tirsdag 25. august 2015

Exposure... how much fun can one really have?

Electronically controlled digital image making, or rather taking, devices have their own psycho ways when it comes to calculating exposure. 
When I grew up I learned that there was a limited certain set of shutter times, and then a set of aperture values on any lens. Some lenses were simpler than others, but on just about any old SLR lens from back then you will find a span from maybe f/2 upwards to f/16 or thereabout. A few very fancy high-end expensive ones had half stops in between, but most of them was equipped with only the set of full stops. The shutter times was more or less standard for all cameras, only that the expensive ones started to get faster shutters some time during the eighties when we started to see 1/2000 and even 1/4000 of a second and stuff like that. I never had the money, so I left them alone.

Anyway. Ever checked the EXIF data (or whatever it's called...) the readout of the exposure thing from a digital shooter? I tell you; it's no wonder that any boy or girl next door ends up with the eyes rolling around all over the shop when manual exposure is being brought up as a smalltalk subject around the morning coffee some old sunday morning. When they check the data of the pictures taken on their devices, the shutter times and the belonging f/stops just does not make sense. Not to them, not to me. 
This is simply because such a camera in Automatic mode (green stuff on the wheely thing on top of the device, usually) is able to choose between a zillion of combinations of ISO, Aperture and Shutter settings. That's why it's simply impossible to learn much about exposure by checking such sets of data. 

Grab any old SLR film shooter though, and you will learn what you need in a few minutes just by listening to someone who knows a few bits about it, and playing with the real thing on your own. And hey, you can still get the exposures quite right even though you only got a few shuttertimes and aperture settings to choose from. No kiddin'!
Feeling really brave this morning, I could also claim to be able to teach someone a few things about walking around, taking pictures whithout the need of a light meter. I never used to do this in my earlier life, as my (only) camera of choice back then was equipped with such a device. Not a very good one, mind you, but it was there for me to use, and I did. Nowadays I got more cameras without a functioning meter (or without a meter at all) than I got of the others, which usually leads to situations where I just have to decide in a flick of time the settings of my camera to make a decent exposure. Don't start whining about me bragging and all sorts! It's really easy... I swear! Even me, myself, managed to understand how to do it. That should tell you something, just trust me.

All snaps in this post was done with some old german camera with no light meter at all. Just "guessing" exposure, adjust accordingly, and snap. If you think my sister looks a bit weird around her mouth area, you are quite right about that. Eating something as I snapped away she was, which never looks smashing anyway.

Running around with old cameras in the end gave me no other option but start taking chances on exposure, and try to learn how to see light instead of using a hand held light meter for every single shot. It's actually not about taking huge life threatening chances folks. All that can go wrong is that you'll loose a great masterpiece or three. I can ashure you it's worth it, in the end.
The answer lies in the "Sunny 16" rule, even though I would twist that a bit and rename to "Standard Dull 5.6" rule, or something like that, up in our area. Sunny is not an every day experience, to say the least. We usually get totally confused as soon as something shines a bright light down, and cast shadows at the same time. 

Anyway, if you are able to find google, or something, you can find out about this as well. If not, just ask and I'll come up with something one day soon. I'm a nice guy, you see...! :)
Just remember to exposure for the shadows, and you should be totally OK.

That last shot is just a disaster of an exposure, but I throw it in here anyway. Under the circumstances it was the best I could get, probably... but I had the wrong film and everything at this gig. I love a couple of the shots though, and what more do you need? Nothing I would think is the right answer.

2 kommentarer:

  1. That last shot is just perfect...captures the mood excellently I think! And you are right about exposure. My brother was (like me) into photography in his teenage years. Now he hasn't taken a 'proper' photograph in 30+ years, but when we're together and out-and-about I ask him to give me the exposure - from his head. And he is usually spot on. As you rightly say, Roy, it's not so hard when you practice it for a while - and something all those first-time camera users should learn.

    1. Thanks a lot for that comment Michael! I like that last one quite good myself as well, I have to say. I got a couple more from the same set, so watch out and keep coming back :)
      About exposure... my son just wrote me a message wondering how to do this and that with his newly accuired digital camera. You see, he just got interrested in photography for some reason, and told me a few weeks ago he had bought some electronic shooter which could handle whatever you threw at it. Hrmph... said the old man, and sure enough, a few weeks later the questions started to come. I need to go home and give him a few short lessons, and of course something a bit more fun to work with! At least he's up for a short lecture with an old camera in hand. Then everything makes sense within a few minutes I would guess. It's not that hard at all, but takes a bit of practice and a few more or less ruined frames. But I still think it's worth the effort nonetheless.


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