Missing the Shot

This shot was SO close to being exactly what I wanted… but I missed the focus:


It’s driving me nuts. So close!! No staging, E had just run off in front of me in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building. The scene was perfect.

The moment the shutter released, I knew the focus was off–I saw it move in the viewfinder the millisecond before it clicked. Since it wasn’t staged, and/or since E’s two, I couldn’t for the life of me get my subject to comply for redo.

What went wrong? I had the camera on AF-C, or continuous-servo auto focus, in which the camera continues to adjust focus on a moving subject once you hold the shutter-release button halfway down. But, my subject wasn’t moving, and when I reframed, the camera “got confused” and refocused on the back wall. ARGH.

AF-C is awesome for moving kids, but in this case, I could have nailed it if I’d been in AF-S, single-servo auto focus. Sadly, I couldn’t remember in that moment how to change it, because it’s one of Nikon cameras’ least intuitive features (for curious Nikon DSLR-ers: you hold down the AF-M button on the front of the camera, then turn the back dial to change the AF mode).

Photography, like parenthood, requires so much patience

Other than kicking myself about that shot, I loved my Friday morning gallery date with E. After four days of libraries and playgrounds and Gymboree, I needed to be a bit selfish to maintain my parental sanity. The NGA is such an easy destination on a weekday morning. Lots o’ parking at 10 am. It’s free = no obligation to stay if things go horribly. I love art, Ellie loves escalators, so we both win.

To keep us both happy, we spent the morning trading choices and compromising. I know it sounds crazy, but even at 23 months old, it helps to let E have ownership of our activities. I chose the destination, the time, and her clothes (she’ll go through her drawers and pick pink on pink on pink). Once there, I let her choose where we wandered, what we bought for a snack, and how long we stayed. I wanted to browse the Impressionist galleries before some upcoming photo sessions, but E greatly disliked the West Building. She would point out the doggies and babies and boats with me, but refused to be set down and cried every time I stopped moving. So we moved on. I won her over again with the waterfall downstairs…


…and then she loved the East Building’s stairs and spacious freedom. She was determined to walk up all the stairs, and did several loops on the upper escalators (despite there being nothing to see up there–the East wing galleries are closed for renovations).

And of course, the concourse moving walkway was THE biggest hit. The last shot is post-throw down in the echoing atrium (like I said, parenting requires patience… and apologies to the security guards), but we moved on, and hopefully we’ll be back for a redo. 20160114-KHG-247220160115-KHG-248120160115-KHG-248520160115-KHG-2486


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