In my safari photographic technique blog in Dec 2012 I noted a few personal learning needs about autofocus:

  • What “autofocus area mode”? – I am using single-point AF
  • What “autofocus mode”? – I am using AF-A
  • What “AF-C priority selection” – I am using “Focus” on D7000 and “Release + Focus” on D800
  • Which is the best wildlife lens?

What I didn’t comment about was my book publication attempts – I have now created two books, Safari Journal and The Himba Trail using Lightroom 4.3 and Blurb. The good things are that they are great quality and they really engage people ( unlike a slideshow ); the downside is that textually and story-wise I have been personally disappointed in both the software and my ability. In addition the LR upload to Blurb timeouts all the time meaning it can take days to upload a large book in several attempts – if you upload the same book as a print ready PDF it takes 15 minutes. I am also at that stage where I would like a community of practice so I can develop further … I will save you the long story … I talked to Eddie Ephraums (great bloke) and enrolled on a week workshop session with him Joe Cornish and Paul Sanders entitled “Bigger Picture Portfolio & Book Project Workshop

Well Eddie is great at capturing your learning needs and at the end of the conversation he said anything else … I laughed and said well it was bit out of court but I had a wildlife issue with autofocus. Eddie said immediately I had to meet Andy Rouse and why didn’t I go down to the Outdoor Show where he was talking next week. So I have and I’m on the train home!

Not only did I meet Andy Rouse who is a fun larger than life and very personable bloke he is exceedingly knowledgeable … but I was also really lucky to also meet and listened to Florian Schulz (see his “Chasing the Light” and his new book “To the Artic” from Amazon).

So the answers to my learning needs are [Updated on 01/08/2013 see blog] …

  • What “autofocus area mode”? – I am using single-point AF [CORRECT - except birds in flight with no confusing background let the camera use its abilities)
  • What “autofocus mode”? – I am using AF-A [INCORRECT – always use AF-C – Florian uses nothing else]
  • What “AF-C priority selection” – I am using “Focus” on D7000 and “Release + Focus” on D800 [CORRECT]
  • Which is the best wildlife lens? – There is no strict answer to this it depends; however both Andy and Florian use 200-400mm f/4 lens for 80-90% of images as they are sharp, fast, lighter than the primes and you can reframe.

Another thing I learned was that Andy and Steve both pushed was have a project that you can keep coming back to – there is no better way to really see the potential images and learn.

Final note I have to thank Steve Watkins, Editor Outdoor Photography for organising such a great lineup (the other guys where great but not the focus of this blog – Pete Webb and Tim Allen). Steve was also a great listener and was really helpful.

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