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Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004
 

Exposure metering tips


Hi peoples,

Ive just got a heap of slides back I shot with my xpan (havent had it long), and ive found that alot of the slides shot late afternoon, near sunset or at sunset, and pretty underexposed.
Ive generally found that the sky is somewhat exposed correctly, but the foreground detail, etc is very dark or even black like sillhouette?????
Im guessing im not metering properly, and ill admit it, im generally just framing the picture in the viewfinder, metering, and snapping. Im pretty sure this is wrong.

For the record I was shooting with fuji velvia 50, xpan with 45mm lens.

The XPAN uses center-weighted TTL exposure metering so can anyone give me some tips to get better all round exposure?...

THanks for any advice :P


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10/7/2005 12:04:53 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Your camera's center-weighted metering system is reading the sky and exposing it properly.
There are several things you can do:
-Meter the foreground and do not include the sky in the composition.

-Meter the sky and use flash to bring out detail in the foreground elements within range of the flash. (Not always reliable.)

-Turn around, and shoot what's behind you. If the sun is out, everything...including the distant sky will be illuminated more evenly.


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10/7/2005 5:32:52 AM

 
doug Nelson   For landscapes, you're using the right film and asking the right questions. I had this same problem recently, with a center-weighted meter, overemphasizing the sky and causing the system to overreact causing underexposure. I was using a 24mm, so should have known better. You might meter the foreground and hold that exposure and recompose. You might also set a stop or stop and a half more exposure using your shutter or exposure compensation to allow for this.


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10/7/2005 5:45:10 AM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  just what do the three metering modes on my XT do? I just keep it on center weighted and go! I know I should be using the other two but dont know when to..anyone??
Craig-


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10/7/2005 9:50:58 AM

 
Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004
  Thank you both for your replies most helpful...

Metering off the foreground completely like you both have said, would somewhat over-expose the sky correct?..
But im guessing if I meter the foreground, and bracket with +/- 1 stop in shutter then I should be able to reach a suitable compromise yes??? I hope so...

Also doug I notice you mentioned exposure compensation... for the daker areas I would be setting a minus number is exp. compensation correct?.. ie -1,-2 etc.. ???
From what I can gather also that exposure compensation just changes the shutter speed yes???

Thanks for your help!!!


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10/7/2005 11:36:55 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
 
 
  Hiker
Hiker
Nikkor 35 mm, Provia 100, Metered off the blue sky with the sun behind the camera.
© Bob Cammarata
Nikon FM2 Manual E...
 
 
Bracketing is always wise with slide films but their exposure latitude is limited so use your aperture ring to bracket in 1/2 stops.
The difference in meter readings between the sky and foreground can be as little as 1/2 stop or as much as 4 stops, depending upon how blue the sky is and at which direction to the sun you are facing.
Get a reading manually off both extremes and set your exposure somewhere in the middle, then bracket in 1/2 stops from there.
Keep in mind though that a light blue or gray sky can turn white when over-exposed by as little as 1/2 stop. If you don't want this to happen, follow the advice above and compose your shot with little or no sky in the frame.
A deep-blue sky with the sun behind you can be metered directly with great results.
(See attached example.)


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10/8/2005 1:58:59 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Slide Film is your culprit wthout EXACTING metering. With negative film you can get by with shutter metering because of a thing we like to call film latitude, the films ability to properly expose a range of light measured in exposure stops. B&W negative film like tri-x or ilfopan has a color latitude of range of about seven stops. Meaning that from the shadows to the highlights in your image, if the center values are properly placed, will have a range of useable detail of about seven stops of exposure from near black with some texture to near white with some texture. Color negative film, from five to six stops of EL. The human eye, over twenty stops of Exposure Latitude (film can expose and print no more than 11 or 12). Color slide film, ONLY 3. It is a very limited film, good for low contrast scenes, scenes where you can sacrifice the shadows or the highlights, indoor portraiture. But if you want some detail in the foreground with a blazing sun on or near the viewfinder, you need at least six stops of latitude and reversal film is not the way to go in this instance. For more info on this read Ansel Adams' book series 'The Camera', 'The Negative' and 'The Print'. Thank you.

Walrath Photographic Imaging
http://home.comcast.net/~flash19901/wsb/html/view.cgi-home.html-.html


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10/8/2005 6:29:46 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  "Slide Film is your culprit wthout EXACTING metering."
Not necessarily true.
Center-weight metering can work with slide films as long as you understand the parameters of exposure latitude and compose (and meter) accordingly.

