Camera automation has done wonders for photography, both casual and serious.
But sometimes, it pays to know how to turn off the robot, and control the camera yourself.
Even with a fancy Canon 5D-MII DSLR, these low fly-by passes happen much too fast for reliable focus. And you definitely cannot rely on full-auto function to set a shutter speed fast enough to freeze these birds. After some testing, I first tried this:
– Autofocus off, leave lens set to infinity (I had to avoid hitting the focus ring by mistake)
– “T” position on mode knob, meaning “shutter priority,” at min 1/500, better at 1/1000th of a second
But the sharpness suffered. So then I stepped up to the “M” (full manual) setting. It had been years since I had to set both the aperture and shutter speed myself. Today, you can set those, and still have a third way to set sensitivity on the fly, which is the ISO setting. In the old days, you could still control that, but only by changing your roll of film! Geezers like me remember when film was rated by ASA or DIN. So I locked down the shutter (fast) and aperture (f11 med/high) and let the ISO float.
This resulted in some pretty fun shots. Having a friend who would lend me his 400mm Optical Diffraction pro telephoto lens didn’t hurt either.