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Photography Question 

Alternative to Gray Cards

Hi everyone,
I just read a thread somewhere that mentioned a trick/tip if you will - about alternatives to using grey cards. The hand and a brown paper bag, but - without a whole lot of detail. (It said that, provided you knew how to do this, the method works as good as grey cards)
As an alternative to grey cards, has anyone used this trick/tip? To what success/failure? And how is this method for each done? Is there any f/stop value change? Is it front hand, back of hand? And, lastly, what's a brown paper bag? I only get white/brown plastic ones.

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11/11/2004 5:03:31 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  There are many alternative ways to meter, but none are as reliable as "the card". The "hand trick" works in a pinch.
One day when you have time, meter your palm in bright sun and in deep shade. Then meter a gray card in the same light extremes and compare the difference. For me, my palm reading is about a stop brighter than the card, so I would open one stop over my palm reading and bracket from there.
Other "neutral" areas to meter are green grass, fall foliage, gray asphalt roadways, and flower petals long as they're not white.
I've never heard of "brown baggin'"

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11/11/2004 5:37:58 PM

Jason G. Gainey   I too have never heard of the brown bag trick, but I have heard of the palm as being 1 stop brighter, green (not dead brown) grass, and weathered asphalt/concrete. And also one of my favorites is the blue sky on a cloudless part of the sky opposite the sun. I've used this one many times, as well as the green grass, and it's been wonderful for me!

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11/12/2004 1:09:06 AM

doug Nelson   Think in terms of middle gray and meter off something you think comes close. At a recent peace demonstration, faded army jackets seemed about right. Your meter should give you the flexibility to pick up a portion of the scene without having to walk up on someone's shirt. One reading should do it; all the other tones will fall into place.

Alternatively, at this event, I could meter off a white banner with some print on it and open up two stops, because I thought it deviated from a middle gray by two stops.

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11/12/2004 7:48:35 AM

Julie L. Erickson   I too have used the sky opposite the sun on a few occasions. I also have used my cat who is grey and the pictures came out spot on. I guess he's an 18% grey cat, but that only works at home. :)

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11/16/2004 4:23:07 AM

Scott Pedersen   Chase, you must be pretty young if you don't remember brown paper bags!

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11/16/2004 4:32:13 AM

Carolyn Barkow   Chase, it's time to throw away your grey cards and brown bags. Learn the Zone System for color. Like everything else in photography, it takes practice, but works like a charm.

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11/16/2004 7:09:23 PM

Jacques G-L   I did not hear of a car running without energy! But if Julie's 18% gray cat get kitten I would buy one (but not to pic a dog:))))

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11/16/2004 7:36:29 PM

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