Am I the only one who thinks this is not a metering issue?
If it is cloudy skies you are worrying about, lace the blank sky several degrees away from the sun on Zone Vi and expose.
In other words, with your spot meter meter the sky, open up one stop (move from Zone V to VI) and make the exposure. YOU may also need to alt4er the development. the amount will depend on the film and developer combination. Use of a #12 or 15 filter will darken the sky and increase the contrast. a red, #25, will make the sky black.
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Since you have an incident meter it's easy.
First is dome/lumisphere up/out. Stand in the same light as the subject (your clouds) point the dome toward the camera along a parallel line. If the scene is front to side lit use that reading as your camera setting.
Second is dome/lumisphere down/in. Again in the same light as the subject. This method works well regardless of where the light is coming from. Start by pointing the meter directly at the light source, sun in your case, and take a reading. Next do as above but with the dome in and take a second reading. Average the two readings and use the result to set the camera. This is called duplexing. The reading from the source provides a highlight peg, the other reading a camera view peg. It's a way to find best balance, it retains good highlights and mid tones with little loss in the shadows.
Third is dome in and just point the meter at the source and use that reading. If the clouds are the only subject in the scene that really matters this reading will keep you from blowing any highlights.
Whatever metering method you use, be sure to measure what's most important to you and make sure it's placement makes sense.
Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
Thanks for the input. Going with metering shadows.
You learned a lot about smoke and mirrors, which is to say that most instructions about spot metering are absolute BS.
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
Take an incident reading correctly and use what the meter tells you, unless there's something quite unusual about the scene.
If you have an unusual situation, spot meter the important areas and make adjustments to the exposure if needed.
Last edited by Leigh B; 07-30-2012 at 02:59 PM. Click to view previous post history.
“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato
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I routinely use a spotmeter, so meter for anything relevant, which in the case of bright clouds and
deep shadows in the same scene, means metering both! But after awhile it gets almost instinctive.
Hey guys, Thanks for all your help. I've been out of this for sometime and digital has made very lazy.
Here in Florida the landscapes are often most attractive due to cloud formations ( see Clyde Butcher images). If we spotmeter for the shadows and then use N- development, some of the middle tones and highlights may not print easily. For some of the images in Barry Thorton's "Elements" book, he metered for the highlights, then pre-flashed the film before exposing normally (used a white diffuser filter for pre-flash). Ralph Lambtechth has an entire chapter on pre-flashing film in his book "Way Beyond Monochrome" ( he calls it pre-exposure). Ralph recommends the use of ExpoDisc which is also used by digital photogs for white balance setting. Could prove a useful solution for landscape challenges in New Mexico.
van Huyck Photo
"Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"
I do the same thing. I reduce development by about 20%.
Originally Posted by BMbikerider
When I got back into film I read lots of articles about film testing and finding your personal film speed. The conclusion to most of these was halve the speed and reduce development. So rather than go through all the tests myself, I just went straight to the conclusion, tried it, liked it and carried on doing it.
Below was taken from Expodisc filter.
Adjust the exposure settings to provide for “normal” exposure, and thenincrease the aperture number or shutter speed setting by four full stops.
Increase? Example.. Metering at 125 at F8 for optimal. It says increase four full stops? Are we talking 125 at f32 or the other direction?
I also read that people are using a simple styrene cup to flash.