Light Trails

Use Back Button Focus to Pre Focus

Sometimes it’s useful if the shutter button doesn’t focus. Instead you press another button to focus. I’ve used it in the past when shooting street photography (focus on the ground and I know anything a metre away will be in focus), and at night on a tripod when taking long exposure shots of moving lights.

Back button focus is when you don’t use your shutter button to focus the camera. Instead you’ll use a button on the back of your camera. Not every camera can do it but check your manual or use Google to search for your camera name and “back button focus”. Here are two good videos describing why it’s good for sports photography:

Here’s a video I found to get it working on the Canon 6D using the AF-On button. I usually use the Q menu now to disable focusing on the shutter button.

The beauty of back button focusing is that you can focus your camera before the proper shoot and then take as many photographs as you want of the scene, often when the lighting has changed and focusing is impossible. This is especially important at night, but it also lets you shoot faster as the lens is already focused. This may just mean the difference between a great street photo and a missed opportunity.

Finally, here’s a photo I shot last night using back button focus to set up the shot. I could as easily have manually focused the lens but this worked just as well.

Light Trails

Aperture ƒ/4.5
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 17mm
ISO 100
Shutter speed 10s
Spiral to the Outside

A Walk around Camden Fort Meagher

My son and I went to Camden Fort Meagher last Saturday. Unfortunately we arrived late, at 1615, just in time to get in but with the fort closing at 1700 we had to hurry to see as much of it as we could. We had been there before but the fort is under constant repair and development. Some buildings that had been closed off and falling apart had roofs replaced, walls repaired and painted, doors hung properly, windows fixed and more. There were reenactments last weekend too which I wanted to see but I thought we were probably too late to see them.

Memorial Garden
Memorial Garden

There’s a lovely, simple war memorial garden near the main parade. This is new since the last time I was there.

Tunnel to the Magazine
Tunnel to the Magazine

The tunnel to the magazine can be reached by going down a few steps near the on-site cafe. It’s impressively long and moody. While shooting this photo we heard actual shots and shouting outside! Turns out there was a reenactment, and it was taking place just outside the tunnel. Unfortunately the sounds reverberated down the tunnel, scaring my son, and causing our ears to ring!

Checking the Body

The Final Shot

Shots rang out, an officer fell, the captive followed him, wounded before being dispatched.

The Magazine

The magazine was where the ammunition for the fort was stored. Behind me was a service tunnel of some sort. I could imagine the rows upon rows of shelves holding boxes of ordinance and arms.

Starlight in the Tunnel

Spiral to the Outside

Once out of the magazine you proceed around a corner to a spiral staircase. It’s well lit and a favourite of photographers! When I first visited the staircase had just been opened and one of the volunteers at the fort described how it had been dark and damp, and strewn with rubbish when they excavated it.

Lowering the Flag

The Irish National Flag is lowered at the end of the day. Last Saturday, Thomas Francis Meagher, named after a famous man of the same name lowered the flag with his brother Cillian.

The view over the harbour

The fort commands a great view of Cork Harbour. Guns used to protect the passage way in there, but nowadays you’re more likely to find someone enjoying a cup of tea and some refreshments.

The Bright Tunnel

The Bright Tunnel descends 160 feet down the slope. There are 198 steps if memory serves. We didn’t have time to go down but there are the ruins of gun emplacements down below too and a nice walk around and up again.

As well as the fort website, you can find out much more about it on it’s Wikipedia page. I’ve previously posted photos of Camden Fort Meagher too. The fort is well worth a visit!

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 105mm
ISO 125
Shutter speed 1/160s