Go Back   Rangefinderforum.com > Cameras / Gear / Photography > Being a Photographer > Technique: How To Shoot It

Technique: How To Shoot It Ask questions about how to take pics, as well as share your own favorite shooting tips.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes

Light reading when facing sun
Old 1 Week Ago   #1
Captain Kidd
Registered User
 
Captain Kidd is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 225
Light reading when facing sun

Hello everyone,

What would be the best process to take a light reading when facing into oncoming light. Today I was in a park, heavy bright sun. When using the light meter with my back to the sun I take a light reading by pointing the light meter towards the camera, and ultimately towards the sun too. Is it the same light reading I should use facing any other direction, it makes sense that it is, considering the light hasn’t changed or should I make an allowance if I turn to face towards the sun?
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #2
Papercut
Registered User
 
Papercut's Avatar
 
Papercut is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Westchester county, NY (and Chongqing whenever I can get there)
Posts: 949
Hi CK,

Please don't take offense at this response. It's not meant to be cheeky or dismissive, but to suggest that it's impossible for other people to give you the "right" answer and that you're better off experimenting (systematically) and making your own decision.

The real answer is, "It depends." This is because there is no "correct" reading for the situation you describe (or any other lighting situation). Rather, there are only readings and settings that will produce different renditions of the light. You have to specify what your intended rendition is before anyone can even begin to say which method will get close to your intended goal.

No matter what advice you get here in other replies, I'd recommend that the next time you are in similar conditions you should shoot a bunch of frames using different meterings (and intermediate settings too). Then look at the results and see how different exposure settings produce different renderings of the same light and framing. After doing that, you'll have a much better understanding that you can use in the future to make decisions about which reading method will produce the kind of rendering you want to make in that specific place/time.

PS You don't say whether you are using an incident or reflected meter. Metering procedure and readings are very different for each.
__________________
-- Kevin

=========
Only connect.
=========

flickr photostream
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #3
Captain Kidd
Registered User
 
Captain Kidd is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 225
No offense taken at all, I completely agree and testing is what I aim to do. And you’re right I should have mentioned, it’s an incident meter so facing it away from the sun, and towards the camera, when shooting towards the sun is what made me thing ‘hold on this has to be wrong’. I was wondering if most people change their setting or stick with what was indicated when taking a meter reading with your back to the sun, and the incident facing the sun.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #4
retinax
Registered User
 
retinax is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 509
Papercut is right of course. I expect an interesting discussion to ensue.

I'll say that assuming you use an incident meter and want to make something like a portrait that is backlit, but you need normal exposure for the face, which would be in the shade, you should use an incident metering away from the sun. If the light meter is in the shade that should read about the same as one toward the sun and in the shade of your own body (is that what you described?).
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #5
retinax
Registered User
 
retinax is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 509
My above reply is a little cryptic, what I meant to say is yes, I mostly use a shadow reading (which I think is what you mean) for photos in all directions if there's anything of interest in the shadows, which mostly is the case. Exceptions are open, sunny landscapes without much shade at all and scenes so contrasty that I need to compromise on shadow detail to get enough highlight detail - rare with negative film.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #6
Papercut
Registered User
 
Papercut's Avatar
 
Papercut is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Westchester county, NY (and Chongqing whenever I can get there)
Posts: 949
CK,

Like retinax suggests, if I'm wanting to retain lots of detail in the shadow area, then I'll take an incident meter reading in the shadow (i.e., with my back to the sun, and my shadow falling over the meter sphere). That reading will put the shadows at middle grey and then I adjust either more or less light depending on whether I want the final rendering of the shadow to be lighter or darker.

In general when I'm shooting outdoors, I [ETA: INCIDENT] meter in the sun and then in shade and keep those two readings in mind until the overall light situation changes. Then when I go to make an exposure, I just decide what my intended rendering is for that scene and adjust one of the two basic readings to get my desired look.
__________________
-- Kevin

=========
Only connect.
=========

flickr photostream
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #7
MCTuomey
Registered User
 
MCTuomey's Avatar
 
MCTuomey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: U.S.
Age: 64
Posts: 3,276
Incident meters are designed to be read pointed at the light source for your main subject, meaning if the subject is in direct sun or shade, the meter's disc should be in the same light.

Reflective meters are designed opposite - to be read pointed at the main subject.

"Main subject" = the area which you want to expose at standard (mid or "18%" gray).

