Working with Challenging Exposures

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Working with Challenging Exposures.
 
If you were faced with this exposure, a black horse in snow, could you get the exposure right in one shot? I tell my students to concentrate on composition but understand your camera. In a situation like this, shooting in a matrix or multi-segment metering will give you fits. Back in my early days I was lucky enough to have learned the technical side of photography from John Shaw. There are none better at understanding exposure for nature images than John. We used to do exercises in the field where he would constantly ask me as he pointed at an object, “what’s the exposure?” At times it would be frustrating but it taught me how to properly calculate exposure. Today in digital, we aren’t often faced with a situation where we have to flip over to spot metering and manual exposure. I’m not saying it isn’t right to always shoot in manual mode and spot metering, just that it isn’t always necessary. The exposure latitude of film vs. digital was very limited and post processing allows you to make up for the difference often. If you can get it right out of camera, even better.
 
So, knowing the horse was black and the snow was white, I spot metered the horse and adjusted the meter to be 1 stop below zero. This means, since the camera always wants to zero things out, make everything a medium tone, I wanted it to be darker, so I made my shutter speed faster to allow less light to strike the sensor, thus making it darker than zero or medium (for those old film guys…18% gray). I purposely made it a little lighter than it should be in reality because I wanted to capture the detail in the horse. This is the very short version of how to do exposure, if you want a longer one, please visit my website BearWoodsPhotography.com and check out the workshops…we would love to have you join us.
 
Tamron 16-300mm Di-II VC PZD lens on a Nikon D-500, Manual Exposure mode, f8, ISO 400, shutter speed 1/80th of a second, spot metering, VC active, processed in Lightroom CC. #WithMyTamron, #TamronImageMasters, #SiruiUSA, #SiruiPro
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6 Responses to “Working with Challenging Exposures”

  1. Gibloved this little tutorial! Thanks a bunch.

  2. Great mini-lesson, and amazing photo!

  3. Reblogged this on Travel, Photograph, Experience and commented:
    One thing lots of photographers forget (including me) is that the camera wants to “fix” exposures to what it thinks is best. So if you’re exposing for a black horse, you want it at the same level of darkness as it is in life. But the camera thinks that’s too dark and will brighten it to gray. The same with exposing for a white wedding dress; the camera wants it to be grey.
    And as Bear Woods points out, you often need to adjust with exposure compensation. Of course you don’t want to blow out the blacks or whites either. So with extreme blacks or whites, I tend to tweak things and maybe pull up the histogram.

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