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Thread: learning the "triangle"

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    learning the "triangle"

    Lots of time now and wondered if I could get a recommend on the best step by step tutorial on the triangle? I have my manual as well but I gotta know why and how these settings work before I can just go out and waste time shooting photos (and money for gas etc.). I probably sound like a broken record(for those my age you'll understand that saying)but I just sort of want to start on this fresh today

    Thanks all, in advance, denise

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    thanks Andrew, one of these I printed out and need to see if this is the one, if not, I'll take a look thank you much!! denise

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Ok, yes, have that all printed out. Will read it today and try out some things on my camera, learn to set aperture etc. custom or manually denise

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    *Personal rant*

    I think the Exposure Triangle is a horrible mnemonic. There's nothing about a triangle that relates in any way to exposure. There's no relationship in the way the angles or the lengths of the sides change that has any relationship to exposure. Even having three points is wrong, as there are four factors to exposure. The triangle is missing light.

    The other thing I hate about the triangle is that knowing it, even in its damaged form, is worthless. No one ever does anything to their camera based on the relationships of the triangle. So as soon as you understand it, you never think about the Triangle again except to tell some beginner "oh you need to learn about the Exposure Triangle."

    We are all slaves to the camera's meter. Even when we don't take the camera's suggestion of what it thinks standard exposure is, the settings we ultimately do choose will be directly relative to the meter's suggestion. We may decide to use +1 or +2 instead of the meter's "0"...but that +2 is relative to the "0".

    When you use auto modes, your primary exposure concern is the offset. You evaluate the scene and decide on that 0, +1, +2, whatever. No triangle. When you're in manual mode you set your desired aperture or shutter, and then position the Exposure Indicator at 0, +1, +2, whatever. And if your shutter speed or ISO isn't what you want, what do people do? They simply adjust the errant setting to the right place and once again adjust the other settings until the meter is reading as desired. No triangle.

    The lesson of the Exposure Triangle is one of equilibrium. You change one, and here's how to change the other to keep exposure the same. Once again...a useless exercise. When you're in an auto mode the camera does it automatically for you. In manual mode you either watch the meter as you make your changes or simply count clicks of the dial. Once again, the lessons of the Triangle serve no one.

    Finally, the relationships in the Triangle are wrong. The use of a triangle imply that all values are equal, but they're not. Changing ISO affects noise, whereas changing aperture/shutter doesn't.

    I think that a student will get much more out of learning what an Exposure Value (EV) is than learning about the triangle. No one seems to learn about Exposure Value anymore.

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Quote Originally Posted by Graystar View Post
    *Personal rant*

    I think the Exposure Triangle is a horrible mnemonic.
    I appreciate your post and basically, which you already know, I am trying to learn how these settings work. What I mean is, how to know what to set my camera for is it's dusk, or if there's a lot of sunlight. Auto Mode works for me but I am seeing way amazing photos that I want to learn how to take, or atleast, try to learn to be that "artistic".

    Can you recommend a good read for me on Exposure Value? If I could I would take a photography class but I am tied up with other classes. I can read though or watch a tutorial. My camera is not near the best either. It's a Fujifilm Finepix w/24X and it does have several "settings" modes so I can do some custom setting if I want.

    Thank you much for the reply, for now, I will google Exposure Value

    Denise

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Hi Denise, although I disagree with 'Graystar', I think a good place to start, IS to start shooting, and 'wasting time' as you say. That's the best way to learn. You're not going to wake up in the morning after reading pages upon pages about the exposure circle or square, or any other 2 dimensional shape, then go out to your predetermined location, and take the perfect photograph.

    Why not go to your predetermined location, with a few ideas in mind, a pen, and a piece of paper, and take boat loads of shots? Writing down all of the things you notice that change as you change settings.

    This is the most important lesson I got out of my $40 "Learn how to use your camera like a PRO" course that I took at the local camera shop a few years ago.

    After all, unless you're driving a long distance, gas is really your only expense, isn't it?

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    I appreciate your feedback as well Andrew. I believe you are right about just "doing" it because seems that is how I learn most things, not by reading but by applying.

    Just so happens I have a job offer of sorts and if I take it, that means traveling 3000 miles cross-country. That would surely give me tons of opportunities to try out some settings I do have to sit here and figure out how to operate/change the settings on my camera. I have procrastinated doing that much.

