Roger Hazard and Chris Stout-Hazard
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Grey House: Renovating a 160-year old Victorian.

Recalibrating Focus

By Chris Stout-Hazard

After doing a goat photo shoot (goatoshoot?) that involved chasing a tiny baby goat around the village and taking somewhere in the range of 600 exposures, I discovered that my camera's autofocus system was out-of-whack. How out-of-whack? Instead of focusing on baby goat face as I'd intended, my camera was focusing on baby goat butt.

Goat

Which, don't get me wrong, is still adorable. But not where I was aiming.

I'll spare you the nerdery about how my camera's phase detection focus system works (this is the sort of thing I prattle on about when Roger's unable to get to sleep; it's like Super NyQuil) and just say that little light beams zoom through the lens and get matched up by a little gizmo, which tells the camera when everything is in focus. Except my camera's little gizmo was saying faces were in focus when, in fact, butts were in focus. And that is why I had to throw away 90% of my goat photos.

Urp.

The next day, I was committed to taking food photos at a special dinner hosted by 204 Main Bar & Bistro. Rather than capturing dozens of images of blurry braciole, I decided to diagnose and treat this focus issue first. (Or throw the lens in the trash can. I seriously considered doing that.)

I had initially been convinced that I was at fault. Was I using the incorrect settings? Were my hands too shaky? But I eventually came to the conclusion that the flaw wasn't in my method. I read up on recalibrating the focus settings for my camera, and used a special chart to test and correct my lens' eyesight.

Boom. It worked. Beautiful food photos in perfect focus.

Food

After this experience, it occurred to me that many areas of my life can benefit from recalibrated focus. The plans for our home, our business, our lives continue to evolve. The picture can become quite blurry, but sometimes that blurriness is caused by focusing - fixating - on the wrong things.

For example, we spent months struggling over the layout for our kitchen. No matter how we planned it, we always felt like we were trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle that was short a few pieces. Then, we had the sudden realization that our problem wasn't with how we were trying to solve the puzzle, but that we were trying to solve the wrong puzzle. We were trying to squeeze a kitchen into a room that would never accommodate it. We looked to a different room, and the picture became instantly clear.

The next time you get stuck trying to solve a problem, try asking yourself if you're solving the right problem. Go up one level. Whether it's in regards to home design, your business, or your relationships, take a moment to consider whether the specific issues you're struggling with are the ones you truly need to address.

Trust me. I'm speaking from experience. I had to sort through 600 blurry goat photos.

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Chris Stout-Hazard
Chris Stout-Hazard · Founder · Roger + Chris · Sharon Springs, NY
Chris Stout-Hazard leads product design and development for Roger + Chris and co-stars with Roger in Roger That. MORE ABOUT Chris Stout-Hazard

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