Santa Monica Pier and 3rd Street Promenade with a Nikon D7000

santa monica pier archThis past weekend I loaded up my Nikon D7000 and headed over to the Santa Monica Pier and 3rd Street Promenade. It was a family trip so it was the perfect time to use the program mode (P). Our first stop was the entrance to the pier with the famous Santa Monica Pier arch. Photographed by thousands of tourists each day, I decided to block traffic to the entrance 🙂 and take this quick photo to the left.

I didn’t use the AE Lock feature, I simply let the camera do it’s thing. Surprisingly the D7000 was able to properly expose the light. The sunlight was very harsh, making the sign so dark it was almost unreadable with the sun behind it. Because I had the ADR (Adaptive D-Lighting) set to “Auto”, it properly exposed the darker areas of the image.

The only editing done to the image was to crop it (had more people on the right side) and save it for web viewing, which reduces the size of the file so it’s easier for you to download. Other than this, the image shown is exactly how the camera focused with it’s 39 focal points and 2,016 pixel RGB 3D Matrix Metering System. Not bad for a “snapshot”, however, we’ll see next how this all “program” mode doesn’t always work.

Jamie Lee Curtis taken with a Nikon D7000
Jamie Lee Curtis taken with a Nikon D7000

After the pier, we walked a few blocks to the 3rd Street Promenade, it’s basically an outdoor shopping center where on occasion one might run into a famous movie star. Today turned out to be one of them. In the center of the street was a large crew of camera’s and people gathering around a stage. The filming of some cooking show was going on and I quickly noticed Jamie Lee Curtis on the other side. She was surrounded by people, and I had a Nikon 18-70mm 3.5 attached to my D7000, so the wider angle made the 39 focal points on the D7000 go crazy with the people in the foreground and background. Because I had it on Continuous Focusing mode, every minor movement of my hand or people made the D7000 constantly refocus.

There are several ways to correct this, for me I quickly pressed the AF button with my left hand and turning the knob with my right hand to change from 39 to 9 focal points. This instantly made Jamie Lee Curtis my focal point. Sure I could have done this by selecting one of the points with my right hand to focus on her, but for me I still like it the old way.

Jamie lee curtis up close
Crop of larger image

By making this quick change I was able to get her in focus and shoot through the people in the foreground. Oh and you’re probably wondering how I got her to look at me from so far away? I little luck and a very loud yell! 😉

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