How to Fish :: Misc Guides :: Photography ::

Point and Shoot - When in doubt, use AUTO!

All digital cameras today comes with an automatic mode which enables user to operate a camera without understanding about light and optics control. It really is a useful mode no matter how many photographers advise you against using it. Auto mode is simply a program that decides all the settings in the camera in order to produce a sharpest image possible.

The drawback of auto mode is that it cannot successfully decide the best setting for every scene it encounters. Ths is where manual controls become useful but it requires the photographer to understand a little more about the nature of light and how a camera works.

So if you don't intend to learn more about the camera, it's perfectly fine sticking with auto mode.

Holding the camera

Holding the camera right is essential to getting clear and sharp pictures. A comfortable and steady grip on the camera can minimize handshake that may ruin a picture. There are typically two types of camera shapes; one is the SLR-like which has a big body and the other is compact form like a slim rectangular box.

For SLR-like cameras, there are typically two ways to hold it depending whether you are using the viewfinder or LCD to preview the shot. If you are using viewfinder, place the on your left palm and grip the lens barrel with your left thumb and index(and middle) finger. Using your right hand, grip the camera body on its right, placing your right index finger on the shutter release button and your thumb resting comfortably behind the camera. Hold the camera firmly and arms close to your body with rear of camera touching nose for additional stability.

If you are using LCD screen to shoot (whether for SLR or compact cameras), support the camera at its bottom using your left thumb and left index and/or middle finger on the top of the camera. Your right index finger should be positioned at the shutter button while the right thumb is resting behind the camera. Extend your arms out with elbows bent at about 90 degrees angle or at your own comfortable angle.

How to take a picture

Here's some general steps in taking a photograph using a digital camera:

  1. Turn on the power button and the camera's lcd screen will usually lit up with some text or preview of the scene to be taken.

  2. Switch to the shooting mode you want to use. If you're not sure, choose Auto. It may be turned on by a physical button/dial or navigating through the menu on screen.

  3. To take a picture, aim the subject(person, fish, etc) you want to shoot at the centre of the screen and half-press the shutter button to focus on it.

  4. Compose the picture while still holding down the shutter button half-press. That is to say you can shift the camera slightly(up/down/left/right) so as that the overall composition looks nice.

  5. Just before you press the final button, take a deep breath and hold it so your breathing won't attribute to any shake.

  6. Now press the shutter button* all the way down to capture the scene. The image will then be stored in side the camera's memory card. It is important that you keep the camera as steady as possible when when you fully press the shutter button. It can blur the image if the camera shakes during this moment of capture.

    * : Just before pressing the shutter button, you should hold your breath until after the picture is taken. The motion of pressing the shutter button should be gradual(not forceful).

    (Note: If your camera has a 'face detection' feature, you may not need to prefocus on the face and recompose. )



Some Tips/Precaution when taking pictures

Where's some short tips that you may find it useful when taking pictures during your fishing trip.

  • When in doubt or clueless, use AUTO mode. Auto mode puts getting a picture sharp in priority over anything else.
  • In low light situations or for any reason you can't hold the camera too steady, we can use the surrounding as additional support like leaning against a beam, wall or tree while helps stabilize yourself and the camera. If there's nothing around to lean against, you may want squat down and let your elbows rest on your knees for support.
  • If you are taking an important shot or aren't sure whether a shot will turn out sharp, shoot it several times in 'continuous shooting mode'. Chances are you're going to get a least one decent picture.
  • Bring a mini tripod so you can take a group photo with you in it too.
  • Charge your camera fully before a fishing trip or bring an extra set of batteries if it is a long trip.
  • Don't get too close when photographing a live fish, it might flip and hit your camera lens.
  • If you're taking picture of a fish with shiny body surface like Diamond Trevally for example, you should adjust the exposure compensation to -1/3 to -2/3 stops. (ie. make the overall photo slightly darker). This will bring prevent details on the body of the fish from 'washing out'.
  • If you're photographing a subject with very bright background, use flash. Otherwise, the subject may turn out dark.


Video functions

Most digital cameras today have video recording functions. It saves one the hassle to bring along an additional camcorder to take some short clips of the exciting fishing scenes. The video capability on a digital camera is usually not comparable to that of true camcorders but they're decent for viewing on computers and TV.

To take a video, you simply switch to the video mode on the camera and press the shutter button to start recording. The recording is pretty much automatic so there's not much to control except to keep the subject in frame. Some cameras allow zooming while recording, which is a plus.


Care for Cameras

Cameras can be a rather fragile piece of equipment and should be handled with care. Dropping it on hard ground from table height can easily break it. Keep the camera in a bag or pouch for extra protection when carrying it around. A wrist strap may be used if you're keeping the camera on hand for a long time.

When using it wet areas, becareful not to get water on the camera lens and other parts of the camera body. If water gets splashed on the camera, it should be cleaned immediately with a dry cloth. Special care must be taken when cleaning the lens; a microfiber cloth should be used to clean the lens. Normal cloth can may scratch or damage the lens.

When not in use, cameras should be kept in a dry and cool area. Batteries should be removed if the camera is not going to be used over a long period, ie. more than two weeks.

>> Using Manual Controls

created 20th june 07