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Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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November 28, 2006 10:48 PM

Snow Job

Posted by Rod Mar

Well, I asked for it, I got it.

Monday night, I got the snow I wished for when the Seahawks faced the Green Bay Packers at Qwest Field.

Really, the game was a tale of two halves.

In the first half, the snow fell and so did the hopes of Seahawks fans. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, in his first game back from injury, suffered through four turnovers and Seattle trailed at the break.

The snow stopped falling at halftime, and the Seahawks found their rhythm, eventually coming from behind to win, 34-24.

Snow wreaks havoc on autofocus. Now, I'm kinda old school (and yes, kinda old, too), and I'm not afraid to manual focus. But in a blowing snow, neither method was perfect. Obviously, my manual focusing is a little rusty, since autofocus has evolved so well that it's more competent than I am. Further, the autofocus systems are so good now that the sensor seemed to get fooled by the falling snow, despite the relatively small size of the snowflakes.

Here's two frames shot one right after another, using the motordrive which fires at eight frames per second (this is part of a larger series of a run by Shaun Alexander in the first half).

(Canon EOS 1d Mark IIn, EF 400mm lens, ISO 1000, 1/640 sec., f2.8)

The first frame (MAR10272) is very sharp and in focus. As you can see, there's nothing near the center of the frame (where the autofocus sensor is aimed), except Alexander.

(Canon EOS 1d Mark IIn, EF 400mm lens, ISO 1000, 1/640 sec., f2.8)

Here's the frame directly following (frame MAR10273). As you can see, it's clearly out-of-focus. I can only imagine that the snow is fooling the sensor, since the frame is "front-focused" — that is, the focus is in front of the subject.

(Canon EOS 1d Mark IIn, EF 400mm lens, ISO 1000, 1/640 sec., f2.8)

I'm open to interpretations, if anyone has a better idea of what happened. I do know this — in clear weather, the autofocus works perfectly in this kind of series.

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