Freelance Photographer Cambridge - Blog | 46 - Seeing Is Believing

January 25, 2018
bokeh photographic (Alistair Grant): Food & Drink Photographer; Commercial Photographer, Product Photographer & Packshot Photographer; Event Photographer; Portrait Photographer; Corporate Photographer & PR Photographer; Engagement Photographer & Wedding Photographer and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Bedford, St Neots, St Ives and London. Freelance Photographer & Freelance Photography Services in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and across the UK.    
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   Alistair Grant 

Freelance Photographer Cambridge & London

     
     

bokeh photographic: Blog No: 46

 Freelance Photographer Cambridge Blog Image | Blog 46 | Seeing Is Believing (The National Trust's Blickling Hall in Norfolk used to illustrate the principles of camera metering). © bokeh photographic (Alistair Grant): Freelance Photographer; Food & Drink Photographer; Commercial Photographer, Product Photographer & Packshot Photographer; Event Photographer; Portrait Photographer; Corporate Photographer & PR Photographer; Engagement Photographer & Wedding Photographer and Photography Training Courses, St Ives, Cambridge. Blog 46 – Seeing Is Believing (The National Trust's Blickling Hall in Norfolk used to illustrate the principles of camera metering) | bokeh photographic - Alistair Grant | Freelance Photographer in Cambridge, Huntingdon, Peterborough, Bedford, St Neots, St Ives and London. Blog 46 – Seeing Is Believing (The National Trust's Blickling Hall in Norfolk used to illustrate the principles of camera metering) by Alistair Grant. Food & Drink Photography; Commercial Photography, Product Photography & Packshot Photography; Event Photography; Portrait Photography; Corporate Photography & PR Photography; Engagement Photography & Wedding Photography and Photography Training Courses in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and across the UK.

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Seeing Is Believing

Accurate metering is fundamental to good photography. In simple terms metering determines the brightness of a scene in order to inform adjustment of shutter speed and/or aperture and/or ISO. The purpose (again somewhat simplified) is to represent ‘true’ brightness and avoid under or over exposure of a photograph. Irrespective of whether using a camera (reflected metering) or a light-meter (incident metering), it is reasonably straightforward for anyone who is able to perceive the range of brightness in any given scene. Having said that, metering is best taught in-person so that technique can be perfected. Unfortunately, many people haven’t learnt to ‘see’ brightness despite this being an important preliminary step before reaching for the camera or the light-meter. Seeing brightness allows assessment of: whether the dynamic range of the scene exceeds that of the camera (and if so helps determine what might have to be sacrificed when ‘placing the exposure’); identifies any potentially problematic areas such as light surfaces which might easily become clipped (overexposed); and ascertains what tones in the scene might be used for metering - normally mid-grey (aka 18% grey; a surface which reflects 18% of incident light under controlled conditions but which appears 50% bright due to the non-linear manner in which we perceive light) although it is entirely feasible to meter off any tone so long as you are aware of the range of brightness.

This image of Blickling Hall in Norfolk is an otherwise unedited RAW-to-JPEG conversion. It is ideal for highlighting my assessment of brightness before formally metering to take the shot. To reiterate, this isn’t about how I metered but what I did before metering! The Hall is clearly the main interest. Although at first glance it appears of uniform brightness it is not. There are deep shadow areas in the windows, particularly on the ground floor, in the shrubs either side of the door, on the West facing side of the Eastern tower and on the roof where the chimneys and lantern turret have cast a shadow. In contrast (sorry!), note the highlight areas on the lead domes of the turrets, on the lantern turret stonework and the stucco rendering. Cameras are calibrated to meter off 18% grey on the assumption that if equally distributed the dark and light tones in a given scene will average to mid-grey. Due to perceiving this tone distribution I knew that the Hall, isolated from the rest of the scene, would meter around 50% brightness where 0% brightness equates to pure black and 100% to pure white. In other words, equivalent to Zone V of the original Zone System. Alternatively, it’s perhaps easier to think more conceptually of '0EC' (signifying zero Exposure Compensation), or in post-production terms, 128 on the 0-255 scale where 0 equates to pure black and 255 to pure white. Although having a brightness level of 85% (215/+3EC), the potentially problematic light turret roofs are not clipped.

Somewhat coincidentally the scene as a whole (which lay within the dynamic range of the camera) also averages to 50% brightness thanks to: the shadowed East (10%/25/-4EC) balancing out the sunlit West (70%/180/+2EC) façade; and the blue sky (40%/100/-1EC) counteracting the light gravel path (73%/187/+2.5EC). It’s also worth pointing out that no area is completely homogenous in tone. For example, the lead flashing on the otherwise very dark East façade has a brightness of 60% (154/+1EV). Finally, returning to the fact this image is more-or-less straight out of camera the question is what should be done about the under/overexposed areas? This is a subjective call. One school of thought would argue nothing as the main subject of interest, the Hall, is correctly exposed. Cropping to exclude the façades is another option (although the image was shot on a relatively wide lens it was taken standing back to avoid perspective distortion). However, I would probably opt to address the relative under/overexposure of the façades in post-production.

   
     

Call Alistair Grant on 07775 365507, Email alistair.grant@bokehphotographic.co.uk or click Booking Enquiries if you have any questions or would like to make a booking.

   
     

bokeh: "the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens"


Freelance Photographer offering Food & Drink Photography Cambridge; Commercial Photography Cambridge, Product Photography Cambridge & Packshot Photography Cambridge; Event Photography Cambridge; Portrait Photography Cambridge; Corporate Photography Cambridge & PR Photography Cambridge; Engagement Photography Cambridge & Wedding Photography Cambridge and Photography Training Courses in Cambridge. Also covering: Huntingdon, St. Ives, Ramsey, St. Neots, Peterborough, Bedford, Stamford, Newmarket, Sawtry, Alconbury Weston, Brampton, Hartford, Warboys, Houghton, Wyton, Godmanchester, Hilton, Hemingford Grey, Hemingford Abbots, Fenstanton, Whittesley, Yaxley, Needingworth, Somersham, Chatteris, Ely, Bar Hill, Grafham and Buckden.

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bokeh photographic - Alistair Grant | Freelance Photographer | Cambridge, London, UK

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