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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by dfoo View Post
    Its not all that helpful Of course you decide. The question is what you decide. If you incident meter the shadow is it a direct meter, or a meter value -1 stop. If you meter the highlight and use that value (as you would if the subject is in direct light) then the shadows will likely be very dark (assuming here negative films not a slide).
    See my first post in the thread. Incident meters tell you one thing: How to make middle tone at the location of exposure into middle gray on a print. It is up to you to know how to take this information and use to to get what you want. You do this by knowing how to judge the light within your composition, and knowing your materials and methods. If you use a film that is contrasty in contrasty lighting, and follow what the meters says directly, then of course you will have dark areas in the composition. That goes without saying. Take steps to change this if you don't like it. It also goes without saying that how dark the dark areas will be will change from situation to situation and film to film, so general statements such as "the shadows will likely be very dark" should be avoided.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 12-22-2009 at 08:25 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "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."

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  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by CPorter View Post
    This has been answered. But you need to remember that an incident reading will not compensate for shadow values within the scene/subject. That is why all reflective surfaces should be as evenly lit as possible, such as on a sunny day but in evenly illuminated shade or on an overcast day.
    errmmm....You suggest tailoring your light to your meter? I don't get it. You should be able to use your meter in any light in order to get what you want. Otherwise, it is worthless. Telling someone that their lighting needs to change because of the meter they are using is defeating of...well, just about everything! The light comes first. You get it how you want it, or see it how it is naturally. Then you use the meter, in conjunction with your head, to guide your exposure. There is no way that your stated conditions need to be met to use an incident meter.

    What I think you are talking about is addressed by the following (emphasis added):

    "An incident meter measures existing light that is falling from the light source itself, regardless of what light levels are being reflected off of the things within your composition. If you know this, and know your film speed, then you can suggest an exposure that will make a grey card grey. That is all that an incident meter does. Where other tones fall on your negative in relation to the grey card will depend on how many times more or less light than middle grey they reflect, combined with the contrast of your film. If you know through experience that your film with normal exposure and development will not render the range of luminances within the composition in the way you would like, you can tweak exposure and development to manipulate the way your film behaves."

    No; you "should" not tweak your light to match your meter. You "should" choose the right materials and methods to capture what you want from the lighting that you want. Lighting is everything. It has to take priority. Everything else serves that and is controlled by it. It should not be tweaked just because you feel like reading your meter directly and using any old film with any old exposure and development. If we are not putting lighting first, and making everything else revolve around it, why are we taking pictures at all?
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 12-22-2009 at 08:44 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "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)

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    It is correct. ...
    "In a scene in which indirect (reflected or diffused) light is providing the illumination (backlit, overcast/hazy, shade, etc.), then you just hold the meter where the subject is, perpendicular to the ground."
    The manual for my light meter says very simply

    "This is used to measure people, buildings, and other three dimensional objects. Measurements are basically made by the method of measuring with the lumisphere aimed in the camera direction (more precisely, in the direction of the lens axis) at the position of the subject."

    Seems to contradict what you say.

  4. #24

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    "While the 'at the camera' method will work fine in many situations (specifically, those in which the main light source is effectively coming from the same direction as the camera), it is really just a rule of thumb, and does not make one understand what they are doing by measuring incident light, and in the studio, does not give one control over lighting ratios."

    Posted by me, a few posts ago.

    "Seems to contradict what you say."

    It "seems" to do so if you take it as absolute fact, and don't bother to read it carefully.

    It is a rule of thumb...the kind of thing you might find in a brief explanation in an instruction manual. The writing makes this obvious. Hell, they even use the word "basically", so you know that there is more to it than what they wrote. Rules of thumb are things that give acceptable results a good deal of the time to people who don't bother to learn specifics of things. They are not technical explanations or thorough, detailed instructions. They are designed to give average photographers average results an average amount of the time.

    Reading comprehension is a very important skill. Everything you have questioned me on could have been answered by simple high-quality reading of things already written in this thread and in your manual.

    If you want an average direct reading, point the thing at the camera. If you want to measure light, and then use your head to decide what to do to get what you want, you will point it at what you actually want to measure. This may or may not be the same direction as the camera, depending on the situation. At no time did I ever say that you would never be pointing the thing at the camera.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 12-22-2009 at 10:20 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "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)

  5. #25

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    Ok, I understand what you are suggesting. Thanks, helpful!

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Q.G. View Post
    Not sure that i understand, but...
    The incident meter doesn't need to 'compensate' for shadow values, because it 'automatically' allows shadows within the subject to be and remain shadows.

    All reflective surfaces only should be as evenly lit as possible if you want them to appear shadow- and featureless in the image you will be creating.
    I rarely want such a thing, am very happy instead with the way light 'sculpts' things.
    I feel you know what I meant, but let me explain more fully, especially for new analog shooters.

