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Old    Brad Webb (04outback)      Join Date: Jul 2007       03-27-2009, 9:57 AM Reply   
I am new to DSLR's and only in the last 6 weeks have I gotten out some to shoot some wake shots.
I have a 55-200mm lens that does not auto focus with my Nikon D60 and a 70-300mm that does auto focus. I have questioned in a different manner here when I realized my 55-200 did not have a motor driven focus... (thanks for the feedback regarding should remain in focus due to static rope length..)

What do most of you set your cameras Focus settings for Wake shots (w2w/aerials...action shots).. I had mixed results with my manual focus lens and as well using AF on my othher lens.. I have a field guide for my D60 and reading it says use AF-C for sports/action shots. I have had some trouble getting the lens to fire due to focus issues on AF.. but I did not note what AF setting I was using.
Also, do you use Single or Continuous shutter settings? I fear that when I am using continous, I am "HOPING" for the shot among the burst instead of really thinking through when I trigger...
Thanks in advance..
Old    Jared L. (ladiii08)      Join Date: Mar 2009       03-27-2009, 10:00 AM Reply   
are you familiar with how the light meter works and how aperture and shutter speed work?
Old    Brad Webb (04outback)      Join Date: Jul 2007       03-27-2009, 10:22 AM Reply   
some. I am learning. I have shot some on the sports setting, and some on aperture priority. still learning through a lot of that.. don't think I am ready for a complete manual setting.. I am thinking I will end up doing more manual focus regardless.. as so far I have had several instances of the wrong thing being in focus... Any suggestions regarding your questions?
Thanks
Old    Jared L. (ladiii08)      Join Date: Mar 2009       03-27-2009, 10:32 AM Reply   
umm..well when i started shooting my friends boarding, i started on the sports setting. the auto focus is simply not fast enough to get a sharp shot of the rider while in motion because theres so much goin on and the auto focus wont pick the right target. what i did was keep the camera pointed at the main part where the rider crosses the wake, and let the rider cross the lens, and then manually focus it then, and then keep it there til they cross again to get the shot. and sumotime the auto focus will get your target if you wait for them to cross the lens. but you need to just practice manually focusing when you shoot. and practice more with moving subjects..if that helps any. i mean im not an expert but lol
Old    Rob VLX (skull)      Join Date: May 2002       03-27-2009, 11:12 AM Reply   
Just have the rider ride directly behind the boat still.... use autofocus... then switch the camera/lens to manual focus and leave it as is. You won't need to continually adjust focus unless the camera moves or the rope length changes (others more experienced can probably chime in with other ideas).
Old    Jared L. (ladiii08)      Join Date: Mar 2009       03-27-2009, 11:20 AM Reply   
yeah..Robs got the idea
Old    Randy Scagliotti (wakedad33)      Join Date: Oct 2005       03-27-2009, 12:03 PM Reply   
You can also try this, pull the rope tight, auto focus (or manual) on the rider sitting in the water, when you get a good sharp focus take a piece of blue masking tape and tape your focus ring down, that way it won't move or get out of focus during the set. Repete the process for the next rider. Sounds kind of getto but it will work until you get better glass. I have used that method in the past with descent results. Good luck
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       03-27-2009, 5:52 PM Reply   
Use your 70-300, AF was invented because nobody can manually focus a lens well enough to shoot sports.

Set your camera on shutter priority - it's TV on Canons - not sure on Nikons. Start with 1/1000th and watch your meter and on average what f stop it's setting itself at while pointing the cam in the general direction you're shooting. See what it's averaging. If it's staying between f4 and f8 you're good to go to start. If it's closing down f11-f16 turn your shutter up to 1/2000th, if it opening up all the way turn your ISO up until the aperture is floating around f5.6. Afternoon sun is usually around 1/1000th - f5.6 and ISO 200 to 320 - my experience anyway. Having a fast shutter will get you good results until you learn the manual settings - then you can lock your aperture which is the way most seasoned Photographers want to shoot.

