Coping with Special Situations

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A few subjects and shooting situations pose some additional challenges not already covered in earlier sections. So to wrap up this chapter, here's a quick list of ideas for tackling a variety of common "tough-shot" photos:

1 Shooting through glass: To capture subjects that are behind glass, try putting your lens flat against the glass. Then switch to manual focusing; the glass barrier can give the autofocus mechanism fits. Disable your flash to avoid creating any unwanted reflections, too. I used this technique to capture the image of the turtle sticking his neck out in Figure 7-15.

Figure 7-15: To shoot through glass, place your lens flat against the glass.

1 Shooting out a car window: Set the camera to shutter-priority autoexposure or manual mode and dial in a fast shutter speed to compensate for the movement of the car. Oh, and keep a tight grip on your camera.

1 Shooting in strong backlighting: When the light behind your subject is very strong and the lighting the subject with flash isn't an option, you have two choices: You can either expose the image with the subject in mind, in which case the background will be overexposed, or you can expose for the background, leaving the subject too dark. By taking the latter route and purposely underexposing the subject, you can create some nice silhouette effects. (In computerland, this is what we call "turning a bug into a feature.") I opted for this technique when capturing the image in Figure 7-16, which shows a young friend standing mesmerized in front of an aquarium. For indoor silhouettes like the one in the figure, disable your flash.

1 Shooting fireworks: First off, use a tripod; fireworks require a long exposure, and trying to handhold your camera simply isn't going to work. If using a zoom lens, zoom out to the shortest focal length. Switch to manual focusing and set focus at infinity (the farthest focus point possible on your lens). Set the exposure mode to manual, choose a relatively high f-stop setting — say, f/16 or so — and start a shutter speed of 1 to 3 seconds. From there, it's simply a matter of experimenting with different shutter speeds.

Be especially gentle when you press the shutter button — with a very slow shutter, you can easily create enough camera movement to blur the image. If you purchased the accessory remote control for your camera, this is a good situation in which to use it.

You also may want to enable your camera's noise-reduction feature because a long exposure also increases the chances of noise defects. See Chapter 5 for details. (Keep the ISO setting low to further dampen noise.)

Figure 7-16: Experiment with shooting backlit subjects in silhouette.

i Shooting reflective surfaces: In outdoor shots taken in bright sun, you can reduce glare from reflective surfaces such as glass and metal by using a circular polarizing filter, which you can buy for about $60. A polarizing filter can also help out when you're shooting through glass.

But know that in order for the filter to work, the sun, your subject, and your camera lens must be precisely positioned. Your lens must be at a certain angle from the sun, for example, and the light source must also reflect off the surface at a certain angle and direction. In addition, a polarizing filter also intensifies blue skies in some scenarios, which may or may not be to your liking. In other words, a polarizing filter isn't a surefire cure-all.

A more reliable option for shooting small reflective objects is to invest in a light cube or light tent such as the ones shown in Figure 7-17, from Cloud Dome ( and Lastolite (, respectively. You place the reflective object inside the tent or cube and then position your lights around the outside. The cube or ten acts as a light diffuser, reducing reflections. Prices range from about $50 to $200, depending on size and features.

Cloud Dome, Inc. Lastolite Limited

Figure 7-17: Investing in a light cube or tent makes photographing reflective objects much easier.

Cloud Dome, Inc. Lastolite Limited

Figure 7-17: Investing in a light cube or tent makes photographing reflective objects much easier.

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Reasonable care has been taken to ensure that the information presented in this book is  accurate. However, the reader should understand that the information provided does not constitute legal, medical or professional advice of any kind.

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  • Michelangelo
    How set digital canon camera 400D against sun reflection?
    4 years ago

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