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  1. #41
    CPorter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPorter View Post
    That would probably be the better use of an incident meter IMO, since it does take into account acutal reflective values at both the dark and the light end of the range.
    Markbarendt has made a good point in an IM to me. I did not mean to imply that an incident meter takes into account reflective values, although that's what I said precisely (a plain case of poor choice of words). I wanted to say that it does start to hone in on the actual SBR of the scene, only not in actual reflective values, but only in the extremes of light intensity in the scene.

    It was a good catch Mark.

    Chuck

  2. #42
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    "To measure incidental light any meter must be...pointed at the camera position."

    I keep hearing this repeated everywhere I go. What is the logic behind it? Why would you point an incident meter at the camera if your aim is to measure the light falling on the subject?

    The best argument I have got so far is that the instruction booklet for the meter says to do it.

    Do we learn the ideal methods to photograph from our equipment instruction manuals? They are some of the most abridged, non-technical, rule-of-thumb-filled (and often poorly translated) pieces of photography literature out there.

    Do you want to measure the light that is coming from your camera's position, or do you want to measure the light that is illuminating your subject? In some cases they may be the same light, however, this does not make the "at the camera" method a correct rule of thumb. It simply means that it works in situations in which the same light that is illuminating the back of the camera as is illuminating the subject.

    The contrastier the light, the more important it becomes to meter the main light source itself to determine the proper exposure. On a flat day, "at the camera" will work...but don't think of it as "at the camera". Think of it as "at the source of light", which on a flat day is the same thing at "at the camera".

    Take a studio situation with a 2:1 lighting ratio, assuming the subject is a person looking straight at the camera. You have three options:

    1. Meter from the main-lit side of the face toward the main light.
    2. Meter from the fill-lit/unlit side of the face toward the fill light (or no light).
    3. Meter from the middle by pointing the meter straight ahead from the subject's nose (at the camera in this particular composition).

    Work through this and figure out which method is "best" for giving you the exposure that will render the lighting as you crafted it to be in the studio. (Remember that you have used your skills to light the person in a 2:1 ratio.)

    1. The exposure is made so that the main-lit side of the face is exposed normally. The fill/unlit side of the face falls into place perfectly in relation to the main-lit side, because it was lit to do so by you.

    2. The exposure is made so that the fill-lit/unlit side of the face is metered, therefore this side is exposed normally. Because you intended this side of the face to be dark, the shot is overexposed.

    3. Because your meter is taking half of its reading from the brighter side, and the other half from the darker side, it thinks that there is less light than there actually is coming from the main light, and therefore will tell you to overexpose your shot.

    Change the lighting ratio to 1:1, think through it, and you will see that the problem goes away.

    Change the lighting ratio to 4:1, think through it, and you will see that the problem is exacerbated, and you get a pretty poorly exposed shot (one stop over if metered at the camera) that is probably only usable if using negative film and doing some compensation in printing. At 8:1, it is even worse, and you get a very poorly exposed shot (1.5 stops over if metered at the camera), again, salvageable only if using negative film and then doing some print manipulation beyond the norm.

    This is why I say that the contrastier the light on the subject, the more important it becomes to meter the main light source instead of the "down the middle" average, which is what you get by pointing the thing at the camera all the time.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 02-07-2010 at 02:19 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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  3. #43
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    CPorter, can you explain this? "Did you say you had a Gossen Luna Pro? Set it to 1/250 at f8 and you'll see there are three stops between the shadowed reading and the sunlight reading." Explain Shadow reading and Sunlight reading please.
    "Generalizations are made because they are generally true"
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  4. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    "To measure incidental light any meter must be...pointed at the camera position."

    I keep hearing this repeated everywhere I go. What is the logic behind it? Why would you point an incident meter at the camera if your aim is to measure the light falling on the subject?
    I'm an amateur, but...

    The subject is three-dimensional. So some choice has to be made about not just "the light falling on the subject", but the light falling on certain parts of the subject. Sometimes the subject will be lit evenly but that's rare unless you specifically set out to do so (and do it well). If there's a streetlamp reflecting off a newspaper box and illuminating my subject's rear while I'm taking a picture of their face from the bust up, my "incident" reading will be a lot more useful if it takes into account the light falling on the subject that will actually be in the frame.

