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If you mess with computers, you’re sure to face problems with bugs. Not the creepy-crawly type, but the digital type.
Anything to do with computers — digital cameras, software, hardware, the Web, etc — is beset by bugs. Bugs that create artifacts in digital pictures, delete data, rewrite it; bugs that mess with our digital life.
But, in digital imaging, arguably the biggest and most annoying bugs that besets our efforts to bring home the winning picture are often those you create yourself. Often they’re sitting inside your camera, ready to pounce. And these you can fix yourself.
Fault: Blurred Images
The scene: you take that once-in-a-lifetime shot of your son scoring a goal in soccer. It looks OK on the LCD but when you get it home it’s blurred.
Was it camera blurr caused by your own handshake? The message is that if you’re shooting action, the less that moves the better — on the camera side.
Let action be the prime movement.
Hold the camera steady; firmly tuck your arms into your sides. Set yourself and camera as close to the action as possible: if you use the zoom at the tele end you’ll need to get your act together. If you choose to use a long focal length, use as fast a shutter speed as possible; to help with this, select a higher ISO — to about 400 or higher should still give you a printable result.
Use the camera’s burst or continuous mode to shoot a run of images, so you get at least one shot that is sharp. Many cameras have an auto focus mode that tracks and focuses the moving subject as you shoot. If the subject is distant, lock the focus on infinity.
Many cameras have modes that will maximize highlights and shadows. These can deliver a far better printed result with an optimum rendering of highlights and shadows.
Some cameras even have a mode that can fix these after exposure and save the picture as a separate file. You can also fix the problem later in an image editing program.
If you shoot a person against a bright background — sky, beach, snow — adjust the exposure over-ride to prevent the system from exposing for the bright background; an extra f stop will do it. The sky background will then burn out but the more important subject will be correctly exposed.
Another and far easier option is to use one of the scene modes that many cameras supply: choose beach, snow or similar.