One way to get the concept down is to shoot into the sun with your subject facing the camera. Meter and shoot for three outcomes: your subject exposed at mid-gray, your subject exposed to the point of silhouette, your subject exposed to the point of heavily blown background highlights (which will likely overexpose the subject too). If you can do all three at will by metering and then adjusting the indicated reading, I think you'll have got it down well.
__________________
--Mike

My Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #8
Captain Kidd
Registered User
 
Captain Kidd is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 225
In this case I’m not nterested in metering for the shadows, it’s what’s in the sunlight that I wish to expose correctly for, so even then, when shooting facing into the sun, I should take a light reading pointing the incident meter at the sun. This makes most sense to me, even though I feel I should always point the incident meter at the camera.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #9
MCTuomey
Registered User
 
MCTuomey's Avatar
 
MCTuomey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: U.S.
Age: 64
Posts: 3,276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Kidd View Post
In this case I’m not nterested in metering for the shadows, it’s what’s in the sunlight that I wish to expose correctly for, so even then, when shooting facing into the sun, I should take a light reading pointing the incident meter at the sun. This makes most sense to me, even though I feel I should always point the incident meter at the camera.
Hmm. So, if I'm shooting facing the sun and my subject (a person) is facing me (meaning subject's face is in shade and back is to the sun), and I point my incident meter at the sun and use the meter's reading, what kind of exposure do I think I'll get? I believe my subject's face and anterior, who is facing me and the camera with back to sun, will be underexposed. Majorly if the sun is bright, minorly if the sun is not bright.

General incident meter rule: point the disc at the light source which is also the main light of the part of your subject you wish to expose at standard.
__________________
--Mike

My Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #10
Richard G
Registered User
 
Richard G's Avatar
 
Richard G is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: 37,47 S
Posts: 4,876
For a near silhouette against the sunny backlight expose as per Sunny 16 or with your incident meter cone pointing towards the sun. Want to see who is the silhouette then open two to three stops or have the meter cone pointing towards your camera. I don’t think you need to waste a roll of film on this exercise.
__________________
Richard
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #11
Captain Kidd
Registered User
 
Captain Kidd is offline
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 225
Thanks everyone, basically there wasn’t a subject in the sense of a single person I was photographing, I was standing in a park with my back to the sun, I point the incident meter to the camera and take a reading. If I turn around and now find myself facing the sun, it would be correct to use the same reading? To have what’s in the sunlight exposed the same?
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #12
Chriscrawfordphoto
Real Men Shoot Film.
 
Chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
 
Chriscrawfordphoto is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Age: 43
Posts: 8,532
I actually have a tutorial here on RFF for what you're asking about:


https://www.rangefinderforum.com/for...d.php?t=163706
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #13
Papercut
Registered User
 
Papercut's Avatar
 
Papercut is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Westchester county, NY (and Chongqing whenever I can get there)
Posts: 949
Finally we have the critical point: your intention. Yes, the light falling on the scene is the same and so if your intention is to render "the subject" the same, then the exposure would be the same. There's no need, in your example, to meter the scene again: the original metering of the sunlight would still apply since your intent (to render the sunlit portion normally) is the same. The light [ETA: falling on the subject] hasn't changed and neither has your intended rendering, so the exposure would be the same too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Kidd View Post
Thanks everyone, basically there wasn’t a subject in the sense of a single person I was photographing, I was standing in a park with my back to the sun, I point the incident meter to the camera and take a reading. If I turn around and now find myself facing the sun, it would be correct to use the same reading? To have what’s in the sunlight exposed the same?
__________________
-- Kevin

=========
Only connect.
=========

flickr photostream
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #14
Rob-F
Likes Leicas
 
Rob-F's Avatar
 
Rob-F is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: The Show Me state
Age: 77
Posts: 5,545
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Kidd View Post
Thanks everyone, basically there wasn’t a subject in the sense of a single person I was photographing, I was standing in a park with my back to the sun, I point the incident meter to the camera and take a reading. If I turn around and now find myself facing the sun, it would be correct to use the same reading? To have what’s in the sunlight exposed the same?
Now it is clear that you are using an incident meter, and want to photograph a scene that is backlit, and therefore illuminated by reflected skylight, and not by direct sunlight. So if you want to expose only for a subject that is wholly or partly lit by the reflected skylight, and you don't care about the background, which probably has areas such as sky or clouds that would require stopping down for correct exposure, then you would go with the incident reading. Then again, if you need to avoid blowing out those background areas, you would stop down a bit, just not so much as to underexpose the subject facing away from the sun. In other words, you need a compromise exposure. So if you stop down one stop, the subject that is in the shade will still be readable, and that will at least help the background out, a little. The subject will look a little dark, but that is OK, things in the shade ought to look darker than things in sunlight. Stopping down another half stop, maybe even a whole stop, should still keep the subject from going too dark, and helps the background a little more. Ultimately, how much of an adjustment you can make depends on the latitude of the film.

