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Have you ever tried to catch a kid in motion with your digital camera? Or take a picture of a waterall? Chances are, you ended up with more blur than you wanted. And missing that perfect shot can be frustrating.
With many digital cameras, you can easily eliminate that frustration. The trick is to switch your camera off it's "auto" or "programmed" setting.
Nearly all digital SLR cameras, most super-zoom models and many mid- to upper-range point-and-shoots offer a setting called "shutter-priority automation." Here's how using this exposure mode gives you control of the action:
When you leave your camera on the full automatic or programmed exposure modes, a complex algorythm in the camera's software decides two things. It decides how much light to let into the camera (aperture, or f-stop) and how long to let that light in (shutter speed).
This is great for most average shooting situations. But not all situations are average. For example, most digital cameras won't make the right exposure decisions to capture sports action when they're set to programmed or full auto. That's why many entry-level digital cameras have a "sports" shooting mode. It simply tells the camera to favor fast shutter speeds.
You see, the faster the shutter speed, the less time light is let into the camera. And that means that less motion has occurred while the shutter was open. Thus, you get less blur.
When you set your camera to shutter-priority automation, you can achieve the same effect as a sports mode - with one important difference. The shutter-priority exposure mode allows you to choose precisely how much blur or motion you get in your pictures.
With shutter-priority, you can add just a little blur in that shot of your daughter on ice skates. Just a little blur shows that she was in motion. Or you can choose to freeze the action altogether to capture the expression on her face in sharp detail.
On the other hand, you might want to shoot a waterfall. By setting the shutter to a slower speed, your picture will show more motion. And that can create a much stronger feeling, because viewers will see that the water was flowing.
So take your digital camera out and experiment with shutter-priority automation. It can open up a whole new range of creative possibilities.