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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 10-11-2018   #41
MCTuomey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
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
I sure don't believe I "know better," just pointing out that there are exceptions to the "point the meter at the camera" instruction you quoted above. Which is what this thread is partly about. Maybe best I leave the room now.
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Old 10-11-2018   #42
David Hughes
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Oh dear, oh dear! I don't like to see people falling out and so I wondered about this and then decided to have a look in my collection of old meters and so on. I'v several dating back to the 30's but they don't seem to use incident light accessories with the earlier ones, probably because this was mostly the era of B&W film.

Anyway, looking in the manuals with the 1940's and 50's meters they both say incident light means standing by the subject and pointing the thing at the light source; usually the sun.

Jumping forward a little to the same maker but 1960's and 70's the instructions say that the meter is used by the subject but pointed towards the camera. And the same applies to the 1980's manuals and meters.

I then thought that a look at an "outsider" to the mainstream might be an idea and looked in the manual with the Leningrad 4 and, again, it says point the incident light meter at the camera. I don't know a date for this meter, btw.

So it looks as though the advice changed over the years - perhaps with the advent of colour slide popularity.

And FWIW, I still see the meter as the starting point with a bit of thought thrown into the mixture before it comes out of its case and after getting a reading from it. Especially if the lens and meter have different fields of view (FoV), not that anyone seems to know what the FoV of their meter is apart from the spot meters.

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Last edited by David Hughes : 10-11-2018 at 08:47. Reason: Finger trouble.
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Old 10-11-2018   #43
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It seems that basically we have four different approaches to backlit scene: Chris Crawford has given us two, Rob-F has given us the old standby, and Roger not here but in his book Perfect Exposure has give us his treatment for backlit scenes.

Roger states: 'For strongly backlit subjects, use a domed receptor and take two readings, one on the subject/camera axis and one at right angles to that axis so that the dome illuminated on one side. Split the difference between two these readings for a good compromise....'

These all work well and for me, but experience is the best way to get good at this special scene exercise.
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Old 10-11-2018   #44
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Suggestions for "light reading while facing the sun". eh?
Page Two and no one has suggested Jackie Collins and SPF 50 Coppertone?
Yes, beach weather has come and gone but still....
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Old 10-12-2018   #45
Richard G
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An RFF light meter thread that doesn’t get to three pages by this time? Come on guys.
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Old 10-12-2018   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard G View Post
An RFF light meter thread that doesn’t get to three pages by this time? Come on guys.
Allow me to help with that:

How would I meter if there was sunshine coming through a leaf, or through petals etc. and I wanted to capture that as the glow of sunshine coming through a leaf or petals etc. rather than just a leaf or petals?
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Old 10-12-2018   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seany65 View Post
Allow me to help with that:

