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Author Topic: Reflective, Incident or spot exposure?  (Read 2747 times)
gtal
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« on: August 17, 2004, 07:48:08 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']If your subjects are fairly static, the best way is to expose with whatever metering mode you like and examine the histogram, then correct if/as needed.
For fast moving subjects, if the light is not changing too much you can make a test shot, find the ideal exposure, set it manually, then pursue your subject(s).
If you have fast moving subjects and rapidly changing light, you have no choice but to use a reflective meter. Bracketing can help here.
Without a histogram, a spot meter and a good understanding of Zone System principles will give you the best chance of a successful exposure in tricky conditions.

Guy[/font]
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nycmd1
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2004, 11:33:00 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I love shooting landscapes; Frontlit landscapes are not very difficult to meter from(I use my camera's meter system,center weighted).

However, How does one meter the following scene:
An urban park landscape,which inludes a lot of grass in the foreground,mountain or buildings and sky in backgroung--
with streaks of sunlight and shade falling upon the grass?

Do you meter the highlights in the grass,then open up one or two stops(assuming grass comprises approx 2/3 of the scene?

 Huh Thanks
Frank[/font]
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2004, 09:20:17 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I concur with the histogram method of metering as long as 1) the lighting for the scene is not changing rapidly and 2) you're shooting digital :laugh:

However, if you're shooting film or the light is changing rapidly, then using a spot meter is probably the most accurate. BUT! You don't simply want to average the highlight and shadow readings. What if they are 10 stops apart? In this case you'll end up with blown highlights and blocked up shadows.

So it is better to make a choice and this is where knowing a bit about the zone sytem shines. I will typically meter the highest value I want detail to remain in and assign that a value of zone 7 with tranny film. (Since zone 7 is 2 stops over zone V, I adjust my exposure up 2 stops over the highlight reading.) Now I meter everything else to see where it will fall. IF I have some important shadows below zone 3, then I may have to adjust my exposure slightly (use zone 7.5) or use SND filters to help control the overall exposure so that the shadows maintain detail. (Or with digital, take two exposures and blend them for latitude in post.)

Cheers,
Jack[/font]
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b.e.wilson
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2004, 09:14:12 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']The best digital metering system I've seen is the one for certain Sony video cameras, where you touch on the screen the place you want to be middle gray. It may take a bit, but it'll eventually make it to digital cameras.[/font]
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ronnieboot
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2004, 04:34:07 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Much has been written about correctly exposing a photograph and with the rapid development of 'in camera' exposure meters, most people will rely on the matrix metering system built into thier digital camera. This is always a 'reflective' reading and may not be the best method in practice.
My question then, is "What is the best way to meter a landscape"?
My view is the tried and tested method of taking a spot meter reading of, (a) the highlights, ( the shadows and © the midtones - then average these three readings.
I am sure that you guys and gals will have other views and I would like to hear about them please. I would also appreciate your views on the 'best' light meter available.[/font]
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b.e.wilson
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2004, 08:25:53 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I meter the way Guy suggests, while realizing that different media behave differently at the extremes.

When shooting negatives, which hold onto highligts well, overexposing a bit is a good way to get more shadow detail.

When shooting reversal film, which blow out highlights easily, underexposing a bit will preserve a scene with clouds.

When shooting digital, RAW format preserves more sensor information than .jpg, so I will, when worried about it, shoot RAW and let the camera meter automatically. It's the lazy-man's method, but it works most of the time. When shooting .jpg's (because of space limitations in my card) I pay a bit more attention to the histogram after each shot, and when it doesn't look right I'll either adjust the camera settings or wait for better light. I always get better results when I wait for better light.

Modern cameras do a very good job of interpreting the exposure of a scene, even handling the oddball exposures (looking into a sunset, backit subjects, etc.) better than a lot of photographers with a manual meter. The things they won't do is the more artistic interpretations of a scene. Camera's don't know if you want a low-key or a high-key effect, they only know middle gray. So if you want an artistic effect, and you want your camera to do the metering, you need to know how to alter the exposure (+/- ev, spotmeter, different shooting modes maybe) to get the effect you are after.

Or you need to know how to do it later in photoshop when working with the RAW file.

Note that most points I've made here are fundamental philosophies of L-L, easily gleaned by reading the continuous stream of articles on the front page, so I don't expect I'm telling you much you haven't heard before.

As for my own style, I spotmeter first to see the light values of the average (finding an object of average light is a bit of an art itself), the highlights, and the shadows to see how much latitude I have. I shoot Velvia reversal film, which has only five stops (or an ev range of 5), so I look primarily for which end of the brightness range I'll throw out: highlights or shadow. If I find the scene has acceptibly-low range, or if I can fix the scene's latitude with a gradient filter, I pick just one thing in the scene to meter. If there is grass in the scene (rarely) or light-colored leaves, I meter those and call it average. If there is brightly-lit sandstone (frequently, where I shoot), I meter that and call it one stop over middle gray, so I set my exposure one stop more than the meter indicates (the meter thought it was middle gray, I know it's one stop more than that, so I want to overexpose the meter reading by one stop). Very rarely will I find an object in the scene I think should be one stop less than middle gray. This method probably works okay down there, but since I shoot slides I prefer to work with the bright end of the luminosity range. Were I shooting negatives I'd work the low-end of the luminosity range.

I've tried incident metering a various landscapes in the past and it didn't work for me at all. I never bothered to figure out why. It works well with tungsten lamps, though.[/font]
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2004, 12:11:45 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']You meter so the histogram data is almost, but not quite, touching the right edge. If shooting RAW, you may be able to add another stop to thiat, depending on the interval between the point at which the histogram indicates clipping and the point at which the actual RAW data clips. Individual cameras vary, you'll need to test yours to see what it is.[/font]
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mikemilton
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2004, 04:40:01 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I rather like the multispot metering on various EOS bodies (in my case a 1DmII and a 3, followed by a quick double check on the histogram.

This gives one a greater level of certainty that the *specific* area(s) of interest / concern is placed where you want it on the exposure scale[/font]
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Sfleming
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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2004, 10:57:46 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I've been getting  the most consitent exposures of my life of late since I started shooting the Contax AF.  I only use the in camera spot meter.  I put the center focus point on what I hope is the  neutral value in the  shot and using  Astia 100 I usually get  spot on  results.  If  It's a contrasty scene I  will often spot  meter a lighter and darker area for bracketing ... using exosure lock to recompose.  If the sky is important I use a graduated  neutral density  filter although  with  Astia I get  nice blue  skys AND white  clouds even with no filter when I correctly meter on the midtone  in the  shot.[/font]
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