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

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Old 02-20-2015   #41
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I read recently that Jane Bown used to meter by looking at reflected light on the back of her hand! Her photos weren't bad, were they?


http://www.theguardian.com/artanddes...c/21/jane-bown
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Old 02-20-2015   #42
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I'm the original poster, the one who asked these questions. I just wanted to clarify that of course I know that I can use a handheld meter. In fact, I have a very good Lumu that has never failed me when I felt that I had to use it, especially with tricky situations (for instance when there's more than one light source).

I know that a lot of people have developed their techniques measuring light almost exclusively through years of trial and error. IN other words, experience is a great teacher. I was just wondering if some of the results of that experience could be shared around for those who don't have it yet. I appreciate that some people have taken their time to help us avid amateurs out in our own personal journeys in photography technique.

However, I find it quite disrespectful to assume that people who don't follow the "true" ways of calculating light with meters are either liars or fools. Obviously, it is a difficult ability to be acquired but most helpful without any doubts. As in everything else in life, information and curiosity are inherently part of what makes us humans, even when not immediately practical... and of course, this concerns me personally as my own everyday life (I am a PhD candidate in sociology and history) would have no meaning if I thought that "non-useful" information is stupid.
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Old 02-20-2015   #43
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Get a nice hand-held light meter. Film and processing are expensive enough as it is. I prefer to get it right the first time. Less film wasted. Much less frustration.

Just my 2 kopecks.

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Old 02-20-2015   #44
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Jane Bown: "I have an exposure setting I like, 1/60 at f 2.8 and I just arrange the shot to work around that." And that's with film. Stewart alluded to an arbitrary setting earlier, indoors 1/30s at 2.8. I've been doing this recently photographing evening rowing practice. I use ISO 320 or 640 and I just have to have f5.6 and at least 1/500s and preferably 1/1000s. The exposure comes up well in Lightroom and I have my shots. There are film equivalents. You can only do stuff like this with confidence after experimentation and a long experience with a meter. The worst metering approach is a slavish adherence to the dictates of a camera's internal meter. You have to learn to use a meter, and you have to learn when to ignore it, adjust its read out or manage without sometimes. Experience. Exposing a photograph is not about an 'accurate' meter reading every time.
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Old 02-20-2015   #45
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Quote:
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Jane Bown: "I have an exposure setting I like, 1/60 at f 2.8 and I just arrange the shot to work around that." And that's with film. Stewart alluded to an arbitrary setting earlier, indoors 1/30s at 2.8. I've been doing this recently photographing evening rowing practice. I use ISO 320 or 640 and I just have to have f5.6 and at least 1/500s and preferably 1/1000s. The exposure comes up well in Lightroom and I have my shots. There are film equivalents. You can only do stuff like this with confidence after experimentation and a long experience with a meter. The worst metering approach is a slavish adherence to the dictates of a camera's internal meter. You have to learn to use a meter, and you have to learn when to ignore it, adjust its read out or manage without sometimes. Experience. Exposing a photograph is not about an 'accurate' meter reading every time.
yep, true ... all the meter measures is the amount of light ... it's the photographer who decides on the correct exposure
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Old 02-20-2015   #46
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They are bright because of my scanner (I mentioned this in my posts). I have never scanned prints before and used my HP all-in-one to make quick scans to illustrate. The prints are perfect, I wish there was a way to show you. Some scans even have color hues which are not seen on prints.
... well if your prints are perfect I would stick with your method, in much the same way as I shall stick to mine
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Old 02-20-2015   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redseele View Post
I'm the original poster, the one who asked these questions. I just wanted to clarify that of course I know that I can use a handheld meter. In fact, I have a very good Lumu that has never failed me when I felt that I had to use it, especially with tricky situations (for instance when there's more than one light source).

I know that a lot of people have developed their techniques measuring light almost exclusively through years of trial and error. IN other words, experience is a great teacher. I was just wondering if some of the results of that experience could be shared around for those who don't have it yet. I appreciate that some people have taken their time to help us avid amateurs out in our own personal journeys in photography technique.

