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Thread: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

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    So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Hello everyone,
    The manual and AV shooting has been a worthwhile journey and i thank you all so far for guiding me along.

    Of recent, i have been noticing something about shooting manual. Sometimes, after choosing the settings i want, the meter show my image to be underexposed....raising ISO sometimes makes the needle move towards the center but in the name of practicing and understanding what is going on, i don't always raise ISO. The discovery is that once i take the shot with the use of a flash(external flash), many times the shot comes out real clean.

    The problem....: though i get some pretty results by ignoring the light meter and using flash power, i need to know what i am fiddling with. When is it okay to ignore the exposure meter reading? And if underexposure seems to be the problem, will additional lighting resolve that while i still maintain the intended creative effect?

    All the best!

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    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    Hello everyone,
    The manual and AV shooting has been a worthwhile journey and i thank you all so far for guiding me along.

    Of recent, i have been noticing something about shooting manual. Sometimes, after choosing the settings i want, the meter show my image to be underexposed....raising ISO sometimes makes the needle move towards the center but in the name of practicing and understanding what is going on, i don't always raise ISO. The discovery is that once i take the shot with the use of a flash(external flash), many times the shot comes out real clean.

    The problem....: though i get some pretty results by ignoring the light meter and using flash power, i need to know what i am fiddling with. When is it okay to ignore the exposure meter reading? And if underexposure seems to be the problem, will additional lighting resolve that while i still maintain the intended creative effect?

    All the best!
    Ife,

    Could we see some examples of what you mean?

    You can always ignore the meter to a degree. it all depends on your desired outcome and who will be viewing the photograph. Suppose you are photographing an automobile outdoors and your camera settings are ideal, but you aren't happy with the color, the reds should be more dazzingly. You can increase your shutter speed (from 1/320s to 1500s) and now yours reds are nicely saturated. You have ignored the meter and achieved the shot you wanted.

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Some questions come to mind:

    What meter are you using ?

    The meter in your camera or a separate hand held meter ?

    If you are using a hand held meter, does it have a Flash mode to meter the scene illuminated by the flash and how does the meter fire the flash ?

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Hi again Ife - you are discovering the joys of metering now. The problem is your in-camera meter, which is a reflected light meter (as opposed to an incident light meter). What it does is measures the light based on an "average" scene, so for most shooting the results are fairly good.

    If you use it in conditions that are not close to "average", you will get poor results. I seem to remember that picture of yourself sitting in front of a window, would have been one of those conditions. A scene that is very light will end up being very overexposed (dark), as the light meter will try to produce an average scene. If you take a night-time shot, the camera will again look at an average daytime scene and you will get an image that is lighter than you would expect for the conditions you shot under.

    Learn how to read and use your camera's histogram display to judge your exposure, and either shoot manually or use exposure compensation to correct if you are shooting in aperture or shutter priority modes.

    Another solution is to use an incident light meter, rather than the one built into the camera. That allows you to measure the light falling on the subject, and using those readings (shutter speed and aperture) in manual mode. This will give you a far more accurate exposure reading.

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    I will post the ones i took in a dark place but with flash later on, but here is a problem i ran into yesterday.
    So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    The above picture is not exactly what i aimed for but trying again, i got this below:
    So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.
    which is closer to what i was expecting.

    The lighting conditions: daylight but there was a transluscent green roof. Many times my subjects came out in a some greenish skin...i toyed with white balance for a while but i wasnt getting great shots at a point. Let me show you the roof:
    So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.
    and here is one of the unfriendly effect:
    So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    How can i avoid this next time(shooting with some funny colours from the roof) and again, from the above pictures, in specific terms, what should i aim to correct in photoshop. Just tell me the terms, i will research and then decide which needs what....my PP issue still remains, what do i need to do to what. Handling photoshop is easier for me than a mouse handling cheese :d.

    Here is one i like though, it's not immune to critique though:
    So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Canon 1000D, Sigma 70-300mm. No flash.

    I'll be waiting for your usually-useful comments. Thanks.
    All the best!

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    A good habit to learn may be under exposing your ambient and hitting the subject with flash for a proper exposure.

    With flash you are dealing with 2 separate exposures on your final image - flash and ambient.

    Under exposing your ambient (by under exposing or by using exposure compensation) can add drama to your image.
    Last edited by dubaiphil; 1st October 2012 at 08:15 AM.

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    You're getting your green tint from the flash bouncing off the roof. That will give you the green cast.

    If you're bouncing flash, you've got to watch what you're bouncing off. It needs to be neutral.

    Some solutions:

    1. Hit the subject with more direct flash - increase the flash zoom, get it off camera and closer to the subject. -ives, harder and more direct light = stronger shadows. If you can't get the flash off the camera, then you'll need something to block the lght hitting the roof and creating the green colour cast.

