Tip # 2 Light meters and how they can mess you up!
Light meters only measure reflected light off your scene. When the dial is moved or a pointer is centered it tells you the exposure that is read from your exposure card,the palm of your hand or off the scene itself.
You will get “middle gray”….all meters give you middle gray.Average readings! Hand held or in camera – 18% gray is the target on most- some manufacturers set it at 36% – that is one stop more than 18%.
Usually the best exposure can be more than 3 stops from the average meter reading!
A lot of photographers ‘bracket’ thier shots- that is :1- )meter reading, 2)- 1stop up ,3-) 1 stop down.
That doesn’t work for a ” hot scene ” active news assignment..too much action- too fast!
And street photographers- well, if you can get the subject to be still – it might be OK.!
But remember- the best exposure can be 3 stops off the meter reading!…:-D.
When I was on an assignment and needed the shot quickly-we took the reading off the palm of our hands- that gave a reading of 36% reflection- one stop more than 18% reading. Some photog’s used a gray card- news people didn’t.
Try to place your palm in the same light as your subjects- angled parallel to the planes of your subject!
What if you ‘re in open shade and the action is in the sun and you can’t get closer……then close down 3 stops on a bright day….
2 stops on a hazy day….
Well,what if you are in the sun and the action is in the shade and you can’t get in the middle of it….shade your hand with your body- or- on a sunny day- open 3 stops….on a shady day open 2 stops…..easy-peasy! !!
This is not tooting my own horn or bragging,but, it just became second nature to “read the light”- without a light meter….you didn’t have to think about it twice….you.knew that scene called for f-8 and 125/shutter speed!
You just became your own light meter! !!
And it still works today…I never stopped photography…except for one period of time – after a personal tragedy –I lost my ability to “see photographically” for about 3 years….
But,I got it back! !! Yea!!!
Next Tip #3 – The mysterious film speed test!
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Photos back it up!”