However, I find it quite disrespectful to assume that people who don't follow the "true" ways of calculating light with meters are either liars or fools. Obviously, it is a difficult ability to be acquired but most helpful without any doubts. As in everything else in life, information and curiosity are inherently part of what makes us humans, even when not immediately practical... and of course, this concerns me personally as my own everyday life (I am a PhD candidate in sociology and history) would have no meaning if I thought that "non-useful" information is stupid.
It didn't take me years, and shouldn't for you either! I first practiced just walking around with a light meter, taking exposure readings and paying attention to the intensity of the light. I made sure to do this indoors as well as outdoors, at all times of the day. You will be surprised as to how quickly you can start to estimate light values very accurately. I wouldn;t even say a matter of days, but hours.
Then, practice doing this ever so often and you'll be fine. It is easier if at first you stick to just one film speed. Once you get the hang of that, then it is no issue to take that experience and adjust it for different ISO values.
I find it a very helpful photographic exercise, because you really start to examine your scene and decide what inside it you want to base your exposure on. By extension it helps you compose your light as well as your subject.
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Old 02-20-2015   #48
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... handheld it's f2.8 1/30 at 400asa and hope for the best
well, at least I don't have to hope for the best..

I think everybody in this thread has been saying the same thing but with different variations. I am sure folks who don't use meters now have used them in the past and learned to gauge light. People who learned to read light without using a meter must have a few (or more) wasted rolls to thank.
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Old 02-20-2015   #49
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As other posters have said, use your fastest lens (or as I wouold prefer to say a lens that opens wide). hold steady and manually shoot at a speed you feel comfortable with. Then scan the negetive and process in whatever software you prefer.

In days of old (film) we used to call this pushing.

Not hard really - its just that your lcd preview (being, probably dark) will no doubt confuse the easily confusable.

James
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Old 02-20-2015   #50
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I've seen them. They suck. I don't get people spending thousands, sometimes tens of thousands, on gear then using it in a wasteful halfassed way to produce garbage. Life's too short to waste time like that, and I'm not wealthy so I can't afford to waste film and other costs involved in my work like gas for my car to go out photographing.
Reading back through the thread It's not obvious who the mystical guy is, paranoia makes me think it's me as I think you can get in the ball park with experience. Come clean guys who are you referring to? Have the guts to say what you think.
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Old 02-20-2015   #51
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It' s an old chart by interweb standards - but Fred Parker's Unlimited Exposure Computer - is pretty close to the money @ IS0 100.

http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.ht...ensity%20Chart

For ISO 100 film - I find EV 5 to 6 to be common for a moderately well-lit room after dark. But who uses ISO 100 film indoors?

Add two stops to each:
For ISO 400 film to get a LV of 7 - 9


So, my starting point with ISO 400 film for indoor work is f/2 with a shutter speed of 1/30th of a second for LV 7.

Office lighting is usually LV 8 or 9. Either close the aperture 1 stop or change the shutter speed to 1/60th to get to LV 8.

*****************************

The lighting in your home will probably be worse than you think. Just remember the setting LV 7 and add exposure from there.

Keep in mind for the above starting point: the inverse square law is not your friend and that LV 7 is for someone sitting near a light source.

Go 6 to 8 feet away from moderately bright table lamp or ceiling light and you're in LV 6 territory.

LV 6 is troubling for a hand-held f/2 lens due to the use of a 1/15th of second shutter speed.

For you old-timers - if you are having trouble reading the printed word at night - such as a menu - welcome to LV 4 - 5 territory.
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Old 02-20-2015   #52
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I'm dancing from same S16 rule, interpolating. B/W film not a problem for indoors with 100-400 ISO, as long as I'm not after black cat in the darkroom. I use 1/50, 5.6 and flash for it
If not confident, I measure it with cheap Seconic or iPhone app, it is accurate enough.
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Old 02-20-2015   #53
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I've shot indoors without a meter on many occasions where the end result wasn't really that important but in situations where the end result is important it's foolish to take the risk IMO ... digital or film.

There seems to be this whole 'badge of honour' thing going on with shooting unmetered at times ... if that's what floats your boat, OK!
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Old 02-20-2015   #54
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Note: I still use the Light Value Scale to memorize indoor exposures. An LV scale can be seen on the bottom of the shutter speed ring in my avatar photo and I agree with Keith.