I myself will take both an incident and a reflected reading, and then decide which one to favor. If the incident says 1/125 at 5.6, and the reflected ays f/16, I might try 1/125 at 8 and a half. And bracket!
__________________
May the light be with you.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #15
David Hughes
David Hughes
 
David Hughes's Avatar
 
David Hughes is online now
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 6,837
I wish I knew what happened here; it was a duplicate posting and - these days - can't be deleted. OTOH, I can at least explain it...

Regards, David
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #16
MCTuomey
Registered User
 
MCTuomey's Avatar
 
MCTuomey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: U.S.
Age: 64
Posts: 3,276
What Chris posted. Go there, and incidence be with you!
__________________
--Mike

My Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #17
David Hughes
David Hughes
 
David Hughes's Avatar
 
David Hughes is online now
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 6,837
Talking about back lit subects and negative film only; I would either take an incident light reading from the subject and point the meter at the camera or else copy Olympus's method with the XA and XA3 etc and add (meaning open up) 1½ stops to the average exposure.

You can take an incident light reading to the camera and then an average reflected from the camera and think out the balance between the two but bracketing is a lot easier.

And, of course, there are spot meters; knowing what type of camera and meter would be a help answering this question...

Regards, David
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #18
Steve M.
Registered User
 
Steve M. is offline
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 2,956
You can make this as complicated or as simple as you wish. Whatever your subject is (unless it's snow or a black cat), you want to meter whatever light your subject is in. If there is a wide range of shadow and light in your subject matter, either meter in between the high and low places, or expose for what your main subject is and let the rest fall where it may. Usually, the ground is a middle area of exposure. Whatever you do, don't point the meter at the sun! That will give a false reading, you want to be metering your subject.

Normally,with portraits of black folk you will want to over expose 1/2 to 1 stop because the meter is set to 18% gray. If you have both white and black folks in a shot (along w/ all the shades in between), bracketing may be best. With today's films, unless you are shooting slides, it isn't that critical, and you will still get good results even if you are off a stop or two. If you are shooting digital, like slide film, you want to be more on the money because if you blow out the highlights they are gonna be gone for good.

Because I am naturally lazy and want the best exposure in the easiest and fastest manner, I use a camera w/ a spot meter and auto exposure. And I do not take multiple readings with it, I meter where my interest is and that is where the exposure stays.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #19
Ccoppola82
Registered User
 
Ccoppola82 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NY
Posts: 178
What I usually do is aim my at the back of my hand so as to simulate a grey card. I take a spot reading off of that and then add one more stop of light to get my skin tone into zone 6. I’ve usually gotten good results this way. You will blow highlights if you do this in bright sun, so if film is being used, use a compensating development method to keep some highlights
__________________
Leica M2/M6
Hasselblad 500CM

Instagram
Coppola_Art
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #20
sepiareverb
genius and moron
 
sepiareverb's Avatar
 
sepiareverb is offline
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St Johnsbury VT
Posts: 8,042
Bracket.

I tend to hold an incident meter to get the same light as the main subject I want exposed “correctly” and bracket if I’m worried that’s too much or little light for the rest of the scene.
__________________
-Bob
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #21
Godfrey
somewhat colored
 
Godfrey's Avatar
 
Godfrey is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 8,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCTuomey View Post
Incident meters are designed to be read pointed at the light source for your main subject, meaning if the subject is in direct sun or shade, the meter's disc should be in the same light....
No. You point the incident meter at the camera from the position of the subject, not at the light, to get the correct reading. To wit:

Quote:
Sekonic L-478 Owner's Manual p23:

4-2-1. Measuring with Incident Light Function ...

Use either extended or retracted (flat) lumisphere to measure incident light. Point the lumisphere at the camera (lens optical axis) from a position close to the subject and then measure. ...

Quote:
Sekonic L-398A Owner's Manual p6:

Incident Light Measurement
...
c. From position where subject is to be measured, point Lumisphere q in direction of camera. ...
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #22
Ko.Fe.
Me. Write ESL. Ko.
 
