Photography without auto mode

Getting the best out of your camera without using auto mode

In our last column, Warwick Williams shared his tips on what camera equipment to pack on your cruise. This week: How to get the best out of your camera without shooting in auto mode. Over the next few months, Warwick Williams will be sharing his photography tips.

The typical automatic mode on a camera is for the typical scene, and the typical “shooting solution” the camera picks may not always be suited to the actual subject matter.

Ships these days have so many activities from the basketball and soccer to rock climbing, ice-skating, dodgem-cars and even skydiving (if you are on a Quantam Class RCI ship) let alone what you see on shore excursions.

The automatic mode on your camera is probably going to opt for a shooting solution more suited to a still life style picture, say 1/60 sec. however there are a couple of easy things that overcome blurry pictures resulting from too slow a shutter speed.

Select Sport mode. If you camera doesn’t have any manual control it will probably have a “Sport” mode that errs on the side of higher shutter speeds. A fast shutter speed is more suited to freezing those action shots, so whether it’s pool activities or rock climbing or even an on-shore tour where you might find yourself shooting pictures from a bus or dancing displays, higher shutter speeds help freeze the action.

Another way to capture movement free pictures is to select Shutter Priority and set a high shutter speed like 1/1000 sec. Also remember that the longer your lens the fast the shutter speed required to capture a clear, sharp shot. Outdoors in good sunlight this is not usually a problem, the issues start when shooting in low light areas or indoors in which case higher ISO setting will allow for higher shutter speeds.

Many Fujifilm cameras feature an SR Auto mode or Scene Recognition Automatic mode that is far more reliable than the typical automatic mode as it detects the type of scene being captured, even so, very fast moving subjects may deserve a little more manual intervention so don’t shy away from experimenting with that shutter speed dial.

While it is easy to get carried away with freezing a moment in time don’t forget that sometimes a little movement blur can add an artistic touch to a picture. With digital cameras these days it is easy to find what suits your taste.

Just remember to change your settings back once you are shooting regular scenes again!