The LVS system was in use circa 1955 to 1960.
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Old 02-20-2015   #55
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I like to go unmetered shooting time to time to keep myself sharp. I really like the challenge. I rarely (read: never) do it for anything serious, but it's definitely a helpful exercise for serious Street or PJ shooting... When the camera is at my hip, I like to set it for the settings at hand, so that if something happens, it's one less step to do when I bring it to my eye.
This is mostly outdoors. Indoors, as has been said, is much harder. But I still think its a good exercise. (Obviously, only if you're into that sort of thing. The whole bravado/pissing-contest way of looking at this is, simply, dumb)
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Old 02-20-2015   #56
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Reading back through the thread It's not obvious who the mystical guy is, paranoia makes me think it's me as I think you can get in the ball park with experience. Come clean guys who are you referring to? Have the guts to say what you think.

There isn't one guy for me. RFF is full of guys who like to pound their chests about how they, real men with big balls, never need a lightmeter, a crutch used by wussy babies with no talent. Problem is, none of these guys are any good that I have seen. I wasn't talking about you, though. I don't remember ever seeing any of your work on RFF.
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Old 02-20-2015   #57
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There isn't one guy for me. RFF is full of guys who like to pound their chests about how they, real men with big balls, never need a lightmeter, a crutch used by wussy babies with no talent. Problem is, none of these guys are any good that I have seen. I wasn't talking about you, though. I don't remember ever seeing any of your work on RFF.
Well i'm not looking to get into any argument with you, and i'm certainly not pounding my chest advocating not using metering, my point was simply that it is possible to get better at assessing light readings without a meter, not instead of a meter, but when you don't have a meter, or to better evaluate what a meter reading tells you.
Personally I decided to downsize my M cameras from an M7 & M6 to just the one film M, and I decided on the M6 precisely because it wasn't reliant on battery power to be fully functioning, all be it without metering {if the battery is flat], and from that it follows that paying attention to light levels and best guesstimate might be useful, and I believe if you pay attention you do get better at it. You on the other hand seem to think anyone trying to do so is an idiot. Which is your prerogative, I just happen not to agree.
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Old 02-20-2015   #58
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A long time ago, I read a photo magazine article about Alfred Eisenstadt. He said there was one film he shot without a meter: Kodachrome. When the interviewer asked why, Eisie replied, modestly, "I have used the same film for so long."

As Roger pointed out, experience counts.
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Old 02-20-2015   #59
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For indoors if I don't have a meter on me, I have been using the sunny 16 rule so 10 stops down for a "bright room" (EV6) where I can see defined shadows, and tend to follow the same rule as if outside, stop down a further 1-2 stops if the shadows are fuzzy, 4 stops if it's barely there, at 6 stops for no shadows (aka pitch black since it's EV0 anyway), hasn't served me too bad so far.
In low light on the street, I just go shoot either at the bright room or a stop higher at EV7.

Hasn't failed me too many times although I have misjudged the light at times.
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Old 02-20-2015   #60
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Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
There isn't one guy for me. RFF is full of guys who like to pound their chests about how they, real men with big balls, never need a lightmeter, a crutch used by wussy babies with no talent.
This seems to really have struck a nerve with you.
Why do you care what other people do?

The original poster posed the question as to how to calculate exposure indoors w/o a light meter, and you have gone on a rant ridiculing the notion and quite frankly mocking those who do. As can be seen above.

Don't you think your tag line "real men shoot film" is a touch ironic given your comments complaining about real men? What are you saying about those who shoot digital? You don't think you are pounding your chest at them, the way supposedly the meter-less men are apparently pounding their chests at you?

Maybe it's time to step back, take a deep breath and relax.
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Old 02-20-2015   #61
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Nice. I don't always shoot indoors, but when I do - I just try to get as much exposure as I can. I'd much rather use flash. Meters, especially CDS are not accurate with incandescents, and I don't know about CFLs, but selenium meters are definately off with them.
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Old 02-20-2015   #62
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I've never understood why these metering threads tend to get fractious at times! We all have our own methods of doing things and as long as it suits us it should be no bother for anyone else.

