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Compact, point-and-shoot cameras are convenient, travel-ready, and inexpensive. They're also more capable—and complex—than ever. In Getting Pro Results from a Compact Camera, photographer Derrick Story shows how to use a compact camera to take photos that rival those of far more expensive cameras. Derrick shows how to get the most out the camera's lens as you shoot wide-angle, telephoto, and even macro shots. Derrick also discusses the camera's exposure system and clarifies the differences among ISO settings and scene modes. He also shows how to get the best pictures in a variety of lighting conditions, including making judicious use of the flash to supplement existing light.
So here we are. We are back out of the field and at our computer and I'm looking at the photos here in Photoshop Elements 8, but on the Mac side it has Adobe Bridge. That's where we are actually viewing the photos in here. So I want to take a look at these shots that we took, using the sunglasses polarizer. Now the shot here on my left, no polarizer, and in fact the shot is just a little overexposed and I think possibly the camera was a little fooled by some of these dark areas here or I just may have screwed it up, which is very possible when I'm taking pictures.
Now the camera on my right here did have the sunglasses polarizer, and as you may recall I talked about this in the field. I actually decreased the exposure a little bit, because sometimes when I use a polarizer, I want a little bit more saturation and so I'll decrease that exposure, minus one-third or minus two-thirds. So we actually have two things going on here. We have the sunglasses polarizer, and we have exposure compensation and you'll notice a big difference. This shot is definitely is more saturated. I think the exposure is more pleasing.
We are seeing more detail. Now one thing a polarizer does, it removes kind of the shine that comes off objects. See here that there is little shine coming off this ice plant, and when it's polarized, it's not reflecting as much and that allows the color to come through and that's one of the really cool things that polarizers do. You'll also notice that the polarize shot here is a bit warmer and that is due to the effect of the sunglasses. Some sunglasses are a little warmer. That means they have a little bit more kind of yellow in the mix.
Other sunglasses are what we call cooler and they have a little bit more blue in the mix. Whatever the color tint of your sunglasses is that's going to affect your shot. So you've got to keep that in mind too, and that may even affect which pair of sunglasses you choose when you go out in the field. So either way this is a great technique. Remember to keep the sun over one shoulder or the other. You get the strongest effect that way. Also, remember that the results will vary widely. Sometimes there will be a big difference between the two shots, and sometimes there will be hardly any difference.
You're never really sure, but it is worth trying when you want to use a polarizer, you don't have polarizer with you or you are using a compact camera, but you do have sunglasses. This is a tip to keep in your back pocket, but don't keep your sunglasses in your back pocket, because you may sit on them.
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