    In a sun shade situation, the incident meter will give empty shadows if read in the sun and it will blow the highlights if read in the shadow. Sun/shade situations are usually handled by taking a reflective reading in the shadow and then reducing the exposure one, two, or even three stops------this compensates for the meter wanting make everything middle gray and provides an end result with a shadow value that is more appropriate to the scene and probably one's visualization.

    Once the middle value is accounted for by taking the incident reading (or a reflective reading from the gray card), then the gray scale is "set", then all the other reflective surfaces will fall on the gray scale relative to their luminance value. Then development and printing controls can be used to tweak the final contrast.

    When I use my spot meter to place a shadow at -2 stops (zone III), then at that point I have fixed the gray scale, then all other reflective surfaces will fall on the gray scale relative to their own luminace value. Then development can be used to increase neg contrast if needed.

    So, again, in a sun/shade mix, when the reading is taken in the sun, the incident measurement can't compensate for ensuring that the shadows are provided adequate exposure (but the photographer can by understanding it limitations). Incident meters and gray cards have their limitations when it comes to providing adequate exposure in all areas of the negative, and both are best used when the illumination is relatively even for the bulk of the reflective surfaces in the scene/subject.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by CPorter View Post
    I feel you know what I meant, but let me explain more fully, especially for new analog shooters.

    In a sun shade situation, the incident meter will give empty shadows if read in the sun and it will blow the highlights if read in the shadow. Sun/shade situations are usually handled by taking a reflective reading in the shadow and then reducing the exposure one, two, or even three stops------this compensates for the meter wanting make everything middle gray and provides an end result with a shadow value that is more appropriate to the scene and probably one's visualization.
    I see what you mean, but i dont think it is correct as such.

    When you take two incident readings, one in the shade one in the sun, you will know how the tone values will fall in both shade and sun, and the difference in illumination between shade and sun (the absolute range).

    If you point a reflective light meter at both the shaded and sunny part, you would know exactly the same, if only you knew what it was (the tonal value) of what you pointed your meter at.

    If you know how to correct the reflected light reading to get the desired result, you will also know how to do the same to the incident light readings.

    The same, except (and this is an important difference) you haven't yet taken the tonal value of the thing you pointed the reflecte dmeter at into account. You don't know, and have to figure out, how the thing the meter was pointed at skews the results.

    So the only difference between incident and reflected light metering is that (as ever) an extra step is needed when using reflected light metering.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfoo View Post
    I don't think what you say is correct. If the subject is, for example, back lit you certainly don't want to meter the backlit portion. You meter on the front of the subject towards the lens.
    That's what I have always read—point the dome toward the camera position.
    Charles Hohenstein

  9. #29
    Lee L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chazzy View Post
    That's what I have always read—point the dome toward the camera position.
    2F/2F is working his way around the backlighting objection by saying (rather obliquely) that the light source isn't the backlight anymore in that situation, but the light source is whatever is causing fill on the side away from the backlight. This is a rather awkward and confusing way to state the case, especially when read by a beginning photographer. 2F/2F is also recommending a method for the studio which is more often used to determine lighting ratios, and is rather more suited to a flat incident plate rather than a hemispherical dome receptor on the meter.

    I have seen one book that recommends splitting the difference between two readings in a sidelit situation, one reading aimed at the camera and one at the light source. All others I've seen, including meter instructions from Gossen, Minolta, Sekonic, and from Ansel Adams, Phil Davis (his Incident Reading Zone System), and many others indicate that the hemisphere should be in the same light as the subject, pointed in the direction from the subject to the camera.

    In the end, a hemispherical receptor incident meter is specifically designed to be used in the same light as the subject, pointed in the same direction as from the subject to the camera. The reason for the hemispherical dome is to get a decent reading of the the light falling on a 3D subject that will be reflected toward the camera. As you gain experience, you might decide to finesse that reading a bit, but it's the place to start, and to stay until you become smarter than your meter.

    I never saw anyone in the dozens of studios I worked in use a hemispherical incident dome pointed directly at the light source as a final exposure reading unless the light source was in line with the camera or they were trying to underexpose the shadow side of an object. The meter was pointed with the dome toward the camera.

    Lee

  10. #30

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    Depends on what you want to achieve.

    If the aim is to produce a silhouette, you want the side of the subject facing the camera underexposed, you you do not point the meter/dome towards the camera, but towards the back light.

    If you want to have the side of the subject facing teh camera exposed properly, you of course meter the light falling on that side of the subject, and point teh dome towards the camera.

    Very often, the light is not falling on the subject from either straight behind or straight opposite the camera.
    You then will still see part of the subject lit by the main light from where the camera is. Often (by no means always) the best 'pictorial outcome' is achieved when that bit lit by the main light is exposed properly, allowing the rest to be underexposed.
    You achieve that by pointing the meter/dome towards the light source.

    In general, you point the meter/dome towards the light illuminating the part of the subject you want to have exposed properly.
    (In a silhouette, that bit would be the part you don't see. So then you do point the meter away from the camera, so that the bits that catch the back-light you might still see from the camera, the glowing edges, are exposed properly.)

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