Follow the Eyes

An American bittern with its mouth wide open

One thing I’ve long wanted in a camera is the ability for the focus to lock onto and track the eye of an animal I’m photographing. It would have come in handy here, I was testing out my Canon mirrorless camera to see how limiting its poor autofocus would be if used as a backup in case my main camera failed. I had been watching this bittern that had been mostly sitting still, with some occasional preening, when it suddenly threw its mouth wide open and shook its head about. While the camera had focused fine on the bird while it was sitting still, by the time this shot was taken the bittern had already moved far enough that it isn’t in good focus.

The technology is moving in this direction for photographing people at least, but I fear it will be a while yet before we can do it with moving animals. While my main camera would have handled this situation much better, it still requires thinking about it’s many autofocus modes, and I’d love to spend less time thinking about the technical side of photography and instead just enjoy the animals I’m watching.

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