Know Your Camera’s Focus

My Digitizing Grandma’s Stuff class was a hit at the recent family history conference. The reward was strongly felt for the efforts I’ve expended inspiring others to photograph their family treasures through my blog, personal conversations, and teaching.

There was a young girl in my class who went home to tell her grandmother about the conference. She had attended with her grandfather and they both left so excited to photograph the family treasures that they bought a nicer camera and are anxious to begin.

I loved hearing how her great-grandmother then told the young lady and the grandfather the story of the ‘unwanted’ cuckoo clock in the living room. You see! when we start photographing family treasures, others will open up stories we never knew! I’m so happy for them and wish them all the best in their projects.

Hearing stories like these plaster a smile on my face bigger than Dallas! That’s why I challenge you, my readers, to photograph your treasures. Use what I have learned and shared on this blog. You can do this!

We can not imagine the stories and memories will discover or remember once we begin.

Know Your Focus

I recently discovered with my entry-level DSLR, that it’s important to pay attention where your focusing points are placed on your object. With point and shoot or compact cameras, you don’t have focusing dots inside the viewfinder or on the LCD. (If you do, that’s news to me).

DSLR cameras have these flashing dots inside the viewfinder. You can change how they work, but the major point of this post is to make sure you’re placing your active focusing point on the part of your object you most want in focus.

Where You Focus the Camera Matters
Focus dots on the back of the band
f/7.1, exp 1/4 sec, ISO 100, exp bias +1.7, Pattern Metering

The above photo shows that I was focusing on the inscription inside the band. I have shared before that the inscriptions are important, however, I really wanted the front of the band in focus. I needed to make sure I placed the active focusing dot on the front of the band.

Where You Focus the Camera Matters
Focus dots on the back of the band 
f/7.1, exp 1/4 sec, ISO 100, exp bias +1.7, Pattern Metering

This photo is much better. Now, if I were a professional photographer, the reflected image in the gold pattern in the ring would bug me. However, I’m a family historian who wants to capture memories before they are gone. Someday, I may redo the photograph, but probably not. What I will do is know my focus from this point forward.

4 thoughts on “Know Your Camera’s Focus

  1. Colleen… so true! I am a bit of a family history addict. However, if I can step away from the ancestors and memories in order to make new ones (or clean a bathroom). I welcome more opportunities to share my passion to more people. The satisfaction that comes is a great 'high'.

  2. Jana… so true! I enjoyed the experience and would prefer to be teaching in person and interacting with people more. I also LOVE hearing from those I've helped or inspired. As you know, that is a huge reward in itself.

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