If you have questions about a new camera, using the camera on your smart phone, or questions about photography in general, you are invited to bring them to the Van Wert Area Photography Club’s next meeting. It will take place Thursday, Jan. 12, at 7 p.m. at 114 S. Race St. You can feel free to ask any question on these topics and there will be experienced photographers on hand to answer them or try to find an answer for you on the net. This question and answer session is offered as a service to the community, so there will be no cost nor obligation to those who participate.

One of the questions some may have could be related to image stabilization or IS. Basically IS is a mechanism to reduce or eliminate motion blur due to camera movement caused by the photographer, wind, or location such as a moving car or helicopter. If you can use a shutter speed of 1/500th of a second or faster, IS is not important because the shutter speed will cancel out the camera shake. Where there is low light, however, such as sunrise/set or shooting indoors, IS may allow you to get a good sharp exposure that is 3-4 times slower than usual.

Camera manufacturers have built a marvel of electronics into the camera body or lens that is controlled by an on-board micro computer that counteracts the motion of the unit. They actually have four different modes. One is for shooting subjects that are not moving. Two is for moving subjects. Three is a combination of one and two that are activated when the shutter button is pushed all the way down. (This system is mostly on the very long telephoto lenses used in sports photography where the subjects or composition are changing rapidly.) Four is a Hybrid IS found in a macro lens where the motion may be up or down rather than left to right or top to bottom. You may have been puzzled by the advice to shut the IS off if you are using a tripod. The fact is, the lack of motion actually confuses the system and the image starts to jump around in the view finder. So there you have it.

The club wishes you a Happy New Year and hopes to see you on the 12th.