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  1. #1
    dwdmguy's Avatar
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    Question about exposing for the shadows pls..

    Good day.
    When it's said to expose for the shadows, is this specifically for the blacks or middle gray please? Then recompose?

    I use a leica M6.

    Thank you much.

  2. #2
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    What they don't say is that to do this you generally need a zone scale to do it easily. So, meter any area from black to middle gray in your scene and assign it the appropriate zone from I to V according to the accepted zone system nomenclature. For example on the Leica's spot meter you point the spot to a shadow area in which you need reasonable detail and call it Zone III and make the meter reading, then subtract (or close down) 2 stops to make the exposure.
    Last edited by ic-racer; 04-01-2009 at 05:38 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
    dwdmguy's Avatar
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    ic-racer, thank you very much.
    No recomposing? The leica meter area is pretty small, 18% I think, so if I dont have any zones 1 to 5 in the meter area would I not then recompose or am I missing something simple?
    Again, thank you.

  4. #4
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwdmguy View Post
    ic-racer, thank you very much.
    No recomposing?
    Edited out. Thought you were using a handheld meter at first

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Here is a 'zone wheel' you can print out with which to experiment.
    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/misc/zswheel.pdf

    So, if using that wheel with the Leica, realize its meter places thing on Zone V. So, on the wheel, set the zone metered (ie III) to the speed the camera suggests (1/8th in the example on that page) and expose for the time opposite the 'V' (1/30th in the example).
    Last edited by ic-racer; 04-01-2009 at 06:09 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwdmguy View Post
    Good day.
    When it's said to expose for the shadows, is this specifically for the blacks or middle gray please?
    First this saying is normally for negative film.

    You simply meter (spot or Incident) in the darkest shadows that you want to see detail in and then "place" those shadows by stopping down maybe 2 stops (your mileage will vary and you need experience with the film to know what works best for you). This typically puts those shadows in "zone 3". Middle gray is normally in "zone 5", Caucasian skin in "zone 6", each zone is one stop.

    You ignore the highlights when deciding on the camera exposure and that is why this technique is not normally used for trannies.

    I find that for C41 this works great but the cheap proof prints I get back from a mini-lab are typically "light" (a bit on the pastel side) but the negatives are just great, detail everywhere I wanted it.

    Same basic idea for B&W, just add contrast to get a nice final print.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwdmguy View Post
    I use a leica M6.

    Thank you much.
    Doesn't matter what camera, just need to know how the meter works.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #7

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    Basically what your talking about is the application of the zone system and it can be only somewhat applicable in 35mm b&w photography. It is really set up for single sheet developing. The whole idea is to compensate the exposure and developing routine in order to expand or contract the range of brightness in the neg in order to get detail in the shadows and highlights. In 35mm photography it is harder since you will normally have many different exposures on a roll. If your looking to just shoot the shadows tho, any meter will give you a middle gray value. Normally you underexpose the scene in order to show your interpretation of the low values as low and not middle gray unless you want middle gray values.
    W.A. Crider

  8. #8
    dwdmguy's Avatar
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    Guys, thanks you so much. I'll print out tomorrow and have fun learning. This has been a big help.
    Very best to you both.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwdmguy View Post
    Good day.
    When it's said to expose for the shadows, is this specifically
    for the blacks or middle gray please? Then recompose?
    Blacks are black. If they register not at all on the film just
    as well. Meter for those shadow areas which should register
    then assign a zone; for shadows with important pictorial
    interest zone 3 is appropriate.

    All meters make a zone 5 reading, shadows or highlights.
    Each zone represents one stop. So, to expose correctly
    for a meter reading based upon zone 3 shadows
    reduce exposure by 2 stops.

    The meter reading, depending upon the scene,
    may or may not be part of the scene to
    be photographed. Dan

  10. #10
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dancqu View Post
    Blacks are black. If they register not at all on the film just as well.
    Dan makes a great point here, basically black in the frame represents a perfectly underexposed area. If you know how many stops down it takes to get an underexposure you can "place" where the blacks start.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

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