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Exposure and Metering

Lesson 5 from: FAST CLASS: Nature and Landscape Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

5. Exposure and Metering

Next Lesson: Exposure Modes

Lesson Info

Exposure and Metering

So we are gonna jump into a new section now and this is on exposure. So we're gonna get the whole exposure thing, have hopefully gotten the equipment thing behind us. We got that fairly well figured out for exposure. There's a lot of different things involved. Let's start with the metering system in the camera. Most cameras, they're gonna have to three, maybe four metering systems on how it reads like and the symbols that they use are slightly different. But we have in general multi segment, which reads wide area center, weighted more towards the middle in spot very much in the middle. So the traditional system is the center weighted metering system, and what this is is is it's looking at the middle 60% of the frame, and it's heavily weighted toe what's going on right in the middle of the frame. And this is the system that we had on cameras for many many years. Photographers wanted something more precise, and so we got spot meters and the landscape photographers like spot meters becaus...

e what they could do is they could read the light value in the sky and in the rock and in the trees, and then they could start figuring out well, this is where we should have our shutter speed, cause it's a nice balance between the brightest spot and the darker spot. And there is a whole technique to using a multi spot meter checking out. What's my highlights? What might What's my shadows? And this is something that Ansel Adams was all over in his zone system and he needed to know the brightness of different areas, and he wanted to hold areas to certain levels of brightness. And it's gotten a lot easier in the days of digital because now we can shoot pictures. We can see him out in the field, and we have a better analysis of what we're getting in the field. In the days of film, it was a little bit more of educated guesswork, and now I'm a big fan of the multi segment metering system. And what this is is a way of breaking up the scene too many different boxes, and it compares and contrasts the darkest areas with the lightest areas and gives you a nice balance between all of those. And in general, I have found that the multi segment system, which goes by different names. Nikon calls it matrix metering, and Canon calls it evaluative. Metering does a very good job in most situations. It's not so important these days because we now have the ability to look at the history. Graham and the hissed. A gram is a analytical way for us to look at the look at an image and judge, whether it is too bright or too dark. The backing your screens are kind of close to accurate, but they're not exactly accurate. Chances are in the back of your camera. You have an info button or a display button. If you press that button, you'll get hissed a gram. All cameras have it that have been made in the last six years. If you can't figure out how to do it, you need to learn how to work your camera better. You need to get out your instruction manual and find out how to turn the song because it is really, really valuable. So the hissed a gram. It's a graph of the tonal distribution we're seeing where the bright areas are and where the dark areas are. The vertical part of the graph is describing the number of pixels, and as we go from left to right, we're going from the darkest regions to the mid tones up into the highlights. Now the particular hissed a gram that you see on screen here. This one is kind of interesting because there is no pixels that are perfectly black, and there are none that are perfectly white in. The advantage to that is that I can take that into a post processing program, and I could make this a little bit darker or it could make it a little bit brighter. When you photograph something that is pure white, there is nothing else that that can be. It is blown out. If something is pure black, it's dark, there's no information, and it's gonna be impossible to do anything with that. So we have to be very careful about overexposing and under exposing, and you should be able to look at a photograph and judge what type of hissed a gram is appropriate for. So I have a little quiz for you at home. I have three photographs on screen and I have three hissed a grams. Can you tell which hissed a gram goes with which photo. If we were to take one of these images Raw image and we were to take it into photo shop or light room or any other program you might be using. And we were to adjust the contrast levels because you can adjust the contrast levels levels later on and try to reduce the contrast. We get the image on the right, which in my opinion looks terrible. I don't know what it looks like on your screen, but it looks horrible here because I've taken a high contrast image and I've tried to reduce the contrast later on, and it just does not work out. I'm trying to lighten up the shadows, but they just do not look natural at all. Let's look at two more high contrast. Photos were photographing land. We have some bright light in Emma's Well, you can see the hissed a gram. It really spreads across the entire range. Pixels on the far left pixels on. The far right of that hissed a gram are either dark or very bright, so let's take this image at Second Beach. That's our raw image. Let's take it into photo shop and try to compress things to try toe. You know, pull up information in the shadows, and I don't know what your screen looks like. But the image on the left does not look good on my screen. I looks like we've lost all the shadows. They tried to be lightened up, but they just don't look normal at all. And when I'm trying to tell you here is that you can't take a high contrast scene and reduce the contrast later, it just doesn't work out in virtually every situation. Now let's look at the other end of the spectrum. Let's look at low dynamic range photos, and so these air all images that have a low dynamic range the range from the brightest rights to the darkest Starks is not that big a difference now because there's a delay. I'm not going to really ask you, but what do these images have in common? Take a look at him. What What's kind of common thread about these images and the answer is that they're either all of the land or if they're all of the sky. The one image in the bottom left is all sky, but there is no image that has both sky and land in it at the same time. And that's where we get a lot of high contrast situations. And so these air low contrast and they're very easy to capture with our digital sensors. Let's take a look at a couple of these images and look at the history grams. These are low contrast images. Most of the information is right in the middle of the hissed a gram. It does not extend out to the left or to the right hand side. Let's take one of these images. Let's take it into light room and let's increase. The contrast were kind of spreading that hissed a gram out and that image on the right, the darks for a little bit darker. The brights are a little bit brighter, and that causes it to have a little bit more saturation, and it looks a little bit better so we can take a low contest image, and we can increase the contrast and kind of give that and even better look. Then what are raw image originally captured? And so this is one of the things that we look for is thes low contrast scenes because we can make those look really good. It's very hard to make those high contrast scenes look really good in some situations. Here are two more images that are very low contrast. You can see that that hissed a gram does not extend either to the left side or to the right side. If we take one of these images, we can increase the contrast. And there's a number of different ways that we can do this specifically in the different programs. But now the blacks become a little bit more black. The color has become a little bit more saturated. And so this is something that you can very easily do in pretty much any photo program on the computer taking a low contrast shot, adding a little bit of contrast. And it adds a little bit of pop, a little bit of zing to it, which can really help it out in many ways, as well as giving it just that extra little boost of color as well. That's not even working on the saturation at all. That's just increasing the contrast of it. So that's a very helpful tool and what to look for and what to be careful of when you're framing up your shots. When it comes to the exposure, the main goal here is to capture the greatest range of light. Whatever that means is for a shutter speeds and apertures. We want to capture the greatest range of light possible. After that, I want to make sure that we're shooting raw files so that we can capture the widest range possible by the camera and kind of first and foremost is to protect. The highlights means we don't want overexpose highlights because once they're gone, they're totally gone and generally looks very unnatural. If there's a section of the sky that is absolutely pure, white, very unacceptable in a lot and most types of photographs and then e t tr exposing to the right if you have that room, getting it a little bit on the brighter side so that you can darken it down later

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Light Keynote
Focus Keynote
Equipment Keynote
Subject Keynote
Timing Keynote
Composition Keynote
Exposure Keynote