It reminds me of the story by Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels) where two small countries went to war over which end of a hard boiled egg should be cracked ... small or large!
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Old 02-20-2015   #63
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Having a feel for the expected exposure in any situation is valuable:

e.g. if indoors, away from exterior windows, your in-camera meter with ISO 400 film says 1/250s at f/2.8, perhaps it's caught a strong light source ; so you need to reassess where you point the meter or how you want the scene to look.
For digital, it's also valuable to catch the occasions where you've left the camera at ISO 1600 outside in bright sunshine.
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Old 02-20-2015   #64
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This seems to really have struck a nerve with you. Why do you care what other people do? The original poster posed the question as to how to calculate exposure indoors w/o a light meter, and you have gone on a rant ridiculing the notion and quite frankly mocking those who do. As can be seen above. Don't you think your tag line "real men shoot film" is a touch ironic given your comments complaining about real men? What are you saying about those who shoot digital? You don't think you are pounding your chest at them, the way supposedly the meter-less men are apparently pounding their chests at you? Maybe it's time to step back, take a deep breath and relax.
^ this ^

And Chris, who the **** are you to judge people's photos in general, why do you think your photography is extraordinary? You are calling yourself a pro but hey, your pictures are among the most boring in the forum, and even if you think you are capturing in unique way the spirit of that village of yours, those walls you are photographing will need more than your "masterful" metering to go as fine art...

I apologize to OP and all the guys who read this tread for the out of topic post.

However, there's nothing wrong to say honestly what you think, right?

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Boris
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Old 02-21-2015   #65
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I've never understood why these metering threads tend to get fractious at times! We all have our own methods of doing things and as long as it suits us it should be no bother for anyone else.
They always get fractious because of the same guy as he keep lancing his meter fetish even when OT. I am actually glad he does it, so one understand when looking at his photos for whatever reason that in photography many times other things are more important than carry a meter.

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Old 02-21-2015   #66
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I've shot indoors without a meter on many occasions where the end result wasn't really that important but in situations where the end result is important it's foolish to take the risk IMO ... digital or film.

There seems to be this whole 'badge of honour' thing going on with shooting unmetered at times ... if that's what floats your boat, OK!
I don't see it as a 'badge of honor' thing at all, and aside from the fact the OP asked the question and specifically said 'without a meter' with these old film cameras its just easier and more consistent to not use a meter as a default practice, and only resort to the meter in exceptional circumstance. I've watched folk in constant light change exposure settings between every shot blindly following the cameras' ttl reading without thought

A modern DSLR, or an F6 will normally cope whatever one points it at ... a OM1 or F3 will simply measure the light .. blindly, use the meter on those and if you have a meter reading, then you'll use it, people stop thinking about it and simply chase the needle. Like those pilots that fly into the ground looking at a faulty altimeter. There is a name for it that I can never remember ... Michael usually reminds me

I do agree that is it's paid work I'd have your d700 every time though
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Old 02-21-2015   #67
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There is a certain snag in that the original question can only be answered with a plain NO - there is no way to calculate the exposure for arbitrary indoor settings, with any even remotely reasonable effort, as there is no universal constant (like the intensity of solar radiation at the distance of the earth orbit) indoors - not even the wattage of the light bulbs or window size good enough indicators, as light yield and transmission will vary by several EV.

Cine productions actually do or used to calculate exposure from the illumination - but for that, you have to have a accurate (pre-measured) list of the true light output of each lamp and reflectivity and transmission of all used lamp shades/optics, plus a "open ceiling, open front wall" studio setting where reflected light is a negligible entity.

Experienced photographers will know enough similar situations to guess a exposure by mental reference - but that will work best in settings subject to required public or workspace illumination levels or very traditional concepts of home illumination, as our sense of vision is strictly relative (so that a indoor setting will, within a few minutes of accommodation, be perceived as bright as outdoors even though there are six or eight EV between them). And even in guessable environments you'll hardly be accurate to more than one or two stops from the metered value, unless you photograph a location you have metered a gazillion times before (for example, I can photograph meterless all around my home, and only used the meter once per light change when I did studio tabletop work).
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Old 02-21-2015   #68
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^ this ^

And Chris, who the **** are you to judge people's photos in general, why do you think your photography is extraordinary? You are calling yourself a pro but hey, your pictures are among the most boring in the forum, and even if you think you are capturing in unique way the spirit of that village of yours, those walls you are photographing will need more than your "masterful" metering to go as fine art...

I apologize to OP and all the guys who read this tread for the out of topic post.

