I have CANON EOS-600D DSLR. few days before I was on my terrace to capture some sunset scenes. When I was returning It was almost dark but I saw a bat flown to nearby tree and hung itself there. I started taking its pictures with flash on but was not able to adjust the 55-250mm lens properly. Later by seeing the previous images I did some trial and error and successfully clicked the pictures. But is there any faster way to do the same? I am a beginner and trying to learn of my own.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What exactely do you mean by "adjusting the lens"? Zoom, focus, aperture? \$\endgroup\$
    – Cornelius
    Jul 9, 2014 at 11:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ or photo.stackexchange.com/questions/9031/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 9, 2014 at 11:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark i think I am asking about Wild life.. not landscape.. \$\endgroup\$
    – captainsac
    Jul 9, 2014 at 11:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ If the bat is just hanging in the tree, then it's pretty much like a landscape scene in that you have a (reasonable) amount of time to focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Jul 9, 2014 at 11:52

2 Answers 2


I assume by not being able to adjust the lens properly you probably mean focusing. In case your cameras auto-focus is not able to focus correctly in the dark your best bet would be to flick to manual focus and by trial error get the right focus.

A good way to easily get the correct manual focus is by using live view (this can be tricky in dark as you might just get a completely dark screen).

To get some more ideas you can read these articles:


General: I assume the problem is focus and not camera shake given the flash should freeze motion pretty well.

Without sufficient light and contrast your camera will not autofocus. Most flash units will have a focus assist that draws bright red lines on the subject, allowing for a contrast the camera can focus on. This will only work when your Canon camera is in one shot focus mode (do not confuse with the drive mode). If in AI Servo mode, the flash focus assist will not work. The flash focus also has a limited range -check the flash manual. to set focus modes you'll need to be in a "creative" mode such as Av, Tv, or M. (Not the green rectangle mode)

Is the camera in one of the creative modes? Such as Av, Tv, or M? You'll need to use one of those modes so you can set the camera to use one focal point. Center point is best. You'll see the focal point as a red rectangle when you autofocus. What your manual may not tell you is the camera is actually focusing on an area at least twice as wide as the rectangle you see. If it finds something more contrasty in the back ground -even outside the red box but close, it will choose the higher contrast object for focus. Select center point focus and be aware of other higher contrast light just outside the focus rectangle.

In very low light, you may just have to use manual focus. Some more expense lenses have distance scales so you can focus by approximate distance, but I hate answers that tell you to buy different stuff. Your eye can focus better at lower light than the camera can. Look for anything on or near the bat with a glare or shine and adjust focus until that glare or shine is minimized. Otherwise look for a line that you can judge is sharper or not.

A final option is to cheat. Get a friend or a light source you can aim and leave in place to provide extra light for focus. The flash will overpower it, so it won't show much in your final image. Otherwise, autofocus with the camera on a tripod while the light source is on, them turn off autofocus and the light source before taking your shot. In this case you could even forego the flash, set for ISO 125 and take a long exposure -assuming the bat and the tree aren't moving. You may find the natural light is more interesting. -Or cheat and set a light source at an interesting angle on the bat! (I once used truck headlights to illuminate a news photograph of a police armored vehicle on a dark country road.)

Summary: Av or M mode, one shot focus or manual focus, center point focus, look for contrast or lines to focus on, add light even if only during focusing.

I love night photography without flash. Lots of interesting light. Good luck.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I was with Av Mode and manual focus. autofocus was not set \$\endgroup\$
    – captainsac
    Jul 9, 2014 at 12:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for "...area at least twice as wide as the rectangle you see." Sometimes much more than twice! photo.stackexchange.com/a/43813/15871 \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Jul 10, 2014 at 1:25

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