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  1. #81

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    Quote Originally Posted by CPorter View Post
    Are you implying that the use of a spot meter means that the photographer does not have to think as much or rely on his judgment as much about exposure as the user of an incident meter. This would be entirely false if that is what you mean----I'm sure I have read more into it than what you mean, but thought I would ask any way.
    I was suggesting just the opposite.
    Or rather, opposing the suggestion that spot metering is more precise.

    The suggestion was that a spot meter is more accurate, because (basically) you point it at something, and then you know something about that.
    You don't.
    You will have to use your judgement, look at the bit you have pointed the meter at, and then decide what the meter reading actually means.

    Using a spot meter, you can get relative readings from different parts of the subject, and that with a suggested great accuacy. But what to do with those readings is up to the photographer.

    Making use of the same know-how, the same 'user input', incident light metering is easily as accurate.
    But it is more, because it is unaffected by reflective properties of the subject, giving you an accurate, 'objective' starting point, without needing guesswork, whereas the spot meter (or any other reflective light metering) does not. Reflected light metering always needs (preferably) educated guesswork.

  2. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbarendt View Post
    Cute question.

    Real answer.

    Consider a sunset, put a person between the camera and the sunset.

    Use your incident meter, as you would a reflective meter, by pointing it at the sunset from the camera.

    Shoot.
    That works for a sunset.

    But not very much else (if anything) you want to silhouette.

  3. #83
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Certainly; If you want to take an averaged reading for the entire composition, point the meter back at the camera...

    ...however, my point is: Why would you ever want to take an averaged reading for the entire composition? How could it ever help you? It defeats most of the benefits of using a stand-alone light meter...such as giving you the information to help you take fine control over your exposures by allowing you to point the thing at things other than what appears in the camera's viewfinder. In other words, the ability to meter independent of composition.

    As I have said, the times I would accept an averaged reading for the entire composition is if, due to the quality of the light, I know I would get the same exact reading no matter where I point the meter. (1:1 staged ratios, flat days, etc.) I have said this a few times in the thread; that the "at the camera" method will work in certain situations...but not because it is at the camera. Simply because in all practicality, "at the camera" will give the same reading as "at anything" in that particular light.

    I am interested in measuring the average amount of light that is falling from the light source I choose to meter, totally independent of composition. I am not interested in measuring the average amount of light that is falling on the composition. This information would do me less good than my alternative.

    If I want to meter specific elements within a composition, then I want to measure reflected values, and I do so. When I use incident meters, it is simply to measure the amount of falling light from a particular source, composition aside.

    BTW, I am not recommending to point the meter at a backlight to get an exposure for the front of a person. Not at all. That would be ridiculous. (I said to do that if you want a silhouette.) In this situation, the backlight may be the strongest light present, but that does not mean it is the main light. Not one bit. The definition of "main light" is not simply "the brightest light". It is the brightest light that is illuminating the part of the subject that will be photographed. (This means that in a totally silhouetted situation, with no exposure at all from the person, there is no main light; only a backlight.) Outdoors, where the Sun is the backlight, the main light on the person is reflecting onto the person from other objects, such as the sky, the ground, structures, etc. Due to the quality of this sort of light, this is likely one of the situations in which "at the "camera" will work fine.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 02-08-2010 at 04:32 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."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1234 View Post
    Fill reflectors and/or flash. :-)
    Detail kills the silhouette.

    The intent is to let the person in that example drop nearly to black.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Q.G. View Post
    Reflected light metering always needs (preferably) educated guesswork.
    I see what you mean for the most part. But have to disagree with the above in terms of a spot meter. I never have to guess anything with the use of my spot meter. However, using a 30 degree wide area reflective meter(like my Luna Pro F with the dome slide to the side) or in-camera center-weighted metering I would have to agree with you.

    But using the incident requires intelligent "guesswork" as well , IMO. It does not provide the user with an idea of the strength of those individual "reflective properties"; I consider that vital since the film records the intensity of reflected light and not the intensity of the incident light. But these are user-specific arguments and don't mean much beyond that, IMHO, good works are produced from both means, it's what one finds best for them.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Q.G. View Post
    That works for a sunset.

