A Spider Observing Tip

You’re not talking about webs, but I answered comment about webs.
You can always focus on hand or stick and quickly move camera, more often than not focus stays where it was if you’re doing it fast. You can focus on window frame too.

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If it does that then it’s not been locked.

I’ve never had that happen in all my years using smart phone.

I just tested it again right now and the “AE/AF LOCK” message is displayed at the top of the screen and the focus and exposure remains locked at what it was set to no matter where I later point the phone at.

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Usually, dragonflies are in bright light. That makes it a little bit easier. I have also recently tried using a monopod. It’s lightweight and does help the camera focus a little bit better. The best solution would be to get a nice (expensive) camera. But, that’s not in the cards right now for me. Still, I always look forward to going out hiking in the local parks to find things with what I have.

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If you can, that usually helps…Sometimes that isn’t possible unless you disturb the web, which will usually send your subject scurrying.

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And yet, as the OP has repeatedly stated, the camera itself says that it is locked.

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If it is refocusing then there are two options:

A) the camera is not locked
B) the camera is locked but they are holding it at a different distance than what they locked the focus into and think that the camera is refocusing as a result

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It is a problem - and not only for spiders in webs. The solution is manual focus - and if your camera has the option to use “focus peaking” that’s your friend. You will get very sharp pictures of the features you want.

I think you should, for the moment, forget about focus locking on a separate object; it’s always unreliable unless you are very adept, fast and intimate with the camera’s software.

I cannot believe that an iPhone 13 Pro does not have a ‘Pro’ or manual focus camera mode - use it and use your eyes; a modern smartphone screen is easily good enough to see if a chosen subject is in focus, macro or not.

I’m an Android user myself (OnePlus phone) and do get very frustrated by the otherwise very good camera’s auto, self-selecting focus. This is a result of software designers believing that users cannot now be bothered to ‘own’ their image capture when all they want is to snap their friends at a beach party. This is not what iNatters need. But taking control is not difficult - I grew up with 35mm film and a camera that didn’t auto anything!

So, forget the fancy settings, select manual mode and look closely. You’re lucky you don’t have to worry about exposure (caveat: sometimes you do have to worry). Einstein, the great and only Einstein, advised “make things simple, but no simpler”.

Think about it!

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If it does, I have not found it. My iPhone 13 Pro has terrible focusing ability IMO, and I’ve had iPhones for more than 10 years. I think it is worse than my iPhone 7. Features that used to work, no longer work (e.g., tapping the screen to focus on a specific area). Sometimes, rebooting will help with the focus for a while.

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It’s taken a lot of practice to dial in focus with my iPhone 11. My go-to method is regular camera mode with 2x zoom and lots tapping on the screen and adjusting focus distance. In my experience, using “live photos” makes up for the trouble by providing “freeze frame” pictures like this

Spiders in webs are by far the hardest. One time I was able to pair of binoculars with my iPhone to capture this one hanging over a trail

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Yes,i had an iPhone 11-, which also works that way. But my13 isn’t as good with it. Focusing on a tap takes a long time, then it switched lenses!

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Has anyone else had an issue with spiders gyrating on their webs if you get too close? I had this happen in this observation: Silver Garden Orbweaver (Argiope argentata). I ended up taking multiple shots and only keeping the best ones.

I had this (check the last file) https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/84502071

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Oh wow! I didn’t know you could include short videos by storing it as a gif!

Golden-silk spider!

I used to use live to capture frames of moving insects, but it does not make the individual frames available on the iPhone 13 pro. I have resorted to bursts.

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