Photography Comedy (Or How the Metric System Screwed Me Over)

This one made me laugh pretty hard when I realized what happened.

So today I took my camera out after work and decided to try out the zone focusing technique I had read about. It’s apparently a technique that some street photographers use to take nicely focused pictures on the fly and so I decided to see what it was like in practice*.

I set my pre-focused distance to on my camera to 10 feet at f/16. But despite this, for some reason my pictures seemed to be out of my acceptable range of focused-ness. I attributed this to low-light in the supermarket but I was still scratching my head a bit until I got home.

I tried to explain to my wife the concept of zone focusing as I was relating to her my frustrations with my pictures and fear of shooting pics of strangers (a whole different post). As I was having trouble focusing on things using the DOF scale on the camera, it dawned on me: my camera’s DOF scale was set for the metric system and rather than using a pre-focused distance of 10 feet, it was more around 30 feet. Whoops. The low light probably was the worst part but still…

And there you have it. This was one of the more salvageable pictures from that bunch…

*For those of you who don’t know what zone focusing is, I will give a brief and terrible explanation and then I suggest reading more into it with the help of Google if it sounds interesting. Put simply, zone focusing takes advantage of the large depth of field provided by using a narrow aperture (higher f-number). By pre-focusing your camera to a certain distance while using manual focus, you can have acceptably focused items within a certain range because of the large depth of field. This allows you to take pictures quickly without focusing on a certain point with AF while still having everything in that range be acceptably in-focus.


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