This one is probably difficult to answer since it varies with the situation. But the majority of the time what focus should be used? Manual or Auto? And if you would like maybe give examples of when to use what.
Second question, I have a tree that is lit with fiber optics, it is neat when looking at it since it twinkles and sparkles, but because the colours are changing constantly it is difficult to get a good picture, anyone have experience taking pictures of these trees, how would you go about taking pictures of them?
* Amanda *
I almost always use auto focus. Now, I manually set my focal point though. I have it set to the center focal point most of the time, then I focus and recompose. You could also toggle your focal points, but I find that difficult when photographing my kids since they move so fast and hardly ever sit still. I think that I've toggled a few times with my older one now that he takes directly a little better, but mostly I just use the center one. I also use "one shot" auto focus. That way it's not changing up the focus on me after I've pressed the shutter halfway and before I take the shot. I'm constantly focusing before I take the shot, and while I'm waiting for the right look from the kids.
As far as the tree goes, you'll probably need to rest your camera on something to get the shot. Your shutter speed is going to have to be pretty low in order to get enough light in without using the flash (which will drown out the lights on the tree). I also used the self timer, so the camera wouldn't shake with me pushing down the shutter. I would imagine that taking a shot of a fiber optics tree would be about the same as taking pictures of regular lights. You'll just get lots of different looks out of your tree.
Exactly what I would say too!
I also want to add that I shoot a LOT of macro wildlife in the summertime and I often switch to manual focusing for that, because with the insanely shallow DOF, the autofocus often keeps changing on me when even the subtlest breeze moves my subject.
Another situation where I switch to MF is when I am doing a self-portrait etc. where I am using the timer and tripod....I set up my equipment, focus exactly where I need it to be focused, and then turn the switch to MF so that it won't change when I trigger the shutter.
Autofocus 95% of the time. Manual focus for severe back lighting, macro, and occasionally for tripod work.
For the tree....you'll need a tripod (or something sturdy to leave the camera on) and a very slow shutter speed.
Wife to Rich~ 8/16/03 Mom to Nathan~ 9/30/07
Is it best to try to photograph the tree in a dark room or a well-lit room (or somewhere in between)?
I love to photograph glowing Christmas trees and it seems best if the room is anything but super-bright. If the room is super-bright you'd have to compensate by having an extremely fast speed....but then you might end up with just tiny dots for lights. I like to portray it exactly the way it looks with the naked eye when the room is dim and the lights look so beautiful glowing softly, so I turn off extra room lights and set my settings to get the glow of the twinkle lights and just a little bit of glow in the room too.
Those shots are very pretty, Stephanie. I'm going to try to shoot Tyler in front of the tree this weekend for our holiday card (yes, I'm late....).
Amy, I sometimes use manual focus when shooting macro, too. Otherwise, I mainly shoot on auto. I'm just not quick enough to deal with all my settings on manual, especially when shooting a hyper five year old.
DS: Tyler 4/19/06
Thanks for the suggestions everyone, I do have a tripod (though I think it is in DH's car) so I will be getting that out to try and get a shot of the tree. The tree is in our rec room in the basement so not sure how to work the light since it never really gets any good natural light, I'll have to experiment and see what works.
* Amanda *