    But not very much else (if anything) you want to silhouette.
    Well let me start a list with two possibilities.

    1 - High key studio work uses the incident/flash meter behind the subject pointed at the background to make sure the light reaching the back of the subject is right. What this controls is a halo effect. Too much and you get a halo that interferes with a portrait, not enough and the subjects hair looks flat.

    One fun thing to do with this high key background is to leave the main lights off or very low. This is a setup used regularly for High School Senior Portraits and sports shots.

    2 - Take a look at much of the work of Phil Borges. Many of his environmental portraits that at first glance appear to be full sun shots (from all over the world in some pretty wild looking areas) have used off camera strobes and I'm betting from the flatness of the light a nice size soft box or similar. The shadows in the backgrounds and the catch-lights in the subjects eyes are dead giveaways.

    To do that Phil had to meter behind his subjects somehow (the camera position and subjects in a fair number of his shots appears to me to be in shade) and then he would place that exposure in the zones he liked finally he would light the subject with the lights.

    If I were doing my final setup for these shots I'd be pointing my incident meter at the background, not the camera.

    There are a lot of magazine covers being shot using techniques similar to what I've just described here.

    ---

    So there really are regular mainstream everyday uses where pointing the incident meter at the background makes sense.
    Last edited by markbarendt; 02-08-2010 at 06:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  7. #87

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    I agree with Dr. Jerold. I had recommended the BTZS book as well as being the single best summary of incident and reflective metering that I am aware of. His suggestion as to reaching the SBR in a given scene is the same that I use, and has the advantage of being easy to use, and even easier to apply. Of course, in order to take full advantage of a given SBR one would like to have one's film curves available. Before any here start rolling their eyes, realize that such data is very easy to obtain, is simple to use, and if one wants to obtain such information, the costs are not at all prohibitive. Simply get in touch with Fred Newman at The View Camera Store who can provide information about the "BTZS film service" he supplies. One might obtain similar information from other experts including perhaps, Mr. Ritter in Vermont,and in Europe, perhaps from RHDesigns (if not from Dr. Ross, then perhaps from his associate? ). If one desires to obtain such information oneself, then there are detailed and easy to follow instructions in the BTZS text by the late Mr. Phil Davis. Other standard texts on the zone system and its applications would also have information as to obtaining one's personal film speeds and film curves, but I believe that Beyond The Zone System has an approach that is easiest to apply. Best of luck. Let me know by PM if more information is needed.

    Disclaimer: I have no business relationships with any of the services or firms mentioned in my post.

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by CPorter View Post
    Jerold,

    I mentioned it in my post #39, but thanks as I never really knew how the incident meter was ultimately used in BTZS, I only knew it was used. However, even based on what you described, the ZS, to me, appears to be so much more fluid in the thought process. But we are obviously both bias! . Both are excellant tools, we've all seen some beautiful photographs from competent practioners of each system.
    Yes, I agree. Unfortunately, I tend to glaze over after 5 posts so #25 is far beyond my attention span. But I agree with you and Mahler One about using the incident meter for zone system work.

    At first, I read through the BTZS stuff in the incident system and blew it off as eccentric and not something I wanted to waste time with. However, I gradually had some frustrations with spot metering and decided to try the incident meter. It is so easy that it is almost disappointing. I am working up the nerve to sell my spot meter but I have a strong attachment to gear that I will never use! I have not used my Sekonic spot meter for the past year since switching over.
    Jerold Harter MD

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter View Post
    I have a strong attachment to gear that I will never use!
    I have the same ailment Doc, when you find a cure let me know ...
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #90

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    It seems like opinions vary a little bit doesn't it?
    I think metering methods may be as bad as religion when it comes down to belief in your system is best. You can evangelize all you want but you're not going to make a lot of conversions.
    I've used both & prefer incident, spot metering was just too much futzing around and was reflected was OK but I'm lazy.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

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