If you're going to use 1 shot AF mode then I find pumping the shutter half mash (or better yet an AF button on the back if your cam has it) right before taking the shot works better then MF (anything is better then MF AFAIC.) Better yet use the servo focus feature on the cam - that's why they put it there. Let the camera track your rider.

About 90% of the shots I see people calling out of focus are actually a tiny bit of motion blur when nothing in the shot is in focus due to shutter speed - the rest of the time you'll see part of the rider (a small part) that's in focus where the cam locked on, but not the head/eyes which is what we first look at - that's an focus error.

If you take the time to learn how your AF works with your lenses you'll get better results because unless you're all stopped down manual focus will give you mixed results - there is still too much distance changing, even shooting from the boat.
Old    Brad Webb (04outback)      Join Date: Jul 2007       03-28-2009, 6:55 AM Reply   
Thanks Rich.. Great info and explains the issues I had last night! I set the cam up for a friend in the boat to use.. First pics came out great.. as light faded BLUR.. so.. I had done pretty much the opposite of your suggestion.. Aper. Priority and early light worked fine, but as light faded and clouds moved in, it adjusted to the light and slowed shutter.. I glanced at your post last night before bed and woke up putting it all together! THANKS.. Big Help! Now i just gotta get out and ride again..
Old    Brad Webb (04outback)      Join Date: Jul 2007       03-30-2009, 7:29 AM Reply   
I went out Saturday evening and took some nature/wildlife shots while waiting on my wife and had an epiphany thanks to Rich's info above. Mostly elementary SLR learning, but I am slow.. ha .. thanks for the info as it helped me put together some using the Aper. Priority and Shutter Priority settings as well as using the metering! Now, it will be a couple of weeks before I get back on the water..
Old    Walt (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       03-30-2009, 3:52 PM Reply   
This might help some of you. http://www.wakeboarder.com/display.phtml?id=553

I'm going to disagree with Rich on shooting Shutter priority for wakeboarding or sports. Yes it will work but you loose control over the depth of field. IMHO Aperture priority or manual is a better way to go because you determine the DOF not the camera. Depth of field is one of the first things I consider before taking any shot.
Old    Randy Scagliotti (wakedad33)      Join Date: Oct 2005       03-30-2009, 4:43 PM Reply   
Walt, you and Rich have always disagreed on that one
Old    Rich Dykmans (richd)      Join Date: Oct 2003       03-30-2009, 7:14 PM Reply   
We don't disagree at all as I shoot aperture priority most of the time myself - I'll set the aperture and keep an eye on the shutter adjusting the ISO to suit.

But when you're learning and don't have a feel for the shutter/aperture/ISO relationship it's easier/safer at first to lock down the shutter.

And let's face it shooting from the boat with a 70-200 even at 200 you're going to have a hard time telling me f8 is going to ruin the shot where f4 would not. It's hard to see any difference at normal ranges. Where as any motion blur at all is disastrous.
Old    Chris Anthony (russian)      Join Date: Feb 2008       03-30-2009, 8:20 PM Reply   
I had a lot of meter issues(20d) shooting av, when I switched to M for wake my shots got a lot better lighting wise
Old    Alan Slabaugh (alans)      Join Date: Aug 2005       03-31-2009, 7:59 AM Reply   
All great advice. I can't wait for it to warm up here in VA. I really need to start using button AF-ON with wakeboarding. I think that is going to be a killer compromise between AF tracking and MF for inboat shots.
Old    Walt (Walt)      Join Date: Jan 2003       04-03-2009, 8:35 PM Reply   
Rich,
I understand your point but I think it's easier to just start at f/4 or close to that. Thats going to keep your shutter speed up and then adjust your ISO if needed. I've seen a lot of shots that have the point and shoot look because the f/stop was to high due to shutter priority or sports mode.

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