However, there's nothing wrong to say honestly what you think, right?

Regards,

Boris
Who am I? I'm a professional artist with a long record of exhibitions, publications, and teaching. My work has sold to people all around the world. Unlike you, my work is available for anyone to see. Some people like it, some don't. That's the nature of art. At least I'm not afraid to show what I do, and how I do it.

I get emails every day from photographers who admire my work. Some just write to tell me that, others write asking for advice. I always answer honestly, completely, and simply so that they can achieve what they want without wasting time and costly materials. As many RFF members can attest, I have spent a lot of time with some, writing back and forth to help them solve a problem.

I don't charge anyone for this, though it takes a lot of my time. It is my way of giving back now that I am doing well. When I was younger, a lot of more experienced photographers freely shared advice, technical info, and even equipment with me because they liked my work and wanted to help me succeed. Several years ago, when I had dropped everything and moved back to my hometown to be with my son as his mothers mental problems became worse, I found myself unable to buy my son anything for Christmas that year. A couple of RFF members organized a collection to help my son and I. A huge number of you donated to that collection, which bought my son a very nice laptop computer, which he still uses. We are still amazed at the generosity of all of you here.

Some of you think I'm too blunt and outspoken. I don't believe in giving advice that is technically incorrect, because that just frustrates the person in need when they find that the what works for you won't work for them. What I said about needing a meter is based on solid science. Numerous studies of human vision have confirmed that the human eye is a very poor judge of the brightness of light. Some of you might be blessed with superhuman abilities, but most of the photos I see where people tried that technique are not well exposed. In any case, its not something most photographers can realistically do, even if you can, so advising it is not really helping the aspiring photographer.

Photography is an art medium that requires a lot of tech knowledge, and unfortunately there are a lot of myths and half-truths floating around because people try to mysticize it. Technical knowledge is just a set of tools, means to an end. Learn it correctly, and you will be able to produce anything your imagination can envision. Mysticizing technique just frustrates and discourages those we're helping.

I'm a 7th grade English teacher. If I let a student think something is hard or complex, I've lost him. Kids shut down if they think they "can't" do something. I've failed when that happens. Nothing I teach is beyond my kids' abilities, but it has to be presented in a way that they can understand quickly. Photography and adults learning it are the same. I answer a question precisely and with an answer that they can use to improve their work so they don't get frustrated and give up. If that makes me an asshole, so be it.
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Old 02-21-2015   #69
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I come here to visit because I have been helped so much through the years by many, many people. Like Stewart, and I am certain many others here, I have been given another chance at life and it pains me to the bone to visit and find contention after contention.

Is it too much to answer the question that has been asked in any thread with a straight answer? If one wishes to add something why you don't preface that with "If I might suggest..." or just start another thread.

We are all going to be in that place soon - life is short
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Old 02-21-2015   #70
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Originally Posted by sevo View Post
There is a certain snag in that the original question can only be answered with a plain NO - there is no way to calculate the exposure for arbitrary indoor settings, with any even remotely reasonable effort, as there is no universal constant (like the intensity of solar radiation at the distance of the earth orbit) indoors - not even the wattage of the light bulbs or window size good enough indicators, as light yield and transmission will vary by several EV.

Cine productions actually do or used to calculate exposure from the illumination - but for that, you have to have a accurate (pre-measured) list of the true light output of each lamp and reflectivity and transmission of all used lamp shades/optics, plus a "open ceiling, open front wall" studio setting where reflected light is a negligible entity.

Experienced photographers will know enough similar situations to guess a exposure by mental reference - but that will work best in settings subject to required public or workspace illumination levels or very traditional concepts of home illumination. And even there, you'll hardly be accurate to more than one or two stops from the metered value. Unless you photograph a location you have metered a gazillion times before (for example, I can photograph meterless all around my home, and only used the meter once per light change when I did studio tabletop work).
Yes that is true. While the human eye is an excellent comparator of lighting it is hopeless at measuring absolute values in the way you suggest. What I suggested was simply a compromise aperture between speed and enough DOF (f2.8) and the slowest speed I can hand-hold a camera (1/30sec) ... it is in fact simply making the best of a bad job ... knowing absolute values below those that the system is capable of producing is futile
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Old 02-21-2015   #71
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Who am I? I'm a professional artist with a long record of exhibitions, publications, and teaching. My work has sold to people all around the world. Unlike you, my work is available for anyone to see. Some people like it, some don't. That's the nature of art. At least I'm not afraid to show what I do, and how I do it.

