Valuable presets: the scene modes
Most compact digital cameras offer a variety of exposure presets called
“ scenes,” which are usually represented by icons, such as a head represent-
i ng the portrait scene preset or a
m ountain representing the land-
s cape scene preset. These icons
w ill vary depending on the cam-
e ra brand.
Each scene preset is designed
f or optimum results given specif-
i c shooting conditions. Select the
s cene and the camera defaults to
t he presets associated with the
r equirements for the conditions
you”ve selected. This is a practical shortcut that allows even a novice photographer to shoot like an expert.
Some cameras offer as many as 20 or more preset scene modes. Here are
some of the more common scene types. They will vary by camera brand or model.
• Portrait scene mode automatically puts the subject in focus and the
background out of focus.
• Landscape scene mode achieves greater depth of field with everything in focus.
• Sunset scene mode enhances warm colors and works well for sunrises too.
• Self-portrait scene mode works well for an arm’s-length shot when
there’s no one else to shoot you or no safe place to set the camera for
a self-timer shot.
• Beach and snow scene mode compensates for exposure so snow looks
white and sand doesn’t look gray.
• Cuisine scene mode is perfect for shooting food. It compensates for a
close distance ( 1 to 3 feet), reduces flash output and adds color saturation
to make food look yummy.
• Fireworks and candlelight are other common scene modes.
Once you’ve experienced the performance of
the different scene presets,
start thinking outside the
box. You might achieve
some cool special effects
by applying scene settings in
creative ways. For example,
try shooting a pumpkin with
the sunset scene mode.
tends to get you comfortable
with shooting interesting photo s, and th en, suddenly,
it ends. The camera goes back in its cas e and is no
longer an extension of your no-longer- v acationing
hand. Don’t let that happen. Keep using the camera the camera
expertise you’ve honed during those two weeks all
year round.—David Wight
A NEW DIMENSION:
SOME MULTIPURPOSE compact digital
cameras may have underwater capability.
That feature should be obvious in the way
the camera is packaged and sold, and you
need to be aware of the depth-limit rating
for the camera—the underwater depth (in
feet) at which the camera can be safely used.
With underwater capability will come
additional scene presets, including motion,
wide shot and close-up settings specifically
for underwater use.
For anyone new to underwater photography,
here are some helpful tips for best results.
• Whether in the pool, lake or ocean, air
bubbles can obscure the subject and/or the
camera lens, so be sure to hold your breath
while snapping a picture.
• When taking a picture in a shallow lake
or the ocean, avoid stomping in the sand
as this will cloud the water.
• On a bright, sunny day in clear water
you should not need a flash within
approximately 15 feet of the surface.
• Even in visibly clear water, a lot of micro-
scopic debris is floating freely. An underwater
flash will make that debris appear as a
cloud of smoke between the camera and the
subject. For best results, be sure to get as
c lose as you can to your subject when using
t he flash underwater.
• When shooting other people in the close-up When shooting other people in the close-up
s cene mode, face them and anchor yourselves
t ogether—try locking forearms—so you
d on”t float away from
e ach other when the
p hoto is taken.
• After using a camera After using a camera
i n the ocean (salt
w ater), make sure
f resh water. A