    Is that wrong? I realize that semantically this makes it maybe more a consideration of "reflection", in a sense, but... at a fundamental level reflected light is the only thing that matters, since it's the only thing we see. Or not?
    -brian hayden
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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by stradibarrius View Post
    CPorter, can you explain this? "Did you say you had a Gossen Luna Pro? Set it to 1/250 at f8 and you'll see there are three stops between the shadowed reading and the sunlight reading." Explain Shadow reading and Sunlight reading please.
    In your post #25 you said you had a Luna Pro. In my post #29 with my example photos, I gave the exposures for each photo. The shadowed incident reading was at f8 and the sunlit incident reading was at f22, three stops difference.

    I was only suggesting that you look at those on your Luna Pro meter.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by stradibarrius View Post
    Because I am doing the photography thing in reverse to many of the folks with lots of experience, starting with digital and moving forward (IMHO) to film I have much more experience with the in camera meter. I am trying to learn to use my hand held more effectively. My old Luna Pro, analogue model, seems to have so much information that I have not taken advantage of yet. Learning to use the incident capability is some of that information. Of all my cameras my RB67 is my favorite and I need to learn to use my hand held effectively with this camera. I shot a roll of film yesterday and exposed each still life scene based on the reflective reading and then the next frame on the incident reading. I am thinking this will teach me something?????
    stradibarrius:

    The advantage you have in this situation is that you know the subject you work with quite well. You know how the highlights should appear, and how the shadows appear when the photograph looks best.

    This does allow you to work backwards.

    The incident meter measures the light itself. Assuming you can get into position to actually read the light that falls on the subject, as long as you point it in the right direction, it will give you useful objective information about the light.

    With the exception of some very special circumstances (very dark, or very light subjects mainly), an incident reading will give you the correct exposure.

    A meter measuring reflected light will give you a reading influenced by both the light, and the reflectance of the subject. A reflected light reading will need to be interpreted, and most likely adjusted, to be correct.

    If you would like to benefit from your earlier experience, you probably need to compare a reading taken with your in-camera digital camera (in manual mode) with the incident and reflected light readings given by your hand meter.

    That comparison will give you information about how the meters accept and respond to light (e.g. the angle of acceptance).

    Matt

  7. #47
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zumbido View Post
    The subject is three-dimensional. So some choice has to be made about not just "the light falling on the subject", but the light falling on certain parts of the subject. Sometimes the subject will be lit evenly but that's rare unless you specifically set out to do so (and do it well).
    This is definitely part of what I attempted to encompass with my point.

    Where the camera lens is has absolutely nothing to do with taking an incident light reading. It is where the light is that matters.
    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)

  8. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    This is definitely part of what I attempted to encompass with my point.

    Where the camera lens is has absolutely nothing to do with taking an incident light reading. It is where the light is that matters.
    Not quite true.

    We usually want to have the bit the camera sees, the bit that will be captured on film, to be exposed the way we want it. Who cares about the parts of the subject we don't see?

    So where the camera lens is relative to the subject does indeed matter. It determines what parts of the subject will be on film, which will not.

    They don't say those things for nothing, you know.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    This is definitely part of what I attempted to encompass with my point.

    Where the camera lens is has absolutely nothing to do with taking an incident light reading. It is where the light is that matters.
    But wouldn't a corollary be that the light falling on the subject from the direction the camera is viewing is very likely to be the light we want to meter for? Since, after all, that's the light that we'll be viewing the subject in for the photograph.
    -brian hayden
    http://fed-2.org

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    This is definitely part of what I attempted to encompass with my point.

    Where the camera lens is has absolutely nothing to do with taking an incident light reading. It is where the light is that matters.
    But wouldn't a corollary be that the light falling on the subject from the direction the camera is viewing is very likely to be the light we want to meter for? Since, after all, that's the light that we'll be viewing the subject in for the photograph.
    -brian hayden
    http://fed-2.org



 

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