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Metering in the Snow
Old 01-23-2016   #1
ww2photog
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Metering in the Snow

Getting buried in snow here in Gettysburg Pa. I plan on taking my 2.8 C Rolleiflex out tomorrow. I've got a Pentax spot meter I plan on using. I'm shooting Tri X rated at 200. Any advice to spot metering in snow conditions ? Also might go out tonight shooting some streetscapes, only lights being street lamps and store windows, but am at a loss for exposure times. Help !
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Old 01-23-2016   #2
charjohncarter
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Put the snow at zone VII. Or meter off a gray card, another way is to use an incident meter.
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Old 01-23-2016   #3
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Been using this for decades, especially with my non-Metered Rolleiflex cameras.

Brooks Institute, Basic Daylight Exposure

Have fun, sounds like exciting stuff, all that snow.
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Old 01-23-2016   #4
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Meter from the darkest tone in which you want texture, using the appropriate index (NOT the worthless mid-tone nor a highlight index which is only slightly less worthless with negative films). See http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...xpo%20neg.html

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Old 01-23-2016   #5
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Well, if "white' is 2 1/2 f-stops up from "18% grey", point the camera at snow and set exposure so that spot would be 2 1/2 stops overexposed.
I did that decades back with Tr-x and it worked okay.
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Old 01-23-2016   #6
ww2photog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
Meter from the darkest tone in which you want texture, using the appropriate index (NOT the worthless mid-tone nor a highlight index which is only slightly less worthless with negative films). See http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...xpo%20neg.html

Cheers,

R
OK Roger, glad your here, I bookmarked your page a while ago. I have the exact meter you show. Sitting herein my living room I metered a scene, pointing the meter at the darkest area I want to see texture. I get an EV value of 4 (lines up with ire#1). Now do I just read directly which would give me 2.8 with shutter speed between 1/15 and 1/30 of a sec ?

I'm confused because on your page in the photograph of your meter it says the ire 1 readying is 8 2/3, looking at the photo I see 10 2/3, on mark before 11, is it me or is this a mistake on your photo caption.
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Old 01-23-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ww2photog View Post
OK Roger, glad your here, I bookmarked your page a while ago. I have the exact meter you show. Sitting herein my living room I metered a scene, pointing the meter at the darkest area I want to see texture. I get an EV value of 4 (lines up with ire#1). Now do I just read directly which would give me 2.8 with shutter speed between 1/15 and 1/30 of a sec ?

I'm confused because on your page in the photograph of your meter it says the ire 1 readying is 8 2/3, looking at the photo I see 10 2/3, on mark before 11, is it me or is this a mistake on your photo caption.

Could be Roger was thinking in aperture stops. A normal mistake for a photographer
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Old 01-23-2016   #8
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Hey Tim--thanks for the chart! Handy!
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Old 01-23-2016   #9
Richard G
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I agree with using Tim's or an equivalent exposure chart. Remember Kodak 35mm film box end exposure charts: even they were good enough. If it's sunny you don't need a meter. I would be too nervous to follow the read out from a spot meter as I've never used one. You could wind up with 12 6x6 duds. When I ski I use a tiny point and shoot and set the scene mode to Beach or Snow. With a Leica it's set to 1/500 f8 with Ektar. If the weather isn't right for that setting I'm either not skiing or don't take a camera. In snow and foggy overcast amongst trees a careful reflected reading would begin to make sense, but only then I reckon.
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Old 01-23-2016   #10
Larry H-L
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I'm with Dave Leo and John Carter on this one, meter directly off the snow, open up 2 or 2 1/2 stops.
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Old 01-23-2016   #11
ww2photog
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Originally Posted by Larry H-L View Post
I'm with Dave Leo and John Carter on this one, meter directly off the snow, open up 2 or 2 1/2 stops.
Thanks for all the help. I've been reading exposure charts and light meter directions all day, guess it time to just pick one and get out there.
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Old 01-23-2016   #12
Richard G
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Here's Fred Parker's Ultimate Exposure Meter. A detailed chart.

http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm

I still use a 1960s available light table from Kodak for different scenes at night. Much better than metering.
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Old 01-23-2016   #13
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Incident metering then adjusting for the subject's reflectivity might work for some, but what about if it's yellow snow???!

~Joe
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Old 01-24-2016   #14
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Make it white!!

More seriously, I just meter the scene and add between a stop and two stops of light depending on the amount of snow showing in my scene. That is using a regular reflective meter.

When using my Pentax Spotmeter I meter a dark spot I want to show some detail and subtract one or two stops of light from the result depending on my mood and how I think I would like to print the negative.

If it is a picture of people then I meter the individual's face and work from there. If it is a Caucasian then I dial in an additional stop of light, more or less.

Like a lot of photography there is really no straight answer. Just some general guidelines. It really depends on what you are looking to do.
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Old 01-24-2016   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
Put the snow at zone VII. Or meter off a gray card, another way is to use an incident meter.
Incident meter or gray card is the safest way to get a baseline exposure. Then I might adjust to take the non-snow part of the scene into account. Can also meter off the blue sky (if it is blue) somewhere from 90 to 180 degrees away from the sun. Or meter off something that looks like a reasonable mid-tone. And I will take Sunny 16 into account as a check on myself. But whatever I do, I want the final exposure to be pretty close to the incident reading. If it isn't, I have probably screwed up.
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Old 01-24-2016   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
Incident metering then adjusting for the subject's reflectivity might work for some, but what about if it's yellow snow???!