    I have always had a blast taking photos but now I hope this doesn't turn into something that isn't "fun" anymore. I tend to get too hard on myself and think every photo has to be perfect and that will just kill me.

    If I take the job I won't leave til the end of the month so that gives me time to learn a few settings.

    Thank you again, denise

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Denise,

    I disagree with many aspects of Graystar's self-described "rant". I think the triangle is a tremendously useful mnemonic.

    The triangle tells you have to trade off three settings--ISO, shutter speed, and aperture--to obtain the same exposure, given a scene and an amount of light. That is fairly straightforward, but essential.

    Graystar said:

    Finally, the relationships in the Triangle are wrong. The use of a triangle imply that all values are equal, but they're not. Changing ISO affects noise, whereas changing aperture/shutter doesn't.
    That is misleading, I think. The three are equivalent in terms of exposure. It's a little less clear now, because many cameras allow a greater range of settings, but traditionally, the aperture and shutter speed settings on cameras were half stops, meaning that two clicks on either would double or halve the light. They are not equivalent in other respects, and that is exactly the point. Yes, increasing ISO increases noise. The other two change things other than exposure also. Aperture changes depth of field, and shutter speed changes motion blur. That is exactly the reason to learn the exposure triangle. Once you are comfortable with it, you can ask yourself this, for a given scene with given lighting: which combination of the three settings (among the combinations that yield the same exposure) is better for other things I want in the image? This is a calculation that many of is go though all the time. For example, I usually shoot at ISO 100 or 200 to minimize noise. I will then look at a scene and ask: is DOF what really concerns me most? If so, I'll set the aperture and see what shutter speed that gives me. Let's say that I want ISO 200 and f/8.0. If that combination yields a shutter speed that is too slow, I either have to narrow DOF with a wider aperture or accept more noise with a higher ISO. I make these trade-offs in my mind literally all the time.

    And knowing all this can make photography more fun, not less. It allows you to look at a scene and decide how you want it to look in an image.

    As an exercise, pick a few scenes, ideally with things at different depths. then figure out an exposure and take repeated shots, trading off aperture and ISO. Then look at the images. You'll start getting a feeling for the trade-offs.

    Dan

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Hi Dan,

    Reading some of these posts is a little like a foreign language I don't speak. I only understand a little of what is said. I am that new at this. Never had a class, only used digital camera, auto settings. Like different depths? I haven't a clue what that means. I have so much to learn it is overwhelming but still of huge interest to me!

    I started out about a year ago with a tiny kodak, p&s, cost, 79$. Now I'm really in the bigtime with one that cost 179, LOL! Ok, but seriously, I do feel a little overwhelmed, not by you guys, but by the camera even though it is not fancy or expensive. I see all those optional settings and want to use/try them but as I said, a little overwhelming.

    I will just keep posting and reading, reading and posting as I go. There is so much I need to do on my own and this can't be "given" to me all gift-wrapped so I best get busy, thank you much!

    Denise
    PS I cheated a little to get some settings by checking properties of some good photos. So if I have the same time of day etc. I can try those settings to see how my pic comes out. I'm all self taught on the computer and navigate it just fine. I figure if I can do the same with the camera I will be doing well

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    I have found discussions about the triangle or quadrangle interesting becuase after sixty years in the game it is new to me
    The key point IMO is the relationshion of aperture to shutter speed. So often one reads moans by people who for instance pick a long shutter speed to 'turn water into milk' and complain that the result is a burnt out mess becuase they didn't know to reduce the amount of light entering the camera with a small aperture and neutral density filter[s].
    learning the "triangle"

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    this is great! I will look it over when I get back, I have a couple errands to run, thank you sooooooo much, denise

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Quote Originally Posted by captivating View Post
    I appreciate your post and basically, which you already know, I am trying to learn how these settings work. What I mean is, how to know what to set my camera for is it's dusk, or if there's a lot of sunlight. Auto Mode works for me but I am seeing way amazing photos that I want to learn how to take, or atleast, try to learn to be that "artistic".

