4 Tips for Tough Photo Scenarios
Photographer Adam Fernandez reveals how travelers can take better photos while grappling with motion, glass surfaces, the elements, andperhaps most challenging of allother people.
Another good trick is to look up. Are there any bars or restaurants around with a balcony? Is there a bench or a chair you can step on? Just about any degree of elevation is likely to improve your point of view and help remove unwanted obstructions.
In the snow or at the beach Anytime you photograph in the snow or near the water, you run the risk of underexposing your images. (When an image is underexposed, it lacks contrast and tends to look gray and washed out.) The reason is that your camera's light meter reads the highly reflective surface, whether it's snow or water, and bases its exposure on that. Our solution is counterintuitive: Turn your flash on when you take your picture. You can use the flash in automatic mode at full power or in a "fill-flash" mode if your camera has one. Either way, the flash helps to neutralize the highly reflective surfaces and significantly reduces the problems of backlighting and underexposure.
When facing snow, sand, or water, remember that the elements at hand don't agree with camera equipment. At the beach, be sure to bring a cloth or small towel with you. Any cloth will do, but nylon dries a lot faster than cotton. Camping and outdoor outfitters such as rei.com or campmor.com will have a good selection. If it's raining, but you just have to get that shot, drape the cloth over the camera, being careful not to obstruct the lens.
Salt and sand are the nemeses of all electronics, so once you've got the shot, immediately dry off the camera and the lens. Use your cloth to gently clean the camera body, and use a can of compressed air to clean the lens—a cloth could scratch the lens, but air will safely blow away any debris. Small cans of ozone-safe compressed air can be found at any good office-supply store.
And one tip for cold-weather photography: Keep your camera close to your body. Cold weather tends to drain a camera's battery power and can slow your camera's controls in general. The warmer you can keep your equipment, the better it will function.
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