I’m a huge autofocus fan. I just don’t trust my aging eyesight. But sometimes ya just gotta use manual focus when you’re shooting youth sports photos, because it’s hard to keep a moving body clear and crisp when a stationary object is involved.
I’ve found that when I shoot pix of sports with a bar, like the high jump and pole vault, my Nikon’s focal point tends to wander. That means I often get either the bar in focus or the athlete . . . or even the fence behind the bar . . . but not the bar and the athlete. To solve the problem, I manually focus on the bar and let the athlete jump into the already-focused area.
Sidebar: Don’t know how to manually focus your digital SLR’s lens? Check your camera’s manual!
In this series of photos of Michael pole vaulting in a recent high school track meet, I set up close to the pit where I could see the athletes’ faces (depending on which way they turn when they vault). I manually focused on the bar and waited for the pole vaulters to approach the area.
Then I held down my shutter and used burst mode.
Michael was successful . . . and so was I!