Audio Visual Focusing for Sports Photography
A lot of the methods I use when photographing anything nowadays are automatic. One of those is the audio visual focusing for sports photography (I made that name up by the way)!
When shooting sports, it is normally recommended to use AI Servo mode. The reason for that is the focussing remains silent and stays continuously on the subject focussing automatically as you go. There is no beep and no red indicator to tell you that your subject is in focus.
I sometimes use this. However, yesterday I was shooting kite surfers and on a couple of occasions the focussing strayed and fixed on the background. As a result, all of my quick fire burst of shots were blurred.
One Shot Focusing
I reverted back to One-Shot focusing and did the following;
I tracked the subject as usual by panning with the movement. Rather this time, I kept lightly pressing and releasing the shutter to refocus as I tracked. As I did so, I got the normal "beep" sound with the visual aid of the red glow of the focussing point on the surfer.
Therefore I knew that I had the subject well in focus.
When I wanted to catch the action I just pressed the shutter fully at the last beep and click-click. Every shot was perfectly focussed. In fact from then on, all the shots for the day were spot on and clear as day!
Above photos from the fabulous Tarifa Beach in Andalucía
Set your camera to continuous shooting 3, 5 or 8 frames per second (whatever your DSLR has). Give it a try if you have problems with AI Servo mode or sports/action shots in general!
...and remember to use a fast shutter speed to capture the action using audio visual focusing ; )
All the best, Nick