Todays Lesson – Fisheye Focus Techniques

You should be following Russel Ord on Instagram, if you already are you will have seen this image of Mark Matthews at The Right already:

Hopefully embedding this is OK, just go to Russel Ord’s site to see plenty more photo’s from this spot and many other mental slabs.

Just look at that image for a few seconds and try and imagine being in the position to take that photograph.

As you can read in his caption, the focus is out on this shot because he knocked the housing on his knee which bumped the focus out a little bit, now you’re never going to be in as heavy a situation as this, I can say that with certainty because he’s the only person swimming around shooting fisheye in the impact zone at probably the heaviest ridable wave yet discovered.

It’s a completely bonkers angle of a ridiculous wave, and it would have no doubt graced a cover or two had it been in focus.

The way to make sure this doesn’t happen to you when shooting your local two foot shorebreak is to tape up your focus, as I’ve mentioned before the only time I use autofocus with my fisheye is when I’m going to be shooting above water and underwater photo’s in the same session, which is pretty rare for the UK.

I used to use masking tape, to prevent leaving any residue on the focus ring, but since I miss placed my roll I now use whatever’s handy, which is usually a small strip of duct tape.

I don’t tend to keep the blurry shots I take (there are a few still from the autofocus days), but here’s an example of one that would have been quite fun if the focus hadn’t been way off.

You can actually see the two grains of sand that the Tokina was focusing on, I had no idea until I got out after this session. ISO 100, 10mm, f5, 1/1000 autofocus
You can actually see the two grains of sand that the Tokina was focusing on, I had no idea until I got out after this session. ISO 100, 10mm, f5, 1/1000 autofocus

If I’m just shooting above water I set the focus on my Tokina 10-17mm fisheye to just inside infiniti (or a bit closer if I’m shooting with a flash) and then tape it in place.

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