Ko.Fe.'s Avatar
 
Ko.Fe. is offline
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: MiltON.ONtario
Posts: 6,195
If here is bright sun, I'm using S16. Shutter speed is film ISO. And then I just look at the amount of light of my subject. And adjust aperture.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #23
Chriscrawfordphoto
Real Men Shoot Film.
 
Chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
 
Chriscrawfordphoto is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Age: 43
Posts: 8,532
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
No. You point the incident meter at the camera from the position of the subject, not at the light, to get the correct reading. To wit:
That's true in most cases, but incident meters do not accurately measure backlit scenes; a single reading with the dome pointed at the camera in such light will produce an overexposed image. Not a big deal with negative film, but the shot would be ruined on slide film or digital.

For backlit scenes, you have to use special techniques like the one I show in the tutorial I linked earlier in the thread.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #24
charjohncarter
Registered User
 
charjohncarter's Avatar
 
charjohncarter is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Danville, CA, USA
Posts: 8,306
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
That's true in most cases, but incident meters do not accurately measure backlit scenes; a single reading with the dome pointed at the camera in such light will produce an overexposed image. Not a big deal with negative film, but the shot would be ruined on slide film or digital.


For backlit scenes, you have to use special techniques like the one I show in the tutorial I linked earlier in the thread.
Right: the tendency is to use incident meters with back lighting. And as Chris' tutorial simply explains that you will get an incorrect reading with just a one time incident reading. It isn't tricky to do one of two methods Chris suggests. The hard part is recognizing when real back lighting exists. And Chris helps with this too.

Here is one that ISN'T back lighting that I used one domed incident reading. It looks a little back light but really the foreground and the background are the same exposure. I just wanted the faces to be properly exposed, and I almost did it:

Kodak EktaChrome expired 2003 by John Carter, on Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #25
jarski
Registered User
 
jarski's Avatar
 
jarski is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2,428
Direct light while reading something not too demanding? Solution: sunglasses
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #26
Godfrey
somewhat colored
 
Godfrey's Avatar
 
Godfrey is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 8,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
That's true in most cases, but incident meters do not accurately measure backlit scenes; a single reading with the dome pointed at the camera in such light will produce an overexposed image. Not a big deal with negative film, but the shot would be ruined on slide film or digital.

For backlit scenes, you have to use special techniques like the one I show in the tutorial I linked earlier in the thread.
I wasn't saying no to that, just to the general notion of how to use an incident meter ...

I'll have to read your workflow. To be sure, I've been doing this so long I no longer remember how I figured out how to meter the scene since I just set the aperture and shutter speed from experience and get what I like.

G
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #27
olifaunt
Registered User
 
olifaunt is offline
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 19
It sounds like it would be easier to just get a spot meter and point it at whatever part of the scene you want to be a midtone.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #28
MCTuomey
Registered User
 
MCTuomey's Avatar
 
MCTuomey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: U.S.
Age: 64
Posts: 3,276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
No. You point the incident meter at the camera from the position of the subject, not at the light, to get the correct reading. To wit:
disagree - won't work consistently.

what I tried to say, poorly, is that the incident reading should be taken in the same light as the most important element of the subject, assuming you want to expose that element at "18% gray." For example, if you're making a picture of a person wearing a hat standing backlit, and you take an incident reading with the meter tight to the person's face under the hat with the disc facing shadow, you will get a reasonable exposure.

Same condition, if the camera was in direct light, and you pointed the meter at the camera standing in the vicinity of the subject, you would underexpose the subject's face.

that's all I was trying to say. Bob said it much more simply above.
__________________
--Mike

My Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #29
MCTuomey
Registered User
 
MCTuomey's Avatar
 
MCTuomey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: U.S.
Age: 64
Posts: 3,276
Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
It sounds like it would be easier to just get a spot meter and point it at whatever part of the scene you want to be a midtone.
yep, which is why spotmeters are so nice to have. but if all you have or want is an incident meter, you have to learn how to use the thing properly.
__________________
--Mike

My Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #30
Godfrey
somewhat colored
 
Godfrey's Avatar
 
Godfrey is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 8,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCTuomey View Post
disagree - won't work consistently.
...that's all I was trying to say. Bob said it much more simply above.
Rob-F described how to meter for backlit and partially backlit scenes well.

But disagreeing with the fundamental way that you use an incident meter by the manufacturer's instruction isn't worth commenting on further. Good luck with your experiments.

