Okay I'll bite but just because it can show the advantages of exposing for the shadows.
The scientific name for this type of shooting is "spray and pray" which is in the same illness family as "digital diarrhea". It is actually an illness where you helplessly watch time, money, film, and the like all "go down the toilet" in a huge vortex and sooner or later it just makes you want to puke because they all look the same.
Originally Posted by panastasia
The cure is typically good prep, good planning, and good composition combined with watching one of your buddies shoot 72 frames of Velvia one weekend where you shot 483 of whatever and he got just as many keepers.
The first thing I do when I walk into any situation is manually set the exposure and look for the backgrounds that are workable.
Originally Posted by panastasia
Since I'm shooting negatives and generally exposing for the shadows there is little if any reason for me to change my settings or bracket. As far as exposure goes I'm ready for every shot and all the negatives will be very printable.
When I see a good composition I just point, focus, and shoot once. If I shoot again quickly it's because I want a diptych or triptych.
When I move to the next lighting situation I set my camera as I walk in and I'm ready again.
Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
Originally Posted by dwdmguy
First off, a minor terminology nit: "Neutral" is generally used to refer to hue in photography, not tone. A grey card is both "middle grey" and "neutral grey", but for black and white, only the "middle grey" part of it is important.
As for your question, taking a reflected reading off of a grey card is, IMO, perhaps the best way to meter a scene with an in-camera meter, short of moving in close and using your center patch as a "spot" meter (more like "blot" meter, but if you get close enough, it works perfectly fine).
Reading a grey card is effectively the same thing as taking a reading with an incident light meter; just slightly less convenient in practice, IMO. Exposing to make middle grey appear as middle grey makes everything else fall into place roughly where it "should" be for "normal" tonal relationships.
Of course, you must learn to tweak the reading if the luminance range of the scene does not match the desired tonal range of the print, OR if you want something other than "normal" tonal relationships that are where they "should" be.
For instance, in a contrasty situation that you know has a wider luminance range than you can squeeze onto your prints, you would overexpose the grey card reading, and underdevelop (unless you *want* to lose the edges of the grey scale on the print). In a flat situation that you know has a more narrow luminance range than you can print on your paper, you would underexpose the grey card, and overdevelop (unless you *want* that flat look on the print).
Even when I use the zone system, I always take incident readings as well. It helps me learn to judge the luminance range of various situations, both as a double check, and as a curiosity and learning tool; so I get practice learning how to tweak incident meter readings for future occasions in which the incident meter is all I am using. Surprisingly enough, it is pretty obvious what you need to do after using a spot meter combined with an incident meter for a while, and I find myself using the incident meter combined with educated judgment of luminance range more and more. It is fast easy, and usually close enough to get the print how I want it. Most of all, it is very fast.
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)