    2. Increase your ISO and shoot without flash.

    3. Play with your White Balance, or shoot RAW and play with it afterwards.

    Here's you've got a single light source and you're trying to expose for the man who is facing you. However, you have another man's back in the image with a bright white shirt on. Your flash may be metering for the subject, and this may result in lots of blown highlights with the nearer guy's shirt. Light power drops off exponentially as it leaves the strobe, so high power will be hitting the man closer to you.
    Last edited by dubaiphil; 1st October 2012 at 08:16 AM.

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post

    Under exposing your ambient (in manual mode by under exposing or in Av mode by using exposure compensation) can add drama to your image.
    Thank you Phil, could you please re-explain the above part for me...?

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    When shooting with Flash you are actually controlling 2 separate exposures.

    The first is your ambient exposure (what the image would look like with no flash present)
    The second is your flash exposure (what the person/thing looks like when you hit it with flash)

    Your second flash exposure is very fast, due to the nature of the burst of light from your flash. This can freeze motion
    Your first exposure can be controlled by you to add drama or effect. You may want the background to be darker to accentuate the subject. In this case if you under expose the ambient portion of your shot by 2 or 3 stops, the background will be darker.

    The way I look at it is to build up my shot in my mind and camera. First, I switch to manual on the camera, then meter the scene and take a test shot. Then I'll under expose my shot to get the 'feel' that I want. Then and only then I'll switch on the flash and add in the flash power I want for the subject. So baby steps.

    Once I have the ratio I want (the amount I want to under expose the ambient and the amount of flash power I need) I'm good to shoot unless one of the following happens:

    1. My flash to subject distance changes
    2. My ambient light changes

    Then I'll have to re evaluate and rebuild my shot.

    The quicker and easier way is to use TTL metering - using camera exposure compensation to darken the ambient and flash exposure compensation to increase the flash power to balance in the ratio I want. Then, if 1. or 2. above changes, I don't need to worry. That's the advantage of TTL, but there's less control than full manual

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Thanks a lot Phil, now i get what you mean. The images, i did not use flash for them though...just the sun penetrating through the green roof. Now I'm beginning to see some need for raw. But shooting raw aside, i will want to know how to get it right from the camera.....no disrespect to PP....so that makes your advice very valuable and i thank you for that.
    The chess tourney continues later today, presumably same conditions. Should i want to shoot jpeg, how would you advise i proceed?

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    Thanks a lot Phil, now i get what you mean. The images, i did not use flash for them though...just the sun penetrating through the green roof. Now I'm beginning to see some need for raw. But shooting raw aside, i will want to know how to get it right from the camera.....no disrespect to PP....so that makes your advice very valuable and i thank you for that.
    The chess tourney continues later today, presumably same conditions. Should i want to shoot jpeg, how would you advise i proceed?

    Hi Ife

    You have some great replies here from people more experienved than I but I would strongly recommend shooting in RAW. You are absolutely right that you should be aiming to get the perfect shot "in camera" and i try to do the same. However I have found that RAW allows me to correct some of the mistakes that I have made. And sometimes you cannot go back and try again.

    I recently tried some street photography which I found challenging and intimidating. When I was shooting I made some mistakes because I was nervous. When I got home the images where under exposed but becuase I shot them in RAW I could "rescue" the images.

    Just my opinion. Keep experimenting and shooting

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    just the sun penetrating through the green roof.
    Ife - that explains your colour cast. The light coming through the green roof will tint part of your lighting with green coloured light. Because you are in an open area, you are getting a lot of reflection from indirect sunlight in the rest of the shot. You have a mixed-light situation, and no easy solution. Because there is such an intense cast and this is s shot in broad daylight, fixing it will not be easy.

    The only solution that I can see is to put a flag over the sujbect to control the coloured light. In photography and film work a flag is something used to block an unwanted light source, like a large sheet of opaque material between the roof and the person you are shooting. This will likely not be possible in these candid shooting situations like a chess tournament. Your eyes will compensate for this effect unless you are looking for it, but your camera won't. Another, but less practical solution (one that is used in professional film production) is to apply a magenta colour correction gel over the green roof to in order to produced a neutral light source.

    This shot is a mixed light shot - there is a bit of a warm cast from the setting sun, but there is an overall cool cast from the sky and a very warm yellow to orange cast from the tungsten light sources. You can balance for a single colour cast, but with mixed lighting, this is not possible.


