|Entrance Gate, Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia|
|Fast shutter speed (1/125 sec.)|
|Slow shutter speed (1/8 sec.)|
The fact is that auto-focus cameras tend to focus on contrasty things, rather than the position of a particular subject. To trick the camera (or perhaps, behave the way you want it to), you can either switch to manual focus and adjust accordingly, or choose one of your camera’s pre-focused “Scene” modes. In the example of shooting out the dirty window at a distant subject, you could choose the camera's "landscape" mode (usually indicated by a small icon of a mountain range). Your choice may not be perfect, but you need to make some compensation to override the camera’s auto-focus system. This is precisely what I did not do during the snow squall.
It was not until I was reviewing my images on the computer that I realized the focus was off in the falling snow shots. My intent was to focus on the angel statue (in the two images above). What I didn’t realize at the time was that the falling snow would throw off the camera’s auto-focus. Now this seemingly trivial bit of information can be crucial if you find yourself in a similar situation. Therefore I selflessly share with it with you, my fellow Cemetery Travelers. So take it and may it serve you well.
So why does the falling snow throw your auto-focus into a tizzy? The same way the dirty glass window does. When I pointed my camera lens at the angel statue and expected the focusing system to lock onto it (through the open window of my car), there was a wall of falling snow between it and my camera. I’ll estimate the statue was thirty yards away. That means there was a thirty-yard-thick wall of randomly falling snow between the statue and my camera. Let’s call it an infinite number of potential focusing points. The fact that I got anything worthwhile is simply astounding.
|Amtrak train zipping by Woodlands Cemetery|
If you choose to visit:
Woodlands Cemetery website