"...The human eye, over twenty stops of Exposure Latitude (film can expose and print no more than 11 or 12). Color slide film, ONLY 3."
Actually, tests have proven the latitude of the leading chromes at around 4 stops. Still quite narrow by comparison to what our eyes and brain percieve.

"But if you want some detail in the foreground with a blazing sun on or near the viewfinder, you need at least six stops of latitude and reversal film is not the way to go in this instance."
This, I agree with 100%.
You will need auxiliary flash or some other illumination to get any defination in your foreground.
If you're shooting in this scenario with slide film, you'd better be going for silhouettes because that's what you will get.


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10/8/2005 4:05:27 PM

 
Ben F
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/30/2004
  Guys,

Thanks for your responses and ive certainly taken notes..

However, the thing is, the sun wasnt "blazing",. and it was certainly nowhere near being in the viewfinder. It was very late afternoon, nearing sundown. Im guessing it was the high contrast, from blue sky to white sand and VERY RED rocks (North West Australia), that has seen this problem occur.

But surely as I stated above, there must be a certain point to compromise?
I.E - a slightly over exposed sky (still natural) but also some detail in the foreground.

Bob I ask you this question,
Would metering off my primary subject be a general guide or rule of thumb???
(In this case, should I have metered the rocks in the foreground up close, then moved back and re-composed to shoot the landscape, plus bracket for safety)..??

Thanks once again
Ben


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10/9/2005 2:35:14 AM

 
Angie M. Nemanic   I just had this same problem when I was shooting provia 100. And I should have braketed my shots more, but I didn't. My skies looked great, but my forgrounds are in silouette. Can I fix my foregrounds in photoshop by adjusting the foreground? I'm a extreme novice when it comes to photoshop. I was hoping that I could scan some of my slides then adjust them in photoshop.

I don't want to spend the money to have them scanned unless I know it's possible.

Thanks...


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10/13/2005 8:34:46 PM

 
doug Nelson   To answer your earlier question about exposure compensation- use more exposure, a + setting. Shoot one as metered, one a stop over and maybe one 1 1/2 over.

I am accustomed to the old Canon SLR partial meterering, a 12% rectangle in the middle. With those, I use a "split-the-difference" method, covering shadow AND highlight with the rectangle and metering, then recomposing. I don't feel comfortable with center-weighted or any other full screen averaging. I sometimes use an SLR with spot metering just to get a reading of something in the image that seems a middle tone, a Zone 5.


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10/14/2005 10:17:14 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  But Doug when you over expose for the sky in order to bring out the foreground, won't this wash out colors? From what I've been reading lately I though that this was just a crappy situation, unless you don't mind your sunset/rise being washed out. The small tonal range on slides is just tough for contrast scenes. Am I wrong in thinking this?

(I'm just trying to get my slide problem solving skills rolling. It helps me learn.)

justin


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10/14/2005 2:03:47 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
 
 
  Sika 4
Sika 4
Nikkor 180, Provia 100,...sun rising behind the subject
© Bob Cammarata
Nikon FM2 Manual E...
 
 
From my experience, a deep blue sky can withstand an over-exposure setting of 1/2 stop without losing too much of its color. A light blue or gray sky will wash out easily at 1/2 stop over.

The thing to remember when working within the narrow parameters of slide film's exposure latitude is to recognize this characteristic and compose accordingly.
(Digital camera users should take note of this as your exposure latitude is limited as well.)

When the sun is out, always try to position yourself with the sun behind you or at an angle rather than in front of you. This holds true unless the sun is rising or setting through some thick haze,...as it sometimes does in the summer months.
As a general rule of thumb,...if the sun is uncomfortable to look at with the naked eye, it's too bright to shoot in that direction and include the sky without getting silhouettes unless fill-flash or other auxillary light is utilized.

The enclosed example was taken under the exact same conditions as the one I posted earlier,...(clear and bright, early morning sun).
This shot was taken INTO the sun but the distant sky was eliminated from the composition and the meter reading was off the subject.
Note the over-exposed highlights around the ears of this sika doe. This is how the sky would have been recorded if it had been included in the background.


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10/14/2005 5:08:57 PM

 
Steve Warren
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/1/2004
 

How about a split ND filter?


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10/15/2005 5:37:10 PM

 
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