On June 7th at 10am in the morning the class of 2013 held their graduation ceremony at the high school stadium. The last time I was in this stadium it was for my son Jared’s graduation. That year the weather was cold I wore a long-sleeved pullover. This year…not so much. It was very hot and sunny. This year we were there celebrating the graduation of our foster daughter Liz. We also knew many of the other graduates so it was great to be there to cheer and congratulate them on this great accomplishment.
Once again I was pleased with the width the D800 gives me in my 24-120mm lens. I was able to easily get the entire graduating class in a picture with room to spare from the front row of the bleachers.
One of my frustrations cropped up again as I looked at the pictures in post processing. I had several, not many, but several pictures in which the camera focused behind the subject. Because it’s not me of course it’s always the camera’s fault! As I analyzed the photographs with the “problem” I could see that with the center focus point it was slightly above the person I was trying to photograph and on the people in the background. What I learned from this was that I really needed to pay attention to what the center focus point on the camera was focusing on when I take a picture.
This picture of the keynote speaker Brian McKee is an example of the type of situation where I had the problem of obtaining focus on the background rather than the subject I intended. I think this happens because as I compose the shot the subject I want to have in focus isn’t on the central focus point. Because of this the camera focuses on the objects in the background.
One of the dilemmas I was struggling with, out in the sun, was the need for fill light on people’s faces when they were backlit by the sun. The difficulty arises because of the relatively slow sync speed of the flash at 1/250th of a sec. In a bright sun it overexposes the scene. At the time I didn’t have the time to think it through of what I could do to make that shutter speed work.
Well, when I was thinking over this later, two obvious solutions came to me and I was embarrassed for not thinking of them earlier. I was already at the least light-sensitive iso setting of ISO 100. My shutter speed was limited to 1/250th of a sec. What is left? The aperture of course! The two solutions I later thought of were, I could have one, reduced the aperture significantly, or two I could have used a neutral density filter. Of these two solutions the quicker and easier option would be to use a smaller aperture of an f-stop of 11 or more to decrease the amount of light hitting the sensor. I know obvious right? Well I’m looking forward to trying this out in the near future to get a feel for how small an aperture I need to use or if an ND filter will be necessary.
I’ve include some of the other photographs from the morning. If you have a son or daughter I took a picture of that you would like a copy of please contact me. I will be glad to send you a copy for free. As always please comment and critique so I may learn.