Recording exposure

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by ghinson, Oct 23, 2004.

  1. ghinson

    ghinson Member

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    I'm new at this, and I have a simple question. When you're shooting, how do you record what your exposure settings are, so you can refer back to it when you're looking at the negatives (in my case, to learn)? Is there a printed template form that you use? A memo book pre-printed with the proper information? Just a little memo pad? I haven't been able to find anything online. Help me organize this.

    Thanks,

    Greg Hinson
     
  2. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Member

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  3. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    Hey Greg!
    I have found one of the best little tools you can ues is one of those small tape recorders. It only takes a second to 'tell' it what you are shooting, the exposure and even a wee bit about conditions. You can transcribe the info you need later at your leisure!
     
  4. anyte

    anyte Member

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    I tried using a voice activated recorder but I found it hard to sit down and transfer my babbling into useful readable information. I also found that I wasn't very aware of which details I was noting and thus didn't always record all the information I could have used.

    I now use a small memo book, which fits into the pocket on my camera bag.

    Here's a short sample of what I write:

    10/10/04
    Kodak Gold 100
    Louisville Swamp
    1:46 PM

    Clear skies, bright sun, no haze. 29-100mm

    Twin Trees - trees are roughly 30' apart. @50mm
    27) 250 f/11 (noted the angle of the sun in relation to the subject)
    28) 250 f/11 warming filter
    29) 45 f/11 warming polarizer
    30) 250 f/5.6 warming polarizer

    Twin Trees - second set. Trees are roughly 10' apart. @50mm
    31) 250 f/5.6 wm pl ​
    I keep these notes on one side of the page only so that on that on the facing page I can make any other notes I feel are necessary. Such as how I found the spot or other subjects I might want to go back and shoot at another time (under different conditions). It seems like a hassle to stop and make note of what you're doing but I have found that I am taking a lot more time to take the photos as well and there may be a payoff in the end for that.
     
  5. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    I also use a Palm, I use "Go Pix" software though -- seems to suit my working style best (sometimes detailed notes, sometimes very sketchy). I use multiple categories to keep track of each roll (they move from "unfiled" at first through "pending" and "processed" and "scanned" and then exported into the memo pad, then to my PC and I print the notes and include them in the binder with the negative pages themselves for further printing/filing -- with a separator, I don't trust storing my negs (even in sleeves) DIRECTLY in contact with office laser paper)

    My gopix logs contain body/lens/date/strobe/exposure/title info per entry, and a name for the collection/session/roll. I include a date stamp in the roll names too, and often add some notes during development and/or printing
     
  6. KenM

    KenM Member

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    I recently picked up a digital voice recorder. While you have to transcribe what your record, I find that I can record information a lot faster than if I was writing it down. I normally try to take note of the following: lens, aperature, exposure, filter, development, important zone placement, any other interesting details.

    And so on. Works fairly well. But, as with all things, unless you use it, it won't work. Use a pen and paper, it'll work just as well - as long as you use it.
     
  7. david b

    david b Member

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    I use the small moleskin notebook which measures 5.5" x 3.5" and easily fits into my cargo pants pocket.

    I number each roll and list date and time along with aperture/shutter/asa info. Then at the bottom I record the date and time of development along with developer info.

    Works for me.
     
  8. ghinson

    ghinson Member

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    I tried the database PhotoAssist that is avail. on the net for PocketPC. It is free, but you have to buy the SprintDB database software to work it. It is okay, but it is too easy to forget to bring the PocketPC (for me) and the entries are not sortable by film/roll number. I will look at the GoPIX software. I like the idea of the digital recorder. I think I might use this, and then transcribe what I said into a notebook once back home. Or even a homemade spreadsheet on the computer. Thanks for all the ideas.

    Greg
     
  9. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I've found the tape recorder quite usefull myself, but primarily only as a backup when a scene is chaning too fast to write things down. I admit, that it takes a bit of discipline to write things down in a small notebook. Since I shoot primarily LF and Fuji QuickLoads I write down the information on the holder itself. I generally don't record shutter speeds/fstop; I've found no compelling reason to do so - although I would be willing to listen if anyone can provide a good reason to do so.
     
  10. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I've found shutter speed useful for reviewing what works with moving objects, especially water in waterfalls and seascapes.

