Dandelion in sunlight with fill-in flash.
Dandelion in sunlight with fill-in flash.

I’VE READ half a dozen books on photography; on landscapes, nature and most recently on digital photography exposure but, now that I know the difference between an f-stop and an ISO rating, I’ve got to the stage with my new camera, the FujiFilm FinePix S6800 when I need to get out taking photographs, all kinds of photographs, especially the kind where I have to more than just point and shoot.

spoonI take the opportunity to pick up a few hints from my friend Roger Gaynor while we’re visiting. Even the dessert spoon on the table can serve as a subject to illustrate the effects that you can get by using the built-in flash.

I hadn’t realised that the flash can be useful even in bright sunlight as it can fill in what might otherwise be blacked-out shadows. The human eye can usually adjust to see details in the shadows but the camera can sometimes struggle.

Fill-in Flash

Without fill-in flash
Without fill-in flash
With fill-in flash
With fill-in flash

I think that this works well on the photograph of the dandelion but the effect can be overdone. Although the flash fills in the shadows on these crab apples, I think it makes the lighting look a bit too contrived, as if it’s an illustration from a nurseryman’s fruit tree catalogue.

Colour Setting


Roger also showed me how to change the camera’s colour settings from standard to what Fuji calls ‘chrome’, boosting the colours slightly, to something resembling the colour you’d get from slide film.

Looking at the LCD screen I thought that the setting had gone too far in pumping up the colour so I changed back to the standard setting. The result was the same. The red of the berries really is so saturated.

Stopping Down


shafts of sunlightAnother way to boost colour is to slightly underexpose. There’s a ‘+/-‘ button on the camera to enable you to do that, using the camera’s selection wheel to move the exposure in one third of a stop increments on a plus and minus scale.

elderI stopped down to add a little more colour to the blue sky behind the branches of the hedgerow elder (right) but there’s another way to adjust the exposure when it comes to an evening sky;

  • Point the camera’s exposure meter (which is marked as a small rectangle in the middle of my viewfinder) to a patch of sky. Select darker part of the sky if you want a lighter picture, a lighter patch of sky if you want the sky to look darker. I went for a medium tone.
  • Half press in the shutter button to take a reading and hold it there to retain that setting.
  • Move the camera to frame the portion of sky you want to photograph and press the button the rest of the way to take the picture.

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