G
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #31
charjohncarter
Registered User
 
charjohncarter's Avatar
 
charjohncarter is offline
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Danville, CA, USA
Posts: 8,306
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Rob-F described how to meter for backlit and partially backlit scenes well.
Mostly I use and have forever Rob-F's method. But I have about 15 rolls of 120 E-6 film and I just ordered a roll of 35mm Ektachrome plus a roll of Elitechrome so I will to continue to use Chris' method for these low latitude films. So far it has worked well.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #32
Solinar
Analog Preferred
 
Solinar's Avatar
 
Solinar is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Age: 64
Posts: 2,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
Ultimately, how much of an adjustment you can make depends on the latitude of the film.

I myself will take both an incident and a reflected reading, and then decide which one to favor. If the incident says 1/125 at 5.6, and the reflected says f/16, I might try 1/125 at 8 and a half. And bracket!
I use negative film and that's good advice.

Years ago, I would use a fill flash to bring the shadows within two stops of a brightly lit background. Due to the age of my three favorite 35mm cameras, I rarely bring a flash with me.
__________________
- Andrew in Austin, Texas -

35mm Gear Bessa R, Leica II, - IIIg, - M2
Just for fun 35mm Gear a Kodak Retina II, a Rollei 35 S, an Oly 35RC, plus an XA
Modern Medium Format Fuji GW 690III
Vintage MF Folders a Voigtland Bessa II and Perkeo II - a ZI Mess Ikonta - 524/2, plus an Agfa Super Isolette & a Record III
Digital a D300 and a D700 with some primes

"Who spilled the Dektol on the bathroom carpet?"
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #33
MCTuomey
Registered User
 
MCTuomey's Avatar
 
MCTuomey is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: U.S.
Age: 64
Posts: 3,276
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Rob-F described how to meter for backlit and partially backlit scenes well.

But disagreeing with the fundamental way that you use an incident meter by the manufacturer's instruction isn't worth commenting on further. Good luck with your experiments.

G
I think you just did comment further ... thanks for the tart encouragement. May your tolerance for differing opinions improve.
__________________
--Mike

My Flickr
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #34
retinax
Registered User
 
retinax is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 509
This discussion about whether to point the meter to the the light source or the camera is getting to what I think I'd the achilles' heel of incident meters. I think the manuals say point it to the camera because that will give something reasonable without additional interpretation, but it's not correct per se. Assume you're photographing, for the sake of simplicity, a tree trunk. As you move around and meter from the different angles from which you have part sun, part shade on the tree trunk, pointing the meter at the camera will give different readings. But you're photographing the same subject, just different proportions of it sunlit and in shade! Would you vary the exposure from different angles if you were using a spot meter? Probably not. You might want to bias it toward the sunlit or the shaded part, but that depends on your idea of the final photograph, not the angle to the sun and thus how much of the tree trunk in your picture is sunlit and how much in shade, as long as you have parts of both.
Pointing the meter at the light source will give an exposure for the highlights. If you know what you're doing, better do that, as well as a shadow reading, and make an informed decision rather than rely on the meter to find a compromise for you, IMHO.
But we're digressing from what the OP asked.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #35
retinax
Registered User
 
retinax is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 509
Quote:
Originally Posted by Papercut View Post
Finally we have the critical point: your intention. Yes, the light falling on the scene is the same and so if your intention is to render "the subject" the same, then the exposure would be the same. There's no need, in your example, to meter the scene again: the original metering of the sunlight would still apply since your intent (to render the sunlit portion normally) is the same. The light [ETA: falling on the subject] hasn't changed and neither has your intended rendering, so the exposure would be the same too.
Here's a concise answer to your question, OP, to which I might add that you need to remember making sure that you're not accidentally metering in the shade of your own body when metering for something sunlit.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #36
Chriscrawfordphoto
Real Men Shoot Film.
 
Chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
 
Chriscrawfordphoto is offline
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Age: 43
Posts: 8,532
Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
This discussion about whether to point the meter to the the light source or the camera is getting to what I think I'd the achilles' heel of incident meters. I think the manuals say point it to the camera because that will give something reasonable without additional interpretation, but it's not correct per se. Assume you're photographing, for the sake of simplicity, a tree trunk. As you move around and meter from the different angles from which you have part sun, part shade on the tree trunk, pointing the meter at the camera will give different readings. But you're photographing the same subject, just different proportions of it sunlit and in shade! Would you vary the exposure from different angles if you were using a spot meter? Probably not. You might want to bias it toward the sunlit or the shaded part, but that depends on your idea of the final photograph, not the angle to the sun and thus how much of the tree trunk in your picture is sunlit and how much in shade, as long as you have parts of both.
Pointing the meter at the light source will give an exposure for the highlights. If you know what you're doing, better do that, as well as a shadow reading, and make an informed decision rather than rely on the meter to find a compromise for you, IMHO.
But we're digressing from what the OP asked.



