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Get more sharp images in Burst mode

Instinctively, I would use the burst mode on my camera to shoot fast-moving subjects. That's true but not only that!  If you are in a situation where you are shooting handheld and your shutter speed is too slow to get you a sharp image, try shooting in burst mode. The more frames per second your camera can deliver, the better of course. It saved me a few times!

Why Graduated Neutral Density Filters are important

I can't recall how many times I shot a scene two or three times at different exposures because the dynamic range was too wide. When you shoot a scene multiple times at different exposure (exposure bracketing), you ideally need a tripod but you don't always have one so you end up with a blurred picture or no picture at all.  This is when graduated ND filters come handy. Why? Because they help you squeeze the dynamic range within the boundaries of your histogram. It, of course, depends of the scene and the light but let's says you are shooting a typical landscape scene. With high-performance sensors that we now have, it is possible to capture a wide dynamic range provided that most of the range fits within the range of the sensor. When you have all or almost all of the dynamic range contained within your histogram or your sensor limits, it becomes realistic to take one picture instead of two or three. Here is a graphical explanation of what I mean.   

Here is a histogram showing a very wide dynamic range. Actually, the blacks and the whites are clipped, which is usually not good. If a scene shows this kind of histogram, I would be tempted to use my tripod and shoot three shots at different exposures, but what if I don't have a tripod?

I always have my graduated ND filters in my bag, so I'll use them! In this case, I might use a 2 (0.6) or maybe a 3 (0.9) stop graduated ND filter because my goal is to not only bring the whites back in the safe zone but to also have room to bring the blacks back in so to have more details in the shadows. The graduated ND filter will bring the highlights towards the centre of the histogram and prevent them from clipping:

In the example below, you can see that thanks to my graduated ND filter, the highlights are now in the safe zone thus leaving me with a bit of headroom to maneuver (notice the space at the right-hand side of the histogram). I will that headroom to push the blacks in (which means I have to leave my shutter opened a little longer), thus recovering details in the shadows.   

This is a very rough explanation of how you can use a graduated ND filter but this will not work in all situations. It is a case-by-case scenario. You may sometimes have to lower the shutter speed quite a bit, sometimes to the extent that it will cause your picture to be blurred. It is a trial and error process. Fortunately, I'm a happy Fuji XT-1 shooter with a 5-axis stabilized lenses which enable me to shoot handheld at very slow shutter speeds. Having a 5-axis stabilized camera body or lens is a blessing since it dramatically increases your chances to shoot more better pictures without a tripod.

The One-Pixel Fingerprint

Someone has stolen your picture but that person says that's not yours. She has deleted your watermark and all the metadata of the file or she did a printscreen of your picture. How can you still prove it's yours? Put something in your picture that only you know it's there... like a pixel.

Here is what I do. Open your image in Photoshop and zoom in at the pixel level. Choose a pixel, preferably in a place that you will remember, and turn it completely white using the eraser or the brush tool. Open the color picker tool and choose a color. Write down the RGB values. With a hard brush set at 1 px, paint that pixel in the chosen color. You might have to apply the brush a few times so that the pixel turns exactly the color you chose. Make sure not to paint pixels around it. 

The RGB values become your unique identifier number for that pixel if someone tries to reproduce the same color. Needless to say that you should try to add your color pixel always at the same place, for example, 50 px from the top and 25 px from the right. You can even use the RGB values as position values of your pixel. 

This is not of course a full proof solution but it certainly doesn't do any harm to have that extra pixel as a 'fingerprint' on your image. And by the way, no, you can't see the pixel even though you know it's there. I have done the test with lots of people and nobody noticed.

Fuji Camera Remote App for smartphone: the only detail they didn't tell you

Yes you guessed it, I'm shooting Fuji, an X-T1 to be more precise and I love it. I came to use the wireless connection feature more and more and I have to say that it works flawlessly... well now it does because I discovered by myself THE detail that all the posts out there didn't talk about: the focus setting of your camera. Before launching the FujiFilm camera remote app, make sure that your focus mode is set to Single (S)  and not to Manual otherwise you will not be able to focus using your smartphone!! Since I mostly shoot on manual focus, taping on my smartphone screen to focus didn't work and I didn't why. I read everything on the Internet and never found the answer.  Now you have it. Happy shooting.