I never took snow images with my mamiya 7. I was wondering how should i meter a general snow scene because of mamiya's 7 spot meter. Shall I meter for the snow and then open up two stops or shall I meter for a darker object in a scene, for example a building or a tree and still open up one stop. I always use the ae mode and then use the exposure compensation if necessary. I will be shooting with the new portra 400 film. Any suggestions will be appreciated. In the mean time I will start bracketing my shots but the snow is melting at a rapid pace so I do not have the time to wait for development if I want correct exposures right away.
If your spot meter in the camera is just reading snow only, then just set the exposure compensation dial on the top of the camera to +2. Simple as that.
Originally Posted by lovetodraw
I would say that metering for a single value is less precise (yet faster) than to scan the scene for darkest and lightest areas that you want to have textures in them. Using a simple +2 compensation for snow may not always yield desired results. If you go that route you just leave out other values without attention. Also +2 compensation (Zone VII) should correspond to lightest grey values rather than bright whites (but that can vary). I think color negative films should be able to handle slightly higher placement like VIII or even IX (+3 to +4).
You can't use a general rule like "open up 2 stops" because every scene is different. But as you understand the way a camera meter works, ultimately translating whatever it's pointed at into middle gray, then you can simply use that understanding to measure the various values with in a scene and then calculate the high and low values and expose accordingly. It sounds slower and more complicated than it is. And if a scene is particularly special, then bracket just to be safe.
The spot meter is a more powerful tool in the skilled hands than an averaging meter, I have a camera with both metering patterns and rarely use averaging mode, spot metering is not much slower but eliminates compensation dial guesswork. I highly recommend reading the Zone System basics regarding exposure (and the rest of it too!)
Thank you all for your fast replies. I think I am going to use the zone system as well brackting methods and just see what happens. In the past I got crazy colours in a scene by not using over compensation when pointing at a light part of the scene. I have adjusted where to place the meter and adjusted accordingly for compensation. I will be heading out tomorrow and bring a few rolls to experiment and hopefully we get another snow storm to experiment with. Thank you so much.
Wait a minute. The Mamiya 7 has a spot meter? Mine doesn't.
Anyway, I have shot a lot of snow scenes with my Mamiya gear. I either use the sunny f/16 rule or meter the open north sky. Both ways work well.