Any Helpful Photographers Out There?

I hope so! I’ve got a pretty limited knowledge of photography but I really want to be able to improve my photos. I have a Canon EOS 60D, which I’ve had endless issues with – not least because you have no control over the focus point in all of their ‘automatic’ modes – it always focuses on the thing closest to the camera (even if it’s a leaf in the front left corner of the shot), rather than whatever you have framed in the center of the photo – and there seems to be no way to change this. So I’ve had to resort to using the manual modes, and I just don’t have the technical knowledge to be able to set the camera up to take the best shots!

If it’s a beautiful summers day, and I’m taking portrait style photos I’m fine, see…?


It might not be the most accomplished photo in the world but I was pleased with it!  Yesterday presented a lot more challenges though. I was tasked with taking some photos of my son karting in the rain. Not only was it dark and gloomy, but I wanted to photograph moving karts and spray in gorgeous clarity. The rain lifted after a while but there was then a lot of glare from the sunshine in all the puddles.

The photos looked cracking on the preview screen of the camera which seems to be deceptively flattering, something which always leads to disappointment afterwards, but the photos were grainy and the details were just not sharp once I got them onto my PC. It’s probably impossible to tell from these lo-res versions but you can see the originals here.

My camera settings were:

Camera: Canon EOS 60D
Manual mode: TV
F-stop: f/5.6
Exposure time: 1/2500 sec.
ISO speed: ISO-1600
Exposure bias: 0 step
Metering mode: Pattern
EXIF version: 0230

I was using a zoom lens which is a Sigma 28-300mm. Any suggestions for getting clearer sharper pics would be really appreciated! Thanks!

IMG_6543 IMG_6554 IMG_6614 IMG_6618 smIMG_6703


2 thoughts on “Any Helpful Photographers Out There?

  1. Steve Walker

    Hi Mary

    My suggestion would be to get a monopod to steady the camera. The all-over blurring in the original pics suggests camera shake rather than a focus problem. Also the telephoto lens will magnify even slight camera movements so the best thing to do is steady the camera as much as possible.

    ‘Panning’ the camera to follow the subject (and following through when you take the shot) is the standard trick for capturing moving subjects. If you’re using manual focus try pre-focusing on parts of the track so you don’t have to make too many adjustments when the time comes. Also, try to use as small an aperture as possible. This will maximise depth of field and give a better chance of getting the important details in focus. Wider apertures
    mean slower shutter speeds so experiment with what works best. With panning and a steady camera 1/500 sec should be fast enough for this kind of subject so try to get the apertures up to at least f8 or f11. Then you can think less about focusing and more about composing the frame.

    Hope this helps, Steve.


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