The white dome on an incident meter simulates the three-dimensionality of most real-world subjects, and allows the meter to take into account light coming from the sides with a single camera-direction reading. This works great most of the time, but it fails in backlit or severely sidelit scenes.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #37
Godfrey
somewhat colored
 
Godfrey's Avatar
 
Godfrey is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 8,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by MCTuomey View Post
I think you just did comment further ... thanks for the tart encouragement. May your tolerance for differing opinions improve.
Not an opinion. Quotes from the manufacturers' instructions.

I've been using those instructions to meter with incident meters since 1967. It's given me perfect reference exposures for all average subjects (and of course backlighting is not an "average subject" situation).

The purpose of the hemispherical integrating dome and pointing to the camera position without shading the meter is so that the meter sees the light incident to the subject from the perspective of the camera lens. That's why they recommend this metering technique.

I just quote from credible sources what I know works, that is, from the people who designed the meters and how to use them. But you'll argue as if you know better anyway. Enjoy your experimentations.

G
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #38
Rob-F
Likes Leicas
 
Rob-F's Avatar
 
Rob-F is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: The Show Me state
Age: 77
Posts: 5,545
Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
This discussion about whether to point the meter to the the light source or the camera is getting to what I think I'd the achilles' heel of incident meters. I think the manuals say point it to the camera because that will give something reasonable without additional interpretation, but it's not correct per se. Assume you're photographing, for the sake of simplicity, a tree trunk. As you move around and meter from the different angles from which you have part sun, part shade on the tree trunk, pointing the meter at the camera will give different readings. But you're photographing the same subject, just different proportions of it sunlit and in shade! Would you vary the exposure from different angles if you were using a spot meter? Probably not. You might want to bias it toward the sunlit or the shaded part, but that depends on your idea of the final photograph, not the angle to the sun and thus how much of the tree trunk in your picture is sunlit and how much in shade, as long as you have parts of both.
Pointing the meter at the light source will give an exposure for the highlights. If you know what you're doing, better do that, as well as a shadow reading, and make an informed decision rather than rely on the meter to find a compromise for you, IMHO.
But we're digressing from what the OP asked.
This is an important point Retinax is making. Pointing the meter at the sun will give the shortest exposure, since it maximizes the amount of light striking the meter. So it will result in all areas of the photo, from highlight to shadow, receiving the minimum exposure, and being rendered at a lower value. But we don't want highlights rendered at a low value. We want them to look bright. That's why we call them highlights.

The hemispherical dome integrates the light from all directions over a 180 degree solid angle. When we point the meter at the camera, it gives an honest reading of the light striking the subject, as seen from the camera's position.

The incident meter will generally give the same exposure as a reflected reading taken from an 18 percent gray card. Either method will give an exposure that is at the midpoint (is it OK if I call that zone 5), allowing the number of stops from highlight (zone 9) to midpoint to equal the number of stops from midpoint to shadow (zone 1). The middle tone in the subject will then be rendered as a middle tone, while all others will fall where they belong in relation to it. The highlights look bright, and the shadows look dark. That's the theory behind the incident meter.

Sometimes the subject is too light overall, and we want to bring it down to a more medium value. And sometimes it is too dark overall, and we want to bring it up to a medium value. Then we use a reflected light meter. And sometimes we take both readings and average them. The Spectra Combi 2 has provision for an incident reading; a reflected reading; or an average of the two, with a single button press!

When to do what? Judgment will always be required.
__________________
May the light be with you.
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #39
Richard G
Registered User
 
Richard G's Avatar
 
Richard G is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: 37,47 S
Posts: 4,876
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post

When to do what? Judgment will always be required.
The most important line in the thread.
__________________
Richard
  Reply With Quote

Old 1 Week Ago   #40
Godfrey
somewhat colored
 
Godfrey's Avatar
 
Godfrey is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 8,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
The most important line in the thread.
100% Agreed!
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:13.


vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

All content on this site is Copyright Protected and owned by its respective owner. You may link to content on this site but you may not reproduce any of it in whole or part without written consent from its owner.