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Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Measuring Brightness…

Although almost a year ago is when I completed the last entry on measuring brightness I thought I would slip this entry in. (this is done in hindsight of loading up the next few updates I’ve just manually changed the publish date so it will appear before the others!). Anyway I thought I would just add a few points relating to this section of the study notes.

I just wanted to add a few notes about my camera. Wherever possible I shoot in manual exposure modes and adjust the (ISO, shutter speed and aperture) based on the meter reading from either the cameras evaluative metering mode via TTL metering; and more recently using a handheld light meter (but more about that in a later instalment).

The way I have practised and use this method relates to what I am shooting, and what I want the result to look like.

Here is an example of how I might shoot an average (lit) scene in natural light using my camera

  • I may first select a safe shutter speed to shoot at to avoid blur/shake; for example 1/125 sec (regardless of the available light).
  • I would also tend to keep the ISO as low as possible to start with (to keep noise levels to a minimum). Now I may set the ISO higher if I was in a darker environment (poor ambient light)  but for the purpose of explaining my understanding I will leave it at it’s lowest setting.
  • I may then select an aperture for the scene (or depth of view effect that I want) that I am shooting; this will of course be dependant on ‘what the subject is’
  • I take an exposure; or at least an exposure reading TTL. My camera has a simple scale inside the viewfinder covering –3 to +3 exposure values (or stops). To get correct exposure I will then adjust the aperture (as much as I can without losing the effect I’m after) and or the ISO until the reading is centre i.e. the exposure is ‘correct’ according to the camera settings and the evaluative metering of the camera.

Anyway this is just a simplistic view of how sometimes I will use the camera in relation to metering (and explain that I understand the principles of what this section is about). Of course this is not the be all of how I shoot, sometimes I will drop the exposure by a stop to enrich colours or create a style and other times I will do the opposite to wash out colours or to keep detail in the highlight end of the exposure and times the environment will dictate the  exposure settings, for example in a church wedding that is dark and no flash allowed their maybe so little light that I have to use the widest aperture, much higher ISO and slowest shutter speed to capture the moment, regardless of the desired effect (other than keeping the bride happy!)

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