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by Phil Ball

Q. I often travel with commercial tours, where the schedule requires me to I hurry each shot. What can I do to get better photos?

A. The obvious answer is to slow down, but that’s not always possible. Perhaps you haven’t taken time to operate the zoom lens, just taking each picture with the widest angle lens, which isn’t always appropriate for distant subjects. If so, the best thing that you can do is to crop your photos. That is, to cut off all the superfluous “stuff” at the edges because that stuff diminishes your subject’s importance in the picture. Most software that offers “fixes” for your photos will include a Crop tool that looks like a pair of crossed letter ‘L’s. Click it to work with it. Draw a box around the part of your photo that you want to keep and click to throw away the outside. This will draw attention to your intended subject. Of course, the image will be smaller because you just threw part of it away.

The way to avoid this loss is to zoom when you take the photo. For instance as you are getting off the bus, have the camera already turned on, saving a few seconds. If the subject is far away, zoom the lens before you even look through the camera. By doing these things, you may be able to spend a little more time with each shot and make the improvements with your camera so you get to use all those megapixels that you paid for.

Published: Courier 12/21/08 - Page 4C