Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hummie's World: Light Metering Photography Challenge

Hummie's World: Light Metering Photography Challenge

As always, all photographs will open in a new
window so that you can view them large.

Goldenrod: exposure compensation settings, left to right: -0.3, 0.0, +0.3

Hummie has offered us this Light Metering Photography Challenge which I have done because I need to learn as much as I can about cameras. I had begun learning about exposure through trial and error already, but this challenge has added to my knowledge. Histograms are an important topic to know so that you understand the relationship between exposure, what you see in the view finder, and what you are shooting.

Exposure is important to me because of flower and macro photos. I often have my flowers over exposed, especially if they are white or yellow flowers. If I use the flash for macros I also have overexposed shots. Learning about the histogram on iPhoto and my camera, I learned how to use the exposure settings to my advantage.

I have a Kodak Z710 point-and-shoot camera. I have "exposure compensation" and not the exposure settings the rest of you may have. For less exposure, I move a toggle down to -0.3, -0.7, -1.0, etc. And for more exposure, I move it up so to +0.3, +0.7, etc. The default setting is 0.0. I have found that using the camera's histogram and exposure compensation settings together does me little good. My eye is now what I trust, but I look at the settings to calibrate my eye to what the numbers read. I tend to enjoy photos that are slightly underexposed. I will be very interested in your opinion.

New England Aster: exposure compensation settings, left to right: -2.0, -1.67, -0.67, 0.0

These New England Aster photos are interesting because I like the dark purple best, yet the flower actually looked like the last photo with compensation setting of 0.0. If the sun disappeared, as happened the day I took these, the color of the flower became darker. The sun is what over- and under exposes our photos. Perhaps our preferences are caused by our personal preferences for exposure to the sun. If, like me, you prefer to be in the shade, you may prefer under exposed photos.

While preparing these aster photos for this post, I noticed that other settings such as shutter, aperture, exposure index and focal length changed. I don't know how that happened because I tried to keep all variables constant except what I was learning, the exposure compensation (or exposure bias). In all the other sets of photos here I have only one variable that I tested.

Little Flume, Dixville Notch, New Hampshire
Exposure compensation, left to right: -1.0, -0.67, -0.3, 0.0, +0.3, +0.67

For the photos of the Little Flume above I purposefully used a dozen different exposure compensation settings. In the view finder the water was always too bright. I am not satisfied with any of these photos because of that problem. The surrounding vegetation and rocks show the effects of the different exposures, but the water is just a mass of undifferentiated light.

Spotted Joe Pye-Weed exposure compensation: -0.3, 0.0, +0.3

These are my favorite photos of this whole week of the light metering challenge. I am very confident with purple flowers now and knew exactly what I wanted to see in the view finder. I referenced the exposure compensation setting and histogram, which confirmed that I prefer under exposed photos of flowers. I could easily tell when this Joe Pye-Weed was focused, but I couldn't with the goldenrod or asters. I got exactly what I wanted.

I learned a lot with this challenge and confirmed a lot that I knew. I need to continue learning how to photograph fast flowing water and the relationship between all of the available settings on my camera.

Hummie's new challenge is an ISO ChaIlenge. I don't even know what that means yet!

Please be sure to leave me constructive comments so that I can learn more.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow, not just one example, but lots of them! Love what you have done and love that you are learning the same things as I am right now!

    You'll have to go back and do all the other challenges before this one if you have not...I have learned a TON about my camera this summer ...all by playing!

    That histogram is still a permanent setting on my camera! Love it!

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