  (Beckie has been shooting with a D700 for about a year.)  

After saving for months, I bought a used Nikon D700 from Kenmore Camera on eBay in November.  But in the weeks (and months) following the purchase, I was having a hard time figuring out what all the buttons were for, and how to make the camera do what I wanted it to do.  

I told Beckie that I wanted to learn more about how to achieve tack sharp focus, and she suggested I try back button focusing (BBF).  I'd read about BBF online, but never attempted it.

At first, I was totally puzzled.

You mean, I don’t press the shutter release button halfway down to focus?  What?  I have to push a button on the back?  Huh? 

It felt weird using the AF-ON button to focus, and then clicking the shutter release button to take the photo.  I took quite a few practice shots, but all the while, I was thinking, Man, I don't like this.  It's so different.   

At one point, I was so uncomfortable (and frustrated) with it, I thought for a second about switching back to my original method (pressing the shutter release button halfway down to focus and then all the way to take the shot).

But I took a deep breath instead.

And reminded myself that anytime I try something new, it's often difficult at first.  (I'm the type of person who likes to be good at something from the get-go, but I'm learning--from experience--that it rarely happens that way.)

And kept shooting.  

Later that day, Beckie and I took photographs of Sandra, a high school senior.

I was so focused (haha!) on metering the light, using back button focus, and toggling the focal point so it was on the model's eyes, that I wasn't paying much attention to composition.

I kept thinking, Oh, shoot!  (Hence, the title of this post!)  Darn it!  What the heck?!  And ugh!
as I struggled to take decent shots of Sandra. 

I’m not going to lie: Some of my photos were pretty bad--especially in terms of composition.  But some of them turned out okay. 

Here are three of my favorites:

I'm happy to report that since the mentoring session, I've been shooting exclusively with my D700.  Smile.     

I've also been practicing with back button focusing.  Smile. 

And learning more about the D700's autofocus settings on Ken Rockwell's websiteMore smiles. 

Have you tried back button focusing?  What did you think?  Do you use it all the time now?

P.S. Thanks to Beckie Kengle for showing me how to use back button focusing, and allowing me to tag along with her on a photo shoot. 

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