    So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.
    Last edited by GrumpyDiver; 1st October 2012 at 03:05 PM. Reason: Added mixed light image

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    Thanks a lot Phil, now i get what you mean. The images, i did not use flash for them though...just the sun penetrating through the green roof. Now I'm beginning to see some need for raw. But shooting raw aside, i will want to know how to get it right from the camera.....no disrespect to PP....so that makes your advice very valuable and i thank you for that.
    The chess tourney continues later today, presumably same conditions. Should i want to shoot jpeg, how would you advise i proceed?
    Take a custom white balance frame in the area you are shooting (I think the 1000D can do that? ) and use custom white balance for all your shots under that green cast lit area.

    A gray card would be best but you can get away with white. This will leave you with very little PP afterwards and the feeling as the correctly balanced images come out of the camera will make you happy, judging by your desire to get it right in camera.

    Hope this helps.

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    The only solution that I can see is to put a flag over the sujbect to control the coloured light.
    Just not a Nigerian flag - that will just make things worse

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by dubaiphil View Post
    Just not a Nigerian flag - that will just make things worse
    Quite right Phil... But I can't think of any countries with a predominantly magenta flag offhand!

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveF View Post
    Take a custom white balance frame in the area you are shooting (I think the 1000D can do that? ) and use custom white balance for all your shots under that green cast lit area.

    A gray card would be best but you can get away with white. This will leave you with very little PP afterwards and the feeling as the correctly balanced images come out of the camera will make you happy, judging by your desire to get it right in camera.

    Hope this helps.
    Steve - I'm not quite how a CWB will make a lot of difference here. That will correct an overall colour temperature issue, but here we have a very localized, but strong, green highlight problem.

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Steve - I'm not quite how a CWB will make a lot of difference here. That will correct an overall colour temperature issue, but here we have a very localized, but strong, green highlight problem.
    Manfred, you've stumped me slightly here. In my experience we can make anything 'correct' with the right algorithms in digital. Are you taking the whole scene into consideration as the film industry would or just a 'frame' which I consider we could change frame by frame if we wanted to be really fussy?

    To change the whole scene would need your suggestions as the videographer would pan around and encounter many light sources and these would have to be corrected to tungsten (most likely) before shooting.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Steve: My experience is a bit different than yours; it is very difficult to correct mixed lighting with custom white balance. CWB sets the white point / colour temperature; it’s impossible to do that with light sources that have totally different colour characteristics.

    I’ve gone in and had a very good look at the colours in these images. As a rule, they have a very heavy green cast, especially near the top of the images. When you check the bottom, the colour balance is quite good, with a hint of a cyan or blue cast. The background is warm in a couple of the images.

    So, where would you place your target for the white balance? Up near the top? That would result in the camera CWB reducing the green component and introducing a magenta cast, lower down in the image. Take it near the middle or bottom, where the colour won’t be all that different from what we see in the images now. You will get that green cast on the heads and faces again. Take it in the background; it will cool everything in the foreground right down and introduce a blue cast.

    CWB works well when the light is fairly consistent. Throw in something like this large green light modifier that we have overhead and if just doesn’t work.

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post

    So, where would you place your target for the white balance? Up near the top? That would result in the camera CWB reducing the green component and introducing a magenta cast, lower down in the image. Take it near the middle or bottom, where the colour won’t be all that different from what we see in the images now. You will get that green cast on the heads and faces again. Take it in the background; it will cool everything in the foreground right down and introduce a blue cast.

    CWB works well when the light is fairly consistent. Throw in something like this large green light modifier that we have overhead and if just doesn’t work.
    Manfred: I would place my CWB target in the area of most importance in mixed lighting such as this. In this case at a level nearer head height of those sitting as this is the most important to me in this scenario.

    I fully agree CWB is only going to correct one point in mixed lighting like this. However it's better than nothing at all. We encounter mixed lighting in many scenes which we can balance them with fill flash which I don't think the OP has available.

    I'll give an instance I encounter regularily: wedding services. I use a CWN for the position of the Bride and Groom in all instances as they are the most important. This makes the windows in the background blue cast and if the lighting over B&G is tungsten will make the wall downlighters often used in the UK look odd too. But that's the nature of the beast! If flash were allowed in church (which it isn't) then I'd get an even colour balance. If I go into a reception which is all lit by tungsten and I need fill it's either a video light or flash with quarter CTO gel over it.

    I think it all comes down to a matter of taste. I don't shoot raw but is there a program which will balance all the lighting such as those above without layers? I know on full auto my G1X has on jpegs - not perfect but does a decent job.

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    Re: So dogma doesn't trap me. Manual mode and exposure meter.

    Once the relevant white balance has been achieved all you can do is adjust for any localised lighting that existed. The localised lighting can sometimes enhance a scene and at other times be a distraction but changing it I would not class as a correction but rather as an "aesthetic adjustment". I must admit in the above examples I would add an adjustment layer in photoshop with a mask to to minimise the green casts. Heaps of ways to get rid of it but all require a bit of selection and/or painting skill.

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