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 Post subject: Meter Readings
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:46 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi All,

I have often seen in photography magazines, where someone will say when photographing an object, they "took a reading off the grass", or a "reading off the sand" or a "reading off the sky" etc.

What do they mean by this? :huh:
Why is it different from a general shot for eg?
How is it done?

Thanks
Yoda


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 Post subject: Re: Meter Readings
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:15 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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When you take a picture your camera will calculate the exposure. Your camera assumes that the scene you are taking a picture of on average reflects 18% gray. In most cases this is true, but there are situations where you have to manually correct the exposure. When a scene reflects more light than 18% gray then you have to overexpose (add exposure stops) and when a scene reflects less light then you have to underexpose.

Green grass, a clear blue sky, some colours of bark etcetera refect 18% of the light. When you spot meter off green grass you'l know for sure that the exposure will be spot on. In the era of slide films getting your exposure spot on was extremely important as you couldn't fix the exposure afterwards. In digital photography it's less important to get the exposure spot on as you fix the exposure during post processing (if you shoot in RAW format!).

Check this website for more detailed information.


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 Post subject: Re: Meter Readings
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:02 am 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi Madach,

Thanks for that.
So that would bring me to my next question:
For wildlife photography, which type of metering is best? Spot, centre weighted etc

Thanks
Yoda


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 Post subject: Re: Meter Readings
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:37 am 
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That second question really depends on your situation. If you take a pic of a group of animals in an open plain, I would go multi metering, taking the whole area into consideration for correct exposure. If, for instance, an animal is standing in the sun but his whole surrounding is in the shade, go fo centr weighted metering to expose correctly for the animal, otherwise your animal would be over exposed. Also, remember to lock you exposure and recompose if neccesary.

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 Post subject: Re: Meter Readings
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:22 pm 
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There is no "best metering" method for wildlife photography, it all depends on the situation. I usually use matrix metering and manually adjust exposure depending on the situation. Regardless of the method you use you can (or should) always use the histogram to check the exposure.


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 Post subject: Re: Meter Readings
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:40 pm 
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madach wrote:
you can (or should) always use the histogram to check the exposure.


Yip, good point! :thumbs_up: Depending on the situation of course, but "normally" try to get your mid tones high in the middle. If most pix is to the right, you are heading to an over exposed shot and with most pixels to the left your are heading towards and under exposed shot, which is better than over exposed though.

There is no fixed rule though, it depends on the subject, situation, effect you want etc etc...

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 Post subject: Re: Meter Readings
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:34 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Johannesburg - too far from the closest Sanpark
I sometimes use spot-metering if I'm shooting birds against overcast skies etc

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 Post subject: Re: Meter Readings
Unread postPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:37 pm 
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Honorary Virtual Ranger
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Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
The easiest example for Yoda is the famous sunset. (Or sunrise.)

Just framing your shot will result in a white-out around the sun, and way to dark foreground, as the camera will meter incorrectly for your purpose.

So you grab a reading from the sky away from the sun, reframe the photo and click. Perfect photo!

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