I get emails every day from photographers who admire my work. Some just write to tell me that, others write asking for advice. I always answer honestly, completely, and simply so that they can achieve what they want without wasting time and costly materials. As many RFF members can attest, I have spent a lot of time with some, writing back and forth to help them solve a problem.

I don't charge anyone for this, though it takes a lot of my time. It is my way of giving back now that I am doing well. When I was younger, a lot of more experienced photographers freely shared advice, technical info, and even equipment with me because they liked my work and wanted to help me succeed. Several years ago, when I had dropped everything and moved back to my hometown to be with my son as his mothers mental problems became worse, I found myself unable to buy my son anything for Christmas that year. A couple of RFF members organized a collection to help my son and I. A huge number of you donated to that collection, which bought my son a very nice laptop computer, which he still uses. We are still amazed at the generosity of all of you here.

Some of you think I'm too blunt and outspoken. I don't believe in giving advice that is technically incorrect, because that just frustrates the person in need when they find that the what works for you won't work for them. What I said about needing a meter is based on solid science. Numerous studies of human vision have confirmed that the human eye is a very poor judge of the brightness of light. Some of you might be blessed with superhuman abilities, but most of the photos I see where people tried that technique are not well exposed. In any case, its not something most photographers can realistically do, even if you can, so advising it is not really helping the aspiring photographer.

Photography is an art medium that requires a lot of tech knowledge, and unfortunately there are a lot of myths and half-truths floating around because people try to mysticize it. Technical knowledge is just a set of tools, means to an end. Learn it correctly, and you will be able to produce anything your imagination can envision. Mysticizing technique just frustrates and discourages those we're helping.

I'm a 7th grade English teacher. If I let a student think something is hard or complex, I've lost him. Kids shut down if they think they "can't" do something. I've failed when that happens. Nothing I teach is beyond my kids' abilities, but it has to be presented in a way that they can understand quickly. Photography and adults learning it are the same. I answer a question precisely and with an answer that they can use to improve their work so they don't get frustrated and give up. If that makes me an asshole, so be it.
Selling work around the word doesn't make your opinion more valuable when it comes to judging other peoples work. I am very happy photographers call you for advise and I am happy you are always ready to help them out. However, would you agree with me that this is not the case we are discussing here? I am an amateur photographer and I have sold prints myself, I have also made a few personal exhibitions, my work is exposed in many group exhibitions, published in a few books, few museums owe my prints as well. It is nothing to do with using a light meter, right? You won't hear me saying that using light meter is wrong, I am saying it is possible to get around without one. You won't hear me saying the people who use light meters deliver crappy photos. You should be more respectful to your forum mates and colleagues here, that's all I wanted to say. You have your personal opinion and you can share it of course, but Art is subjective matter and I find stupid to generalize what's best and what's crap, even when your friends emailing you and admiring your work - I bet they speak for themselves, not for all the photo artists in the world. And to me, personally, as I don't find your work more than average, your opinion doesn't matter to me and you shouldn't be trying to evaluate people's work here. Have a great day,

Boris
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Old 02-21-2015   #72
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Some utterly wierd assumsions here about going meter less.
How about just having fun as part of the game with only mechanical cameras and b/w film, which is very forgiving, at least for overexposure.
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Old 02-21-2015   #73
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... and at f2.8 for 1/30 sec one is very unlikely to overexpose
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Old 02-21-2015   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
There isn't one guy for me. RFF is full of guys who like to pound their chests about how they, real men with big balls, never need a lightmeter, a crutch used by wussy babies with no talent. Problem is, none of these guys are any good that I have seen. I wasn't talking about you, though. I don't remember ever seeing any of your work on RFF.
I had to dig way back and find a shot I took for my photo 101 class ages ago...
Brau and Stahl by berangberang, on Flickr

This shot I remember clearly was taken at the extremes of what an Argus C3 had to offer, 1/10 of a second and f/3.5 on 100ASA film. No meter of course. It was not even a lucky guess, just putting the camera to the maximums and hoping for the best. It turned out, and consequently my balls grew 10X, but my photography became much worse.

