Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Getting (even) more out of Focus :-)

Anyone looking back and reading this post in future years, or anyone’s post created in the first half of 2020, needs to be reminded that most of the planet was in ‘lock down’ for months, thanks to COVID-19.

Of course, in the greater scheme of things, the COVID-19 story is ‘just’ another footnote in the Earth’s history. We will prevail, and many of us hope the COVID-19 lessons will be used by those who try and govern us, to make a better world: only time will tell.

One positive that has come out of the COVID-19 times, if you forgive me saying that, is the time that has been created, albeit restricted within our homes, to reflect and reenergise ourselves, without the ‘distractions’ of our ‘normal’ lives.

For me, I have taken the opportunity to create a two-part ‘photography class’ on non-macro focusing, that I gave to my Camera Club in two webinars.

I titled the classes ‘Getting (even) more our of Focus :-)” and their purpose was to help dispel a few myths about focusing and introduce a few (science-based) ‘rules of thumb’ to help photographers with their focusing, eg the ‘the Rule of Ten (RoT)’ to calculate the hyperfocal in your head and ‘the Odds & Evens Rule’ to assist your manual focus bracketing.

The classes were recorded, but only club members can access these recordings. However, when I created the classes, I had it in my mind to provide a (free) learning resource for all, hence I made use of the Desmos environment to create two standalone, web-accessible e-classes.

Desmos is well known to school maths, science and engineering teachers. It is rich in functionality, especially when it comes to graphing.

The first class, ‘Getting more out of Focus’, includes a focus simulator that allows the ‘student’ to explore the blur field created by the lens defocus and the aperture diffraction, as well as exploring focus bracketing. It also introduces: the ‘Rule of Ten’; the odds part of hyperfocal bracketing for focus bracketing; and how to control infinity focusing. All in your head, without any apps or look up tables.

The second class, ‘Getting even more out of Focus :-)’, introduced a refinement to the first class and consolidated the RoT and infinity focusing, and used the evens part of the Odss & Evens Rule. It also provides a Tilt & Shift simulator to allow the student to explore and practice using the ultimate focus control lens, the Tilt/Shift lens. Finally, it demonstrated how to post process focus brackets using various tools (but this is only accessible to my photography club’s members).

Although the class mentions Magic Lantern, and discusses how Lua scripts can help in focusing, the two classes are not Canon specific.

The classes are free to access and can be found via the following two links:

Class 1:

Class 2:

To access the classes simply use the links above and enter your name (real or not).

I hope you get some value out of the above. Creating these classes greatly helped me get through the COVID-19 crisis. As usual I welcome feedback: either here or via the feedback pages in the classes.

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