A Hawk at Publix

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
AlwynS Veteran Member • Posts: 3,939
Re: A Hawk at Publix

These are good: congrats!

Two comments:

1.  Eye AF: when the new firmware came out I tried it and was not impressed. I did a thread on it: will try and find and provide a link.

2. Light & dark in viewfinder: you have Live view turned on and the viewfinder is showing the exposure of the image to be captured. While other exposure metering settings can do something similar, this effect is most obvious if you have small flexible spot focus mode with spot met with the metering spot has the "Focus point link" enabled. In other words, the camera will meter on the point where the focus flexible spot is. As you move this point over lighter and darker areas, the exposure can change drastically. I actually like this because a) it meters where I want to focus (that is the important part of the image for me) and b) with small movements over lighter/darker areas I can "tweak" the exposure. But this CAN be tricky for high contrast subjects.

Some time ago I did a graphic demonstrating this. Assume you have the following image:

Obviously I would want to place the focus Flexible spot on the head of the eagle because that is what I want in focus. However, you still have some latitude on WHERE on the head you place the small spot. If you place the Focus spot (and therefore the metering spot if they are linked) on the predominantly white part of the head (the red circle), the camera would like to expose so the average of this bright white metering area is grey, so you will get a dark image, like this:

By moving the spot to the darker neck/chest so that more of it is on the almost black feathers,  you will get this exposure:

What you are looking for is the get the focus spot in the plane of the eye while getting the "right balance" of black & white in the metering area to get the exposure right.

What I like about this is that you have COMPLETE control over the exposure while still getting the focus where you want.

As for focus and recompose: I NEVER use it any more. I prefer moving the Flexible Spot focus point to the position in the frame that will give me the desired composition if I then place it on the part of the subject I want in focus. To facilitate this I have set one of my custom buttons (C2 in my case) to "Focus standard". If Flexible Spot is active and you press the key associated with "Focus standard", it allows you to move the focus spot position using the left, right, up and down arrows on the Control Wheel on the back of the camera. I then move the focus point to where I want it to a) focus on the desired spot on the subject while b) achieving the desired composition.

Using your hawk image as example: normally the focus Flexible Spot is centered in the middle of the image, somewhere around where I placed the blue cross. I would have moved the focus point to the red circle.

In that way I could both focus AND expose on the most desirable part of the frame, i.e. the head/eye of the hawk. If needed I would then have adjusted EC for Live View to show me the desired exposure.

This is my personal method of focusing and exposing on birds: I am sure other people have their preferred way of getting the results they want. I find this quick, intuitive and accurate. But that's just for me. But at least I hope this gives some clarity on some of the underlying principles.

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