    I have identified a slow shutter flash sync in one of my cameras (it was leaving the telltale underexposed line/area so I checked the exposure details and they were all 1/125th sec... I tried a few at 1/60th and they were fine, so I now use that camera at 1/60th with flash!)

    I tend to record the exposure, date and location details for MF and 35mm slides. Rarely for colour neg, but then that stuff doesn't get in my camera very often anyway :smile:
     
  11. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    Boy, I hate to throw a wrench in this, but what the heck. I used to record exposure information with pencil and paper. I have found this info to be generally worthless. At the time of exposure, I note the development required and that's all. I have found it better to develop a technique that is consistant. What worked for me was to photograph the same thing many times. The best thing is getting immediate feedback, either polaroids or going home and printing pictures that you took only hours earlier. Then take that picture back to the same place the next day and do it again.

    I would start by only using one film. For me, a viewing filter helped so that I could learn how to judge what zones would fall where and which one I could judge the best for placement. I place zone 4 most of the time. For constrast measurement, I generally do this on feel unless it is extreme.

    The times that might be good to record, if you could find them when you need them, are how long to expose moving water to get how much blur. That sort of thing would be helpful and I have done those experiments, but there are so many variables there, too, that I'm not sure it isn't better to take a couple of frames/sheets to get the mood you want.

    Just my two bits.
     
  12. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I wouldn't say completely worthless, but grinding so fine as to record each and every exposure will produce a great mound of paper (or electron traces) ... and it will be difficult to reference it all back to the moments of truth - for each and every exposure.

    It is useful - in fact, necessary in the Zone system ... as far as +/- exposure and development; but other than that, one can learn - or see -the effects of f/stops on depth of field and of shutter speeds on motion... but that is general knowledge, and once that is learned (fairly well, anyway) ... minute records are really a lot of overkill.
     
  13. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    I use a small notebook. I jot down:
    Date
    Brief Subject Description
    Holder Number
    EV range (EV low to EV high, i.e. SBR)
    Lens used
    Filter if any
    F stop
    Exposure length

    Takes me 5 secs to do.
     
  14. anyte

    anyte Member

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    For myself it's a matter of learning what works and what doesn't - exposure and DOF. When I sit down and examine my photos I want/need to know exactly what I did so that I can assess what I need to do different - the exposure is probably more important than anything else for me as I can usually clearly recall everything else when looking at the photo.

    Perhaps when I'm more experienced and more confident I'll no longer feel a need to record the exposure. I know a lot of pros that say it's pointless, but will recommend it for someone starting out.
     
  15. sterioma

    sterioma Member

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    I also use a digital recorder. When I have finished the roll, I write everything down into a spreadsheet which is printed and stapled to the negative archival page.

    As a beginner, I find it extremely useful to review and analyze the pictures I have taken having the exposure data handy. This is especially true when I am trying a new film.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2004
  16. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I write these things down when shooting stuff I haven't done before. E.g. in my studio I test under- and overexposure with different films. I often shoot heavily overexposed portrait shots for fashion etc., and to have a clue how to shoot very high key it is good to have some test slides with exposure data to learn from. I write the data (shutter speed, aperture and how much it is under - or overexposed) on the slide frame and keep them as references. Then I can find the correct exposure for a shot when I look at slides. The same thing for low-key shooting. I use this mostly with slide film as the latitude is almost non-existing. I have a film in my archive of a female model shot in the three different light settings exposed from -2 stops to +3 stops in ½ stops. That gives 33 exposures covering the spectrum of my likings. From this I can get the appropriate exposure.

    Morten
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2004
  17. Francesco

    Francesco Member

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    I use a meter to tell me the low EV and the high EV of a scene. I do not use it to tell me the f stop and shutter speed. There are a countless EV ranges/SBRs - writing down the f stop and speed helps me keep track of all of them so that when I encounter a new one (a new EV range) I can extrapolate the correct exposure from looking at my notes. This is particularly useful when the low EVs registers 3, 2 and even 1.
     
  18. Lee Shively

    Lee Shively Member

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    I agree with Loose Gravel.

    I don't see much purpose in recording the exposure data for photographs. I'll never take that picture again so what good is the exposure for reference? If I'm testing a new camera, lens or film, I might make a few notes but otherwise, it's not very useful information.