View Full Version : Metering???

Meint Sijp
01-13-2008, 06:14 AM
Hi i was wondering when you shoot Birds, and especielly white ones, How do you find out exactly how to messure the light, to get it wel expossed.Here i think of the bird compared to its surroundings, BG, sky, White to black, white to white, black to black etc.

When do you use Spotmetering, partiel etc. And how do you know exactly to set the camera for minus or plus, in a situation like this.

When using manual, do you use a grey card to get right exposure or what do you take the metering from and how often do you use manual compared to AV wich as far i can read most birders use.
Hope this is the right place to put a question like this and that it is not to borring a question.... I'm Just eager to learn to become a better photographer :)

Jim Neiger
01-13-2008, 12:37 PM
Good question, Meint! There are many ways to arrive at a proper exposure. I will share the method I use. I shoot in manual exposure mode almost all of the time. My method is to use the in camera meter to take a base meter reading and then I compensate for the subject if needed. I use the Canon evaluative (full frame) metering. I avoid using the spot meter as it is easy to meter on something unintended like an overly dark or bright spot. I try to find a constant in my environment that is always available for me to meter on. I often use a common shade of green foliage that is usually present here in FL. The green foliage is sort of the equivilant of a middle gray tone. I try to fill the frame in the viewfinder with my green constant. I try to avoid large areas of shadow or reflective highlights that might throw off my meter reading. I use an area of green foliage that is in the same light that I think my subject will be in. Once I have filled the view finder with my constant, I adjust the scale in the viewfinder to even, or if my subject requires exposure compensation I adjust the scale appropriately. Determining the exposure compensation is done by comparing the subject to the constant that I used for metering. If the subject is lighter than the constant I may need to take away light (negative compensation) or if the subject is darker I may need to add light (positive compensation) How much light to add or subtract is determined by the intensity of the light you are photographing in and by experience. Commen sense will tell you whether you need to add or subtract light, but experience will help you determine how much to add or subtract. If the light is soft, you need less compensation than when the light is very bright and harsh. The histogram may be used to evaluate the results and make adjustments. In low light situations the cameras meter is less acurate and you need to consider this and compensate accordingly. Again, experience and evaluating the results come into play. I normaly try to walk the edge of overexposure by bringing the highlights in the image right to the ege of overexposure, but without going over and blowing the highlights. By walking the edge of overexposure, I am maximizing the dynamic range of the camera and preserving as much detail as possible in the dark areas. If my green foliage constant is not available, I will pick another constant that is. For example, when I was in Alaska phoptographing Bald Eagles I use dsnow as my constant. I hope this helps.

Meint Sijp
01-15-2008, 02:01 AM
Hi Jim.
thanks a lot for taking your time on writnig all this down. A lot for me to experiment with. And proberly have to read this 20 times more so took the liberty to make a copy to read when off line i hope it is ok if not i will delete.
Sound Easy but i recon it will come by tim trying out different situations. most places i take photos is with changing BG due to not own a car, all my money goes for equipment :)
I recon i have to learn how to find the best "green" to meter off .
Yep it helped me to get some more ideers to practis different thing:)