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  1. #1

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    How Do You Meter?

    There are so many excellent photographers here, I know each of you will have a different approach to metering. One thing that strikes me with each of your images is how each has a certain feel to it, one I try to duplicate but rarely do. I realize that there are many factors that go into each image - composition, focus, Exposure, developing, printing, etc. I have attached an image that I can see in my minds eye, but as yet have been able to get onto paper. The question is how would you meter the scene? If I get the bricks dark enough the whites look muddy to me, it the whites are right the bricks are to lite. Ideas, spot metering and reflected would help.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    BTW, I realize there are other problems with this image (ie not square, tilt, etc.)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails SF_Depot_1.jpg  
    Mike C

    Rambles

  2. #2

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    I'm a meter by instinct person, so I doubt I can help. Usually to start the day I do an ambient reading reading shadow highlight then averaging. After that it's by the feel and look of the light or if I'm shooting into the shadows I'll adjust accordingly. It's the shape and the light that tells you how to expose the film. The meter only gives you values.

  3. #3
    sparx's Avatar
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    I rely on my cameras meter, a handheld meter and the old axiom 'if in doubt - bracket'.
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  4. #4
    Ole
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    It all depends...

    If I shoot my Pentax Mz-5N, I rely on the camera meter. It has a lower miss rate than anything I do.

    If I use a 35mm meterless camera, I guess. Same with MF folders and my 9x12cm Bergheil.

    With "proper" MF and colour film, I take one incident reading pointing the meter over my shoulder, then use that setting until the light changes.

    With LF I generally spot meter and do the whole zone thing, then check my setting against an incident reading - unless i just guess about everything. It depends on the subject, time of day, and the weather conditions. I guess a lot when it's raining...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  5. #5

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    After composing and focusing the scene on the 8x10 groundglass I would stand in front of the lens and pan the spot meter on practically all areas of the scene using the EV setting. The low and high values will give me my SBR (subject brightness range), which will then give me the correct shutter and f stop setting for exposing my negatives for contact printing on AZO paper. The SBR will also determine the amount of time I would develop my film using BTZS style tubes, most likely with minimal agitation. I take only one shot per scene.

  6. #6
    Ole
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    As for your image, perhaps printing it on a higher grade with preflashing to keep details in the highlights? Maybe I would try lith printing? 2-bath developer? I don't think it's a metering problem - if it's a problem at all, it's in the printing. Or possibly film development.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  7. #7

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    i use my sekonic incident light meter to meter the light.
    I am not a zone system user....yet.
    I take the incident reading in the shade and adjust the exposure accordingly.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by photomc
    I have attached an image that I can see in my minds eye, but as yet have been able to get onto paper. The question is how would you meter the scene? If I get the bricks dark enough the whites look muddy to me, it the whites are right the bricks are to lite.
    Perhaps you should mount the print on a black mat so the whites will look brighter. White is a very relative 'color'. An as stated previously a bit of contrast will help. Don Millers masking techniques would be a boon here.
    Gary Beasley

  9. #9

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    Perhaps it is not your metering but the quality of light falling on the building. I see no shadows, which means either it is an overcast day or another building is blocking direct sunlight. Your problem is not enough contrast to give the print a "glow" in the whites.

    If you are using the zone system I would place the bricks on zone III and the whites on Zone VIII. If you are using the BTZS, then there must be a problem in your developing testing, as this seems to be a situation with a SBR of 5, and the BTZS automatically takes into account low contrast.

    IOW, try metering for zone III and give it N+2 development.

    There are other solutions, you can selenium tone your negative to increase the highlights densities, you can change papers, make masks, etc. Is up to you if you want to do the appropriate solution in camera on in the darkroom.

    The image has potential, you just need to work at it a little bit.

  10. #10
    Jim Moore's Avatar
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    Mike,

    Is this a location that you can revisit?

    If so why not go back and bracket the hell out of it. Then you would have a choice of several negatives to print.

    Just a thought.

    I really like this image and think it would be worth the effort to reshoot if you are unable to print your current negative.

    Jim

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