Urban jungle girl

Urban jungle girl

8 week online workshop
lesson 1
Bye bye blur

Loving the focus and recompose method, also the autofocus lock on my camera. It was useful when tracking a busy three year old through a playground when I was truing to think about the composure of the shots. I’ve always been quite conscious of getting the focus in the right spot (I always aim between the eyes or at the one closest to the camera if it is a more side on shot) but annoyed when the AF decides it knows better than me what I want to focus on.
Image 1 – ISO 200, 130mm f/5 1/200. The left eye is a little out of focus but you only really notice that when the image is quite large, and I like the dog in the shot.
Image 2 – ISO 200, 165mm f/5 1/500 I’m still trying to get really good photos of her actually swinging but finding it very difficult, more logistically than technically, as I’m the one usually pushing her!
Image 3 – ISO 200, 102mm f/4.8 1/400 – I know it’s probably not considered a “good” shot because of the rail in the way which hides some of her face, but I really like the shot despite this and she was playing in a playground, so that’s what it shows. And I was pleased that even though her hand and the rail are closer to the camera the focus is still on her eyes.
Image 4 – ISO 200, 55mm f/4.5 1/500
Robyn – one thing about these that I don’t like is the tendency for the background to look quite bright and washed out, but it was a forty-something degree day and 11am sunshine on struggling summer grass so I found that pretty hard to compensate for.

8WL1-7 8WL1-8 8WL1-9 8WL1-10

I live in the beautiful hills of Perth with my husband and three year old daughter. I have degrees in history and law but am staying home for a few years to raise my gorgeous little girl. I love creative pursuits, be it creative play with my three year old, sewing, or my new passion - photography. I've owned a DSLR for about 6 years but have only just started to really explore it's capabilities (and mine!).


  1. Siobhan, these are lovely. You are really getting it! I like them all – even the one with where she is slightly behind the rail. You’re right she’s in a playground so that’s what you’ll get!
    Regarding the backgrounds, you probably did the best you could given the conditions. The exposure is correct on your daughter and with a lighter background that will slightly overexpose the background. Sometimes a little compromise is required – you need to decide what is MOST important (i.e. correctly exposing your daughter) and sacrifice a little in other areas (like the background). We’ll be taking a lot more in depth look at lighting in an upcoming lesson which may help. You could also do a tiny tweak in editing to bring back the background a little.
    Little tip re focus on the eyes: Don’t focus between the eyes. You’ll end up focusing on the bridge of the nose and that’s a little forward from the pupil of the eye – Focus is all about distance from the camera. At a very large aperture you might get focus on the bridge of the nose and not on the actual eye. Focus on the pupil of the eye nearest to you, and if they’re the same distance, focus on the pupil of either eye.

  2. That’s a good tip, thank you Robyn. I think the middle focus works fine for my older camera (the D60) which only has three points so focuses on a fairly wide area still. With the 11 points of the D5100 it’s a bit more tight. I’ll make sure I’m always on the eye 🙂
    Re exposure I did decide that the exposure on Heather was more important than the background so that she looked right, being the focus of the photos and all. It looks even lighter here than in the originals on my computer. I found when I stood back and tried to take photos of her swinging it was just horrid because it was so light and bright all around her. Need to find a swing set with a more agreeable background…!

  3. I love the depth of field in all the shots and how it really makes your daughter stand out. I don’t think the brightness of the grass distracts from your daughter, as she is in focus and the colours in her dress are really vibrant. She is definitely the star of the shot!!! 🙂

  4. Nice depth of field again Siobhan. And I love the catch lights in her eyes. I don’t know how with that weather you didn’t get more shiny glare off her skin!

  5. Love these. I’m especially fond of the shot with the rail slightly covering her face. Along with the others you posted, it tells a story and I like it. I love how sharp and crisp your photos are. Mine are never that sharp (but we’re currently in very low light conditions so when it brightens up this summer I’ll hopefully be better off!). Love these!

Leave a Reply