~Joe
Don't eat the yellow snow!
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Old 01-24-2016   #17
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These exposure charts referred to here are too optimistic about cloudy light, and do not mention the lower light with the sun low in the sky. The light declines fast around sunset, about 3.5 stops then.
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Old 01-24-2016   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
Incident metering then adjusting for the subject's reflectivity might work for some, but what about if it's yellow snow???!

~Joe
In that case, just follow Nanook's mother's advice; "Watch out where the huskies go, and DON'T you eat that yellow snow!!!"
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Old 01-24-2016   #19
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EV at ISO 100 for various lighting conditions
ANSI PH2.7-1986. American National Standard for Photography
Photographic Exposure Guide. New York: American National Standards Institute

Daylight

EV16 Light sand or snow in full or slightly hazy sunlight (distinct shadows)
EV15 Typical scene in full or slightly hazy sunlight (distinct shadows)
EV14 Typical scene in hazy sunlight (soft shadows)
EV13 Typical scene, cloudy bright (no shadows)
EV12 Typical scene, heavy overcast
EV12 Areas in open shade, clear sunlight

Outdoor, Natural light

EV15 Rainbows - clear sky background
EV14 Rainbows - cloudy sky background
EV12-14 Sunsets and skylines - just before sunset
EV12 Sunsets and skylines - at sunset
EV9-12 Sunsets and skylines - just after sunset

EV15 The Moon at altitude > 40 - Full
EV14 The Moon at altitude > 40 - Gibbous
EV13 The Moon at altitude > 40 - Quarter
EV12 The Moon at altitude > 40 - Crescent

EV-3 to -2 Moonlight on subject, Moon at altitude > 40 - Full
EV-4 Moonlight, Moon at altitude > 40 - Gibbous
EV-6 Moonlight, Moon at altitude > 40 - Quarter

EV-4 to -3 Aurora borealis and australis nebula - Bright
EV-6 to -5 Aurora borealis and australis nebula - Medium
EV-9 Milky Way galactic center

Outdoor, Artificial Light

EV9-10 Neon and other bright signs
EV9 Night sports
EV9 Fires and burning buildings
EV8 Bright street scenes
EV7-8 Night street scenes and window displays
EV5 Night vehicle traffic
EV7 Fairs and amusement parks
EV4-5 Christmas tree lights
EV3-5 Floodlit buildings, monuments, and fountains
EV2 Distant views of lighted buildings

Indoor, Artificial Light

EV8-11 Galleries
EV8-9 Sports events, stage shows
EV8 Circuses, floodlit
EV9 Ice shows, floodlit
EV7-8 Offices and work areas
EV5-6 Home interiors
EV4-5 Christmas tree lights
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Old 01-25-2016   #20
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Last year I decided to learn how to meter with my m5 properly.

I learned about the zone system and wrapped my head around it. I put it into practice (funny enough it was the meter off snow and add 2 stops that made me want to learn why) and had success with it.

I decided to post my findings on rff to which roger replied with a multitude of articles and reading that was confusing at the time. I tried putting his advice in practice but never got any good results actually. No disrespect to roger of course. I think that the spot meter on the m5 is still to big to evaluate some scenes with small detail, there's inherently a lot of overlap from shadow to mid tones when looking at the meter pattern throwing the reading.

Long story short, I end up watching my highlights anyways. With my new scanner it's something I have to be aware of since it's a little finicky when you try to recover too much.

I usually meter highlights +2 or +1 and everything usually falls into place unless your scene is really weird.
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Old 01-25-2016   #21
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Partly off topic but hopefully interesting nevertheless:

I remember attending a public lecture and slide show in 1977 in Exeter UK of the photographs taken on the 1975 Everest South West Face expedition. It was presented by Doug Scott, one of the expedition photographers, who with Dougal Haston was the first to reach the summit on that expedition, followed a day or so later by Pertemba and Pete Boardman. Sadly, Mick Burke died in a fall, after, it was believed, he had reached the summit. Chris Bonington was the expedition leader.

Doug very modestly introduced the talk by saying that if the audience felt that any of the photographs had some aesthetic and photographic quality - in fact they were all superb - they should remember that the audience was only seeing a very small selection of the 20,000 or so frames that had actually been taken!

He mentioned the winterised Olympus OM1 cameras that had been donated by Olympus, who were eager to get publicity for their new camera and system introduced in 1973, and said that the cameras performed flawlessly. He said that, of course, they had to develop a suitable metering method that would be accurate enough for the conditions and the fact that they were using colour slide film (Kodachrome 25) with far less latitude for exposure error. They tried various methods, he said, but the one that worked best when on the face and outside their bivouacs was the simplest - to take an incident reading and close one stop to get some texture in the snow. He pointed out that the incident reading by itself would make white white and that the one stop adjustment added to the reading proved just right in their situation and for the colour reversal film they were using.

The exhibition prints that were made to accompany the public tour - and for other exhibitions at the time - were Cibachrome. They were superb. I can vividly remember the summit prints, taken in fading daylight, where Scott and Haston took photos of each other.

Last edited by Anthony Harvey : 01-25-2016 at 05:59. Reason: text correction
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Old 01-25-2016   #22
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Four tips on how to accurately meter exposure in snow: https://www.slrlounge.com/four-tips-...osure-in-snow/
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Old 01-25-2016   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLKRCAT View Post
I think that the spot meter on the m5 is still to big to evaluate some scenes with small detail,
Absolutely. Most common explanations of the Zone System ask for a spot meter with 1 or less spot coverage. The angle on the M5 is focal length dependent, but much greater than that for any Leica lens (short of very long third party lens heads on a Visoflex).
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