For our sixth DSLR Photography Lesson I met Pam at the usual spot in downtown St. Petersburg, each of us with DSLR, tripod and cable release in tow for practicing twilight and night photography. I finally was able to figure out how to unlock the focus point in her Canon 60D viewfinder without having to go inconviently into the menus to do so. Pam said, "I just learned something new." She then said how her mother told her that if she learns at least one new thing each lesson, then it's worth it. I thought to myself, "hmm, $75 to learn how to move the focus point!" Of course though we did practice and hopefully learn a lot more over the course of the 2-hour lesson.
Being able to easily move the single focus point throughtout the frame in the viewfinder is especially useful when working with a tripod. Once you frame the shot how you want it, the best place to set the focus may not be the dead center. So instead of having to set the focus and recompose again, just being able to direct the focus point to the ideal location for a given shot in the viewfinder is a huge advantage. Deep in the settings menus of her Canon 60D we found the ability to unlock the focus points. Many other cameras have a dedicated button on the back to lock or unlock the focus point. Check your manual if it is not intuitive for how to move your focus point with the D-pad on the back of your DSLR.
For once Pam and I also did not have to dodge any passing thunderstorms and The Pier was surprisingly free of people for a Thursday night. We photographed in peace from dusk to nightfall using manual mode to get the exact exposure we wanted. One time, to Pam's delight, several cars drove down the causeway to The Pier allowing her to get light streaks in her long exposure shot.
For our seventh lesson, we will return to using our 50mm f/1.8 lenses starting out in a bakery Pam has raved about. Hopefully they will have some free samples!