    Can you recommend a good read for me on Exposure Value? If I could I would take a photography class but I am tied up with other classes. I can read though or watch a tutorial. My camera is not near the best either. It's a Fujifilm Finepix w/24X and it does have several "settings" modes so I can do some custom setting if I want.

    Thank you much for the reply, for now, I will google Exposure Value

    Denise
    Sorry, but I don't know of any books with good explanations of EV. The Wikipedia page on Exposure Value is not easy to read. It has two areas that are very good, though. The best area is the table of EV for lighting conditions. Above that table is the chart of EV values for aperture/shutter combinations. You don't need to memorize any of that. However, it's a good exercise to simply explore the table and chart, correlating the aperture/shutter values needed for various lighting conditions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposur...xposure_values
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposur...amera_settings
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exposure_value


    But first...you must understand and appreciate that setting exposure is but a single aspect of photography. There is a LOT more that goes into those amazing photos than just good exposure. Just about every potential scene has issues, and one of the skills of photography is in dealing with those issues. The correct operation of the camera is but a tiny aspect of photography. It's like using a brush in painting...you may learn all about brushes and brush strokes...but that does nothing for you in creating a painting. Photographer Gregory Crewdson says he doesn't even like holding the camera himself, and in fact he has a production crew who operates the camera. He even has other people do the post processing. Regardless, the images he produces sell for $60,000. It's his vision that people pay for...not his physical exertion.

    Photography is all about light, and your most basic skill is setting exposure. But that involves evaluating the light of scene, and that evaluation may lead to other decisions to be executed before determining exposure. You may decide that you need a graduated neutral density filter, or flash, or that the light, as is, doesn't work and the scene needs to be recomposed. Understanding EV, as well as understanding human vision, is helpful in those evaluations.

    Exposure Value is an invented number, created to make exposure management easier. What's most important to understand of EV is that 1 EV equals a doubling or halving of exposure. Also, 1 EV equals a doubling or halving of light + ISO (I'll expand on that later.) If you look at the specs of your camera, you'll find that EV is used to define the performance of several functions. So it's a good thing to understand.

    There is another value that is commonly used when speaking of exposure called the Stop. As with EV, a change of 1 stop equals a doubling or halving of exposure or light. It is an old term that originates from the time when the aperture of the lens was set using metal sheets with different sized holes punched into them. You'd change one metal sheet for another, and that's how you changed aperture (a process you can still experience today with certain LensBaby lenses like the Composer.) The metal sheets were called Stops, since they stopped the light to varying degrees (they're usually referred to as Waterhouse Aperture Stops...here's a pic...)
    learning the "triangle"
    Source of pic -> http://www.shortcourses.com/use/using1-6.html

    So what is the difference between a Stop and an EV? A stop is a change to an aspect of exposure, while an EV is a change to the exposure itself. A stop can apply to any one of the four factors in exposure...aperture, shutter, ISO, or light. EV, however, technically refers to the combination of aperture and shutter, or the combination of ISO and light. So you would change your aperture by 1 stop, your shutter speed by 1 stop, even your flash power by 1 stop...but you change your exposure (the combination of the effects of aperture/shutter, or of light/ISO) by 1 EV. You can also say that changing aperture or shutter by 1 stop changes exposure by 1 EV.

    The lesson of the Exposure Triangle is that a change of 1 stop (in one of the three parameters) requires an opposing change of 1 stop (in one of the remaining two parameters) to keep exposure (EV) the same. Helpful, if you're trying to keep your exposure the same, your light doesn't change, and you're working with a camera that doesn't have auto modes or a meter to look at in manual mode (which occurs, practically never.) Now, if you're using a camera like the one pictured above, then it's helpful. Most of us don't. And, of course, you can lose the triangle altogether and simply say that when you change any exposure parameter by 1 stop, an opposing change of 1 stop in any other parameter will maintain the same exposure (which is just as wrong as the what you get from the Exposure Triangle...as previously explained.)

    When the EV for a combination of aperture/shutter equals the EV for a combination of light/ISO, you have Standard Exposure. Many years ago, a system called APEX was invented to make EV easier to work with. The APEX formula for EV is:
    EV = Av + Tv = Sv + Bv

    Written out, it's EV equals the Aperture Value plus the Time Value (shutter), which also equals the Sensitivity Value (ISO) plus the Brightness Value (light.) This is why EV technically refers to the combination of aperture/shutter or ISO/light. Oh...and EV used to be Ev, but Ev was already being used by some other value, so over time Ev evolved into EV to distinguish it from Ev.