How would I meter if there was sunshine coming through a leaf, or through petals etc. and I wanted to capture that as the glow of sunshine coming through a leaf or petals etc. rather than just a leaf or petals?
That's a not a job for an incident meter, there's no way of knowing how translucent the leaf is. A reflective meter, be it spot or a regular one held up to the leaf, place in desired zone, perhaps VI (if using in camera meter, that would give one more stop than reading), done. Balance with light reading for background it necessary/desired.
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Old 10-13-2018   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
That's a not a job for an incident meter, there's no way of knowing how translucent the leaf is. A reflective meter, be it spot or a regular one held up to the leaf, place in desired zone, perhaps VI (if using in camera meter, that would give one more stop than reading), done. Balance with light reading for background it necessary/desired.
The Weston Master series meters are handy for this. They make it easy to place reading at the desired zone, and then read the resulting exposure off the calculator dial.
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Old 10-13-2018   #49
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Interesting thread which has made me think 'exactly what do I do?'. I think the main thing I keep in mind is that an incident meter is calibrated for a standard grey card. That is to say, if you make an incident reading to take a photo of a grey card and then follow a standard procedure to get a print, the grey card will look grey in the print. A black object or a white object adjacent to the card will look black or white respectively. So suppose I want to find the exposure for a person who is backlit. I use the incident meter pointed towards my camera (always) and I shield the dome from direct sunlight using my hand (i.e. placed behind the meter). That is exactly the same as having the meter pressed up against the person's face, after all the face does not 'know' the head is backlit, it just 'knows' it is being illuminated by light backscattered from the sky. If the subject has a grey face, it will appear grey in the print, if black, black etc. If the subject is wearing a hat, that's a different matter because some of the backscattered light will be prevented from falling on the face. It might be possible to simulate this by moving one's hand over the dome but this is not something I have ever tried. The real problem with backlit subjects is contrast, subject vs. background. How to meter the background scene depends on how much the backscattered light is augmented by light directly reflected from e.g. the ground. I would initially try a standard incident measurement (no dome shading) and compare it with a reflected measurement (dome removed) off the ground. If the reflected reading is higher I go with that. If this reflected reading is more than say 2 stops over the reading with the dome shielded then the scene will be correctly exposed and the subject will tend to be in silhouette. If I want some detail in the subject I have to increase the exposure (up to the shielded dome measurement) and that will tend to over-expose the background...or you have to resort to fill-in flash to reduce the contrast.
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Old 10-13-2018   #50
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Off track but judicious use of fill flash is the easiest way to solve these problems. Especially if you are using a modern DSLR or equivalent. Programmed flashes work great and with pixel peeping it just a second to take a corrected shot.

I think some of the late model film cameras have this capability too, but I never cared for all that messing around. I have an Olympus Stylus Infinity from new and it is still my go to the beach camera because it has a great 'fill flash' feature.
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Old 10-13-2018   #51
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I couldn't agree more, charjohncarter. I don't carry a flashgun for my film camera. My 'flashgun' is a Canon S110 digital camera. It's brilliant the way it allows you to mix flash and ambient light. I dial down the exposure to bring in the background and have the flash set to -1 stop (i.e. half Canon's recommended flash exposure). It works 90% of the time. I can usually guess if I need more flash...and as you say it's just a second to take a corrected shot.
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Old 10-13-2018   #52
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Film or digital capture?

What are you photographing?

For photographing people, no other way than you describe, I would work at achieving balance between foreground and background, by operating the camera in manual mode and using fill light. In most cases, I was operating with little time to make the photographs. Usually relying on the histogram rather than a light meter. Historgram gives an indication of the entire frame of a photograph. Not perfect but it worked for me.

In our silly brains, code was evidently written, that says, “when viewing a photograph I want you to look at the brightest areas first and report to me what you see!” I hate to view photographs with blown out backgrounds. Especially when the photographer wants folks to look at the faces of the people first!

So how would you light for a photograph that has a bright sunny background, people with dark, black, tux and a bride with a white dress? To complicate things even further, the people in the photograph have varying skin color. Or would you think the heck with it I’ll just set the camera on auto and fix later with Photoshop?

Smiles!
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Old 10-13-2018   #53
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Back lit translucence is tricky, for sure.
As a 40 year film user I must admit digital helps---a lot.

This empty cicada shell has varying sections of density and an "eye hole" that is just that---NO density.
Shooting in RAW with a combination of guessing, bracketing and histogram consultation resulted in something to work with.

Intricate "Dodging / Burning" and contrast control in Lightroom resulted in this.
Not impossible but difficult in a wet darkroom.



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Old 10-17-2018   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
That's a not a job for an incident meter, there's no way of knowing how translucent the leaf is. A reflective meter, be it spot or a regular one held up to the leaf, place in desired zone, perhaps VI (if using in camera meter, that would give one more stop than reading), done. Balance with light reading for background it necessary/desired.
Thanks for the info retinax.

When you say:

"Balance with light reading for background..."

do you mean:

"Also take a reading for the background, and if it's the same as the 'in-camera +1 reading', use it."
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Old 05-01-2019   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seany65 View Post
Thanks for the info retinax.

When you say:

"Balance with light reading for background..."

do you mean:

"Also take a reading for the background, and if it's the same as the 'in-camera +1 reading', use it."

Sorry for the very late reply, yes, that or if the readings are not the same, find a compromise.
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