A bit later I happened upon another scene that again required maxing out the Argus and hoping for the best:

Famous Pizza Mayhem by berangberang, on Flickr

The photograph is of course completely awful in every way, except for exposure. It came out well enough given the constraints of the camera and available light. Strangely though, my balls only grew a little this time.

When I began to shoot slide film, I was sure that I would need a meter. How on earth would I be able to figure out a scene with lighting as tricky as this on slide film without a meter?

Untitled by berangberang, on Flickr

It still turned out, but of course it is also perfectly boring.

Then I began to use a meter, and oddly my photos never turned out either better exposed, or more interesting.

So obviously there must be more to this whole photo thing than whether or not one uses a meter. And I would suppose that anybody who knows anything at all about art realizes that as long as the artist's vision is realized it matters not at all whether or not they used a meter.

Who am I? I'm a horrendous photographer with a long record of fine exposures made without light meters, and pretty big balls.

(on a serious note, I would not steer anybody away from using meters. But one has to remember that meters are simple tools and if you want to use them to make good exposures you still have to use your brain when figuring exposures)
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Old 02-21-2015   #75
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^ I wouldn't bother, Chris made his first statement directly after my first post so this is probably aimed at me not at you or Boris ... and I'm not bothered by it anyway.

Best not to wreck the thread with personal enmity
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Old 02-21-2015   #76
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If I have measured I wouldn't go for this,

f/2 @ 1/8 sec. Tri-X @ 400



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Old 02-21-2015   #77
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^ I wouldn't bother, Chris made his statement directly after my first post so its probably aimed at me not at you or Boris
Dear Steward,

It is not important who he has aimed at, I just find posts like this rude and disrespectful for all the people who put some love in what they do. After all, lets face it, the pictures we make are mostly for our own satisfaction, time will tell what is important for others to see - metered or not. What is pro?

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Boris
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Old 02-21-2015   #78
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I won't spend my time and energy cock fighting in this thread. Apology to the OP and all of you guys if I have brought bad energy to this discussion.

I wish you all a great day!

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Boris
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Old 02-21-2015   #79
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Dear Steward,

It is not important who he has aimed at, I just find posts like this rude and disrespectful for all the people who put some love in what they do. After all, lets face it, the pictures we make are mostly for our own satisfaction, time will tell what is important for others to see - metered or not. What is pro?

Regards,

Boris
In one sense yes ... but speaking as an artist who has made a living from his ability the last forty plus years I learned early on its not worth bothering about a bit of negativity
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Old 02-21-2015   #80
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And the flip side of using a meter... there's a happy medium between using a meter and judging exposure by eye.
Quote:
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I've watched folk in constant light change exposure settings between every shot blindly following the cameras' ttl reading without thought

A modern [camera] will simply measure the light .. blindly, use the meter on those and if you have a meter reading, then you'll use it, people stop thinking about it and simply chase the needle. Like those pilots that fly into the ground looking at a faulty altimeter. There is a name for it that I can never remember ... Michael usually reminds me
I honestly don't understand what some people have against meters, and the defensiveness when using one is suggested. There are no downsides to using a meter. A reading is fast, and can be done when it won't intrude on your photography - as Stewart pointed out, the ambient light (outdoors and in) can remain the same for a long time, so another reading may not be needed for perhaps hours. So, you can buy a cheap, small, light-weight device to measure light in seconds that typically needs infrequent use, and then only at a time convenient for you - or you could guess...

Finally, as pointed out several times, the only way for humans to "meter" light is to remember camera settings from a similar situation. Relatively straightforward for many situations such as sunny/overcast outdoors or in homes at night (humans prefer similar levels of artificial light), but even then it's guesswork and memory. Here in the UK, for me the sunny 16 rule fails - I think you'll find in northern climes it's "sunny 11"!

So, the answer to the OP about how to calculate exposure sufficiently accurately by eye in difficult situations like indoors or of shadows outdoors is: you can't. You can only guess - and trust that what you are perceiving the same light level as the situation you recall (which is impossible for our eyes - as Stewart and others point out).

Guess or use a meter is the only possible response.

And, of course, there's no such thing as correct exposure anyway - it's only wrong if the photo's not exposed how you want it!
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