Posts Tagged: Night

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

Inch Beach at Night

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 105mm
ISO 1600
Shutter speed 1/125s

Inch Beach at Night

Aperture ƒ/22
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 17mm
ISO 50
Shutter speed 1/3s

Inch Beach at Night

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 24mm
ISO 50
Shutter speed 10s

Inch Beach at Night

Aperture ƒ/8
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 24mm
ISO 50
Shutter speed 5s

Inch Beach at Night

Aperture ƒ/22
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 67mm
ISO 50
Shutter speed 3.2s

Inch Beach at Night

Aperture ƒ/22
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 40mm
ISO 50
Shutter speed 4s

Inch Beach at Night

Aperture ƒ/22
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 17mm
ISO 50
Shutter speed 2s

Meteor Streak

Last night my son and I hopped in the car and travelled upstream of the Inniscarra dam on the River Lee around here where I hoped it would be fairly dark to shoot the Perseids meteor shower.

The sunset was lovely and I’ll be posting photos of that over the next few days but I was disappointed at the light pollution from Cork City on the clouds above. It was only by almost 2230 that the clouds moved away and more of the sky became visible.

I saw one meteor streak through the upper atmosphere to the north-north-east, while my son saw one almost overhead. Disappointing but we were getting tired so near 2300 I took a few photos of the sky. The very last photo I took was to the west and I liked how it looked but when I saw it on my laptop this morning I noticed the streak of a meteor at the top of the frame!

The photo was a 30 second exposure, f/4 at 2000 ISO.

Aperture ƒ/4
Camera Canon EOS 6D
Focal length 24mm
ISO 2000
Shutter speed 30s