getting up to speed with metering

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by rince, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. rince

    rince Subscriber

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    Hi,
    I am still fairly new to film photography and especially to metering anything else than flash exposures in a studio. I find myself struggling a lot with the meter in my camera and therefore would like to use my Sekonic L-358. Again, I have not much clue about what I am doing...yet... therefore I am looking for some books that help me get a better understanding of metering ambient light. So if you have a favorite book about metering you would like to share, I would be very grateful!

    Thx in advance
    Dennis
     
  2. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Visit the Sekonic site and click on "Classroom."
     
  3. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    I truly appreciate your asking for a book recommendation. In this case, however, I don't have a specific recommendation other than what might be found in a basic photography text. However, Google is your friend: (try: "light meter technique")

    http://www.sekonic.com/Classroom/MeteringTechniques/IncidentvsReflected.aspx

    http://www.kodak.com/cluster/global/en/consumer/products/techInfo/af9/index.shtml

    http://www.ephotozine.com/article/guide-to-using-a-hand-held-light-meter-4748

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/meters.shtml

    et al ...
     
  4. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    The most common problem that I have seen people make with light meters [I worked in camera stores for a few years], is that people would meter the sky or too much of the sky. That will make the photographs under exposed, and so they would lower the ISO [ASA, DIN] to compensate. But that type of compensation just leads to less accurate exposures in general. Aim the light meter down to avoid taking a light reading of the sky instead of taking a light reading of the scene.

    Steve
     
  5. rince

    rince Subscriber

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    Thank you David, those links look very promising!
     
  6. rince

    rince Subscriber

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    Thank you Sirius, I will try and follow that advice
     
  7. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    The trick is to spot meter parts of your subject that are close to 18% grey in light reflectance (if you have the time). I also started to use my meter less taking one incident reading an area where my subjects would be and working the exposure compensation for bright sunlight, or shade, this speeds up your reaction time much more, and makes you less dependent on a meter and more on your eyes and brain (you dont have to whip out the meter every shot). Another helpful hint is to meter concrete sidewalks, they are about 18% grey as well.
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    When I use a spot meter I take three measurements

    • The brightest that I want to be darker than pure white
    • The darkest shadow that I want to be lighter than pure black
    • The part that I want to be my medium gray in the print
    If I am pressed for time, only the last measurement.

    Steve
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Dunn & Wakefield Exposure Manual.
     
  10. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    A little outdated where equipment is concerned, last edition 1981, but very sound on the fundamentals, and technical but readable. A British publication that didn't see wide distribution in the US. I'd recommend it as well. Don't know where rince is but Amazon USA used prices are highly inflated (near $60 and up), but Abe Books has some from US and UK dealers at reasonable prices.

    http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=dunn&sts=t&tn=exposure+manual&x=0&y=0

    Lee
     
  11. rince

    rince Subscriber

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    Thank you everyone! It is amazing how helpful everyone is. I am looking forward to continue learning from each and everyone of you! I will spend the evening reading through the recommended links and see that I get some of the books ordered.

    Dennis
     
  12. Steven K

    Steven K Member

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    And Bryan Peterson's _Understanding Exposure_ is a good read if you'd rather not be dealing with too technical a manual.

    Steven
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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  14. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Starting at $5
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-list...?ie=UTF8&qid=1311938700&sr=8-1&condition=used

    Mine is the 3rd edition, 1974. You are right on the equipment stuff being out of date but that's a minor issue. The concepts are what matters.
     
  15. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Interesting. Different results if you search on both authors' last names + book title in Amazon.com (US site). Thanks for the less expensive results.

    I find Hick's Perfect Exposure descriptions of how to use an incident meter to be somewhat vague, inconsistent, and overly 'tweaked'. Incident metering usage is scattered across a few places in the book in only a few paragraphs, and he seems to be oversimplifying and recommending the 'duplex' incident metering technique with a hemispherical receptor in situations that Dunn and Wakefield (and the other books and professionals that I've worked with) find it to be no more effective than a single reading with the dome pointed at the camera. Then again, Hicks also argues for using two spot meter readings in conjunction with an incident meter reading to come up with the best possible exposure. I find that a bit over the top.

    Lee
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2011
  16. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I've had this book for more than twenty five years Mark, I agree the equipment is out of date, but this the most comprehensive book on the subject I have ever seen, and is still my favourite.
     
  17. Svi

    Svi Member

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    I recently bought the already mentioned Perfect Exposure by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz. You can get a very good idea of the book contents by visiting their site. Look into the Photo School section in rogerandfrances.com

    A good starting point is the article Meters and Metering Basics in the Recent Articles section
     
  18. rince

    rince Subscriber

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    Thank you everyone again. I while I was waiting for the ordered books to arrive, I found that there was even a pretty good explanation in Ansel Adam's 'The Negative' . One of those books I read years ago and forget to much of it again ...
     
  19. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Meter, we don' need no stinkn meter. Sunny 16.
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Funny you should say that:

    http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm

    Surprisingly accurate once you learn what it is telling you or insert descriptions that make better sense in the users head.
     
  21. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Hi,

    With your meter, you just have to change the mode from the one you use in studio (synch flash) to ambient, and you are set.

    Also, don't point an incident meter downward unless the light that you want to expose for is coming from below. The advice to do that was for reflected meters, like the ones in cameras. But you already have a far superior tool to the in-camera meter, so I would just use it.
     
  22. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I have the same meter as you do. Don't have the spot meter attachment, don't see the need for my work.

    I use the "normal" dome out, pointed at the camera method for most shots. I duplex, dome in, when back lit. You'll see what that means when you get Dunn & Wakefield's book.

    I developed 8 rolls Saturday from my RB and metered that way; every frame was exposed "just fine thank you", not a single screwy exposure in the lot.

    Verify the right ISO/EI is dialed into the meter then trust what it tells you.