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  1. #1

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    Incident Meter and Snow

    I went out today with my RB67 and took photographs of the snow using a Sekonic incident meter. I set an exposure at EV14 and exposed it at EV12 in order to get white snow. However, I am now wondering if I overexposed it. Is it necessary to compensate in order to avoid 18% grey snow with an incident meter or not? If the negatives are indeed overexposed, I would of course need to compensate in the development. The film is FP4+ and the developer is D-76. Any suggestions?
    Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014

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  2. #2
    frank's Avatar
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    3 stops over-exposed. With an incident meter and snow, one can reduce exposure by one stop to preserve detail in the snow. It's a reflected light meter reading of snow that should be adjusted as you did.
    My blog / photo website: http://frankfoto.jimdo.com/

  3. #3
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    When you are using an incident meter, what you are doing is placing middle grey. Therefore, within the contrast range of the film, no adjustment is necessary. Things fall into place around middle grey, and if they are too far away from a mid tone for your particular film to capture with texture or detail, then they are either black or white. You can manipulate what extremes the film can capture via deviations from the norms of exposure and development, but unless you are doing this, there should be no exposure adjustments when using an incident meter.

    So, yes, your negatives are overexposed by two stops.

    The contrast within the compositions (coupled with what you want from the photos, of course) will determine what you should do in development to help compensate for the overexposure.

    It is also possible that you picked up some "extra" light from the snow if it was a clear day and you did not point the meter directly at the light source (Sun), but at the camera lens. In that case, your meter thought there was more light than there actually was, and told you to underexpose a bit. If so, you are perhaps only 1.5 stops overexposed.
    2F/2F

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by frank View Post
    3 stops over-exposed. With an incident meter and snow, one can reduce exposure by one stop to preserve detail in the snow. It's a reflected light meter reading of snow that should be adjusted as you did.
    Making that adjustment diminishes tonality by a stop across the entire negative. This is not necessary, as you can simply underdevelop the negative to preserve detail in the snow without lowering every other tone in the picture. To get what you describe, you can simply darken the print. No need to underexpose the whole neg to do it.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 01-30-2010 at 05:27 PM. 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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  5. #5

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    Forgot to mention the conditions. It was over cast.
    Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014

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  6. #6
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkroom317 View Post
    Forgot to mention the conditions. It was over cast.
    In that case, the meter reading should have been dead on no matter where you pointed it (at the haze/fog/clouds that were providing the illumination, or at the camera). You are two stops over.

    I would develop minus one or normally, as it was not a high-contrast lighting situation anyhow (though some compositions in low-contrast lighting conditions can still have a wide luminance range). FP4 does not easily block up in the highlights. I might do a one stop pull, but not two. If it was a clear snowy day, I might pull two.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 01-30-2010 at 05:26 PM. 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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  7. #7

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    Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014

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  8. #8
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    As I posted in the beginning of the thread, over expose by two stops in the bring sun for reflectance meters in snow scenes when the percentage of snow areas is large.

    Let me expand this with the generalized rule.
    If a large portion of the scene is bright white, example snow, open the aperture two stops [smaller f/numbers].
    If a large portion of the scene is bright black or very dark, example night photography, close the aperture two stops [larger f/numbers].

    Steve
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  9. #9
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Good rules of thumb for reflected light meters, but the OP is talking about an incident meter, with which such fiddling is not necessary.
    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)

  10. #10

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    So, development at EI 80 would probably be best, right?
    Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Arts: Journalism - University of Arkansas 2014

    Canon A-1, Canon AE-1, Canon Canonet GIII 17, Argus 21, Rolleicord Va, Mamiya RB67, Voigtländer Bessa

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