A proper focus lock anyone?

As I was about to go to sleep yesterday I noticed that the moon was in a perfect position again. On the previous full moon, Eneli, Teele, Avra and I have been fooling around, balancing light from our strobes, LEDs and the moon over the waterfall between Vathes reservoirs.

vathes waterfall

With the wind blowing hard from the south I figured it was a perfect night to explore the reservoirs again. Walking down the road I had an image already made in my head. I was all set on trying to re-create something like this on the lower reservoir:

vathes reservoir

But, as is usually the case, the image in my mind and the reality were light years apart. I did actually try to accomplish something from a similar position but for the photos to work I’d need the moon from the north, not the south.
Abandoning the first idea my thoughts and legs carried me over to the waterfall. Maybe I’d get something out of it… I didn’t. I walked straight past. There’s hardly any water flowing over it and I never even bothered to take the camera out of the bag.
At the top of the waterfall though, was a sight I sincerely wish I could see more often. The moonlight bouncing off waves, though much smaller than I anticipated given the wind, was just perfect.

upper vathes reservoir
30s, F7.1, ISO100

I took several wide angle shots, some with the moon in the frame, some without, but none had any real magic to them. Then I changed tactic and went for a much tighter framing. I noticed a rock, one I’ve never seen before, in the middle of the lake and somehow it all felt just right.
Since I don’t have a tripod, not that it would do me much good in that wind, I had to use other type of support for the long exposure (could use another 10s or so as I noticed this morning) and there were plenty of rocks around to provide the service.

But the problem with the rocks is that it’s a bitch to get the camera anywhere near straight and pointing in the right direction at the same time. Much more so with a telephoto lens. But there one more problem as I was about to discover. I did manage to get the camera straight and pointing in the right direction. There was a slight depression just the perfect shape to hold the lens in place. But every time I moved it slightly to re-frame, zoom in or out or whatever, I also managed to turn the focusing ring just the slightest amount. With a telephoto lens and a relatively wide aperture any focusing error becomes a serious error.
In those moments of careful positioning I was cursing the lens designers and engineers that enabled full time manual focusing and forgot to add a switch to lock the focus in place. I know nobody ever needs it (apart from myself as is the norm) and I can’t imagine another situation where it might come in handy. But I sure would kill to have it last night…

UPDATE, May 22nd
This is more along the lines of what I tried to achieve the night before… there was less wind and the moon wasn’t as high, thus less bright, hence the much longer exposure to achieve the milky/smoky look of the water surface.

upper vathes reservoir
133s, F7.1, ISO100

2 Comments so far

  1. Nana @ May 26th, 2008

    We have faced this problem with Eleni in Ikaria, winter 2006. That’s in her blog somewhere where she writes how hard she (we) struggled to shoot angry see scapes. What you need is someone to hold you from your belt or from a rope while you are trying to get the right angle. I’d better be two people one on each side. There is no focus lock switch, but you can easily lock the position of your body.

    AMAZING PHOTOS!!! Is there a way so that you add comments under each of them inside gallery?

  2. Jernej @ May 27th, 2008

    Handheld at 2 minutes? That’s something even I don’t attempt :)

    I can add comments but there are other problems that go with this options I don’t have a particular wish to tackle just now. Eventually I’ll have to switch to another gallery system altogether (this one is far too limited for a larger number of photos) but untill then I’ll keep it as it is.

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