Tag Archives: Metering

Advanced Metering

Advanced Metering

In the blog post “How to Shoot in Manual” I gave some very basic information about where you meter is in your camera and how to use it. In this post we’ll talk really In-Depth about your Camera’s meter

and how to get the most out of it and when to know when it is lying to you and how to correct for that.

What type of Meter do we have in our camera?

The Meter we have in our cameras are known as “Reflective” meters. What they actually meter is the light reflected off of our subject, what we are shooting. This is different than Hand Held Meters. While those meters can be used also to measure reflected light, they normally measure the light source itself also known as “Ambient” or Incident” light and are mostly used to measure the light from Strobes/Flashes that a reflected meter can not. Continue reading »

Measuring & Exposing for Dynamic Range

Reader, friend and fellow photographer Todd B asked me to go into more detail on how I measure the dynamic range of a scene and then decide how I will shoot the exposures for that scene. 

What I do is quite simple. I set my camera to Aperture Priority mode and the aperture and ISO I will be shooting with. I then set my metering mode to spot. I use aperture priority for this instead of Manual because I am just looking for numbers (shutter speeds) right now. I may, and probably will, end up shooting in a different mode, most likely manual. 

I then seek out the brightest and darkest areas of my scene. If the sun is in the shot, don’t measure it for many reasons. First off it’s not good for your eyes or your camera and secondly because of its brightness you will end up with exposures that in reality have very little use. If the sun is just at the horizon line you may be OK, but anything above that you are asking for trouble. But in most circumstances if the sun is in my image I will meter slightly to the side or above it. 

Also make note of one phenomenon, just as the sun hit the horizon it is not always the brightest region of the image and the clear sky above or a reflection off a cloud may actually register higher  Continue reading »

Hand Held Meters and HDR

Hand-Held Light Meters and HDR 

Friend of the HDR Image and Photographer Dale Smith wrote and asked; “Do you use a Hand-Held Meter and what do you think of them?” 

Well Dale the answer is, yes I do use one and like them quite nicely. So let’s explore this question further. 

First I’ll answer one really important question. Do I need a Hand-Held Meter to do HDR? Absolutely not. The reflective meter in your camera is more than capable of doing everything you need to do to successfully meter an HDR scene. But Hand-Held meter can make things easier in some instances and are also handy for other types of photography.  Continue reading »

Metering Exposures for HDR

Metering Exposures

I talk a lot about metering my exposure for an HDR but I haven’t talked much about how I actually do that, so I thought I would give a quick run through. 

Now of course a lot of times I just do a 3 exposure auto bracket and in that case I only have to make sure that my middle exposure is correct (by Metering and locking exposure on a Mid Tone as I explained here) But what if I need more exposures to cover a larger range? Here’s how I do it. 

First thing I do is set my camera for spot metering, if you don’t have spot metering use center weighted. If you use Evaluative (Canon) or Matrix (Nikon) that samples the whole scene which is great in the case of a single exposure but not what we really want here since we want to only know a specific area. 

I place my center focus point over the area I want to sample and I really just want to know two areas; the brightest part of the scene, and the darkest. Sampling any more than that is a waste of time since we know we will be covering them anyway in our various exposures. We just need to get from one end to the other.

So here is my scene

With my camera in manual exposure mode, I first metered the brightest part of the sky and got a centered meter reading of 1/60 shutter speed (aperture and ISO were constant at f/16 and ISO 100). Just be aware of something when water is involved. In cases with water, the sky may not always be the brightest part of the scene. If you have Specular highlights – reflection of the sun in the water- even though the sun is not actually in your scene. THOSE may be your brightest area of your shot. 

Next I metered the darkest area, a hole in the rocks to my left and got a reading of 6 seconds. So I have a full 10 stops of range to cover to get this shot right. 

So now my next choice was how to I get from one end to the other, in other words how many stop intervals. In this case I chose 1 stop intervals because I didn’t want to shoot the scene twice. But I did have another thing in mind because I knew I was shooting for this article. To answer the question: Are 1 stop or 2 stop intervals best? 

So I started shooting my sequence and I started at 6 Seconds. Now I could have done the math and  to get the next exposure just divide the time in half to get 1 whole stop, or in half and then in half again for two full stops. But I hate doing even simple math, so it much easier to do a simple counting the clicks. 

 My camera and most camera are set up from the factory to change exposure in 1/3 stop increments, you can change that to ½ stop increments in your camera’s menu. Mine is set for 1/3 stops. So if I want to change my exposure 1 full stop, I simply count 3 clicks of the dial, shoot, count 3 clicks and so on (If I am doing 2 full stops I count 6 clicks) and then I simply watch my shutter speed until I get to my end reading that I wanted of 1/60. 

But you do it the way that suits you best. 

So here is my 10 exposure shot processed in Photomatix Pro 4.1(No other processing was done)

 

 BUT, here is my 5 Exposure shot of the same scene

 

 I really don’t see much difference; in fact there was a little more confusion in the water area of the 10 exposure shot because of the moving water. 

I’m still not convinced that 1 stop increments are at all necessary (although I did use it for my Shooting Interiors post) because of course, each single image covers a range and in the end may make some other things worse (alignment etc.) But I of course leave that decision to you. 

If you would like to see what the 5 exposures look like along with each images Histogram, here they are.

 

This shot and histogram really shows you how wide the dynamics were for this scene and how they were really biased at each end

Hope that helps,

 

PT