Why Center-Weighted Average is the Right Metering Mode 85% of the Time

metering modes

metering modes

I Think That “Center-Weighted Average” Metering is Best (Usually)

As you can see from the image above, most cameras have at least three metering modes (the region where the camera measures light to calculate the exposure.) Some have four or more. For years, I only used “center-weighted average” because it was how I was taught, and it worked well. Well, it still works the best. After trying the other types of metering and thinking about it a bit, I think I know why.

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Back-Button Focusing and Why You Should Use It

back of camera

Back-Button Focus

Ever want to be able to switch from shooting a static landscape to shooting action without having to worry about changing focus modes? Want to capture moving objects in crisp focus? Use back-button focusing and you can have it all. Here’s how to set it up. Continue reading

Maximum Lens Sharpness – The “Sweet Spot”

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What is a lens’s “sweet spot?”

Everybody wants sharp and focused photos. You can get good sharpness near to far in a photo by hyperfocal focusing, but what are the limits of sharpness of your lens? At what aperture (f-stop value) will you get the sharpest photos? This is also known as the “sweet spot” of the lens. Here is a simple test you can do to find out where your lens is sharpest. But first, some basic rules…

General Rules for Lenses

The rules are about the same for every lens. Here are the general ones: Continue reading

Choosing a Focus Mode and AF Frame

Focusing Modes Explained

Choosing a focusing mode (also called AF Mode) for your camera can be confusing. Very confusing. It’s not something you’re going to want to be thinking about when you’re ready to shoot, that’s for sure! Here’s a simple explanation for some common focus modes and how I use them. Continue reading

Unfocus for Composition

When setting up for shooting a scene, evaluating your composition can be tricky with all the elements of the scene popping out at you. Try “unfocusing“. I do not mean to un-focus your camera. This has nothing to do with your camera at this point. I mean “unfocus” your view – through your eyes. Continue reading

Increase Detail With Focus Magic

Focus Magic is a piece of software that sharpens and de-blurs photos in a special way through use of sophisticated algorithms. Besides using it to repair photos that have blur or focus issues, I also sometimes use it as a final-pass item that punches up the sharpness. It’s another of my “secret weapons.” Continue reading

Camera Focusing Modes

I couldn’t write it better…so I won’t. Here’s a link to a great article on focusing modes.

This is one item that has tripped me up more than once. There’s nothing worse than going for a shot and having it ruined by bad focus. More than once I’ve been perplexed by my camera and why it won’t focus on what I want it to focus on!

Focusing Modes | Understanding Autofocus Modes.

via Focusing Modes | Understanding Autofocus Modes.

Realism in a Photo

The sun is bright and when you look toward it, your eyes can’t see any detail in it. It is “blown out” in your eyes. Is this any surprise? No. Shocking information? No. Well then why do we as photographers complain when our photos show the sun as a feature-less blown-out highlight? It is, after all, what you would have seen had you been standing there behind the camera isn’t it? Of course it is.

Let’s say you’re standing in a dark ravine looking up with dark rocky outcroppings all around, but a bright sun shining above. Do your eyes see detail in the shadows? Of course not. Surprising? No. Something wrong with your eyes? No. It’s a high-contrast scene and this is what your actually seeing. So why do we as photographers when we look at the photo later, feel as if we’ve failed somehow because the shadows in our photo are black without much detail. It was, after all, exactly what we saw when we were there.

How well can you see details on the horizon? Are treelines perfectly clear to you? No. What about the haze in the air. Do those distant tress or mountains look perfectly clear? No. Could they be a little out of focus to your eyes? Sure. When we get behind the lens though, we want everything to be sharp and clear – but clearly not how we actually saw it. Why?

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What is your steadiness limit?

Who wants to use a tripod all the time? Sure it gets you blur-free shots, but how awkward carrying the thing around. Some places don’t even let you bring one (certain parks, monuments, busy areas, etc.). But how do you know if you’re going to get blur (camera shake) if you’re hand-holding your camera? You have to know your “steadiness limit.” Here’s how. Continue reading

The Barbell Strategy…for photos

What is the Barbell Strategy?

I first read about the barbell strategy in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book The Black Swan. In it he claims basically that investments should be mostly (80%) safe, with a few (20%) very risky, but none in the intermediate. This strategy works for me with my investments where I have 20% in risky stocks (growth, emerging, etc), 80% in safe stocks (bonds, etc), and none (0%) in between . But what does this have to do with photography?

You can apply this same principle to your photography both in post-processing and during capture! Continue reading

Lightroom + Focus Magic Workflow

Focus Magic Rescues Blurred Photos

When I have a photo that needs to be corrected for focus or motion blur, I use the stand-alone version of Focus Magic. I also use Lightroom first and have integrated Focus Magic into my workflow shown below. Please use it whole or in part as you need. I’m not going to show you each detail, but all the information you need will be in here. The part that is different from my standard Lightroom workflow is shown in bold. Continue reading