    Unfortunately, I've written much and explained little. This is the type of thing that is best explained with graphics, as the explanations are long and difficult to envision. There are also many explanations of EV on the internet that are, at best, unhelpful and at worse, plain wrong. So all I can suggest at the moment, besides taking a reputable class on exposure, is to read the Wiki page and ask questions.

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Denise

    As you can see, what seems like a simple question can often set lots of hares running. In photography forum terms, that means people take your question as a launch point to explore and debate the subject in great detail.

    What you need to hold onto is the question you asked and from all the excellent dialogue that's taken place above, just extract what you need in terms of helping you at your present stage of learning and development. It's very easy to be put off and feel overwhelmed by the sense that you'll never understand all of this stuff, so why try and why not just give up.

    Don't. You don't necessarily need to know all of this stuff in the same intimate detail as folks above, in order to make great pictures. So, take it at your pace and enjoy it.

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    This was regarding Graystar's last post above Sorry, forgot to quote it denise

    I appreciate all you shared and even grasped some of it. I found the wiki page earlier but didn't read that one. I found another on EV but need to re-read. I can glean a lot from the replies on this post so I am truly glad I posted it

    I will keep asking questions too

    Thank you much and I especially liked the info on the big, old camera. I know a guy in Bend Oregon that uses one like that for huge landscapes. He is really good although I can't think of his name now

    denise
    Last edited by captivating; 10th December 2012 at 10:06 PM.

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Thank you Donald, I am doing just that, you read my mind denise

    PS What I should have said is yes, that is how I see all these posts. I may not grasp it all but I can get a lot out of every, bit of input I won't give up, no way

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    While I usually find Graystar's posts extremely helpful, and have benefitted in the past from his discussions of EV, I don't quite get what he's on about here. I have my own reservations about the exposure triangle as explained in the CIC tutorial, but it is quite limited in its scope. For me, I think that tying "aperture" to "depth of field" fails to adequately indicate the things that one would want to consider when selecting aperture. First, a good many lenses are not very useful wide open. My own Nikon 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 is much sharper at f/7+ than it is wide open, for example. So, when I select an aperture on that lens, my first consideration is where the lens will be sharp, not what the depth of field will be. With my Tamron 90, there is a terrible LoCA problem wide open that essentially disappears by f/5.6. In scenes that would be particularly subject to LoCA, that is my main consideration in selecting an aperture with that lens. Similarly, diffraction is a signficant problem that rears its ugly head at different points with different sensors and, to a lesser extent, different lenses. Again, my choice if aperture is more driven by the range over which my lens is sharp and clean than it is by DOF -- although that certainly is an important consideration once I'm in what I consider to be the acceptably-sweet range of the lens.

    Second, the question of shutter speed for long exposures includes consideration of dark noise of the sensor. So noise is not just an ISO issue. Third, noise is substantially a concern based on a combination of how important the shadows are and how important fine detail is. With many images, noise is not at all important to an image. But the ISO may still be a concern because pushing ISO too high may make, e.g., colors look washed out due to the drop in dynamic range of the sensor at a given setting.

    So, all in all, the triangle is relevant to my way of thinking -- but its importance is more complicated than the labels would lead a newbie to believe. FWIW

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Hello Denise,
    as a biginner photographer to an other, I feel the same way you do belive me! I do want to learn the art of taking pictures as much as the enginiring side of the camera. I am a visual person. When I see a text that has very many paragraphs with technical explanations, I feel like running...my mind has a was to go blank.

    The way I learn is by taking a bit of information and go trying it out. The next time I will add a new info to it and so on and so forth. Sometimes it is great, other I will be stomped. Oh well, one step at a time.

    PS: I am not an university graduate in science. I am very artistic. There lies my streinght.

    Just keep clicking.

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Thanks for this, so much How neat, my great, great grand-dad was from Quebec! I would love to go there someday, back to my roots so to speak

    I really appreciate your note and now I don't feel so all alone I will do what you suggested and just try baby-steps. Those are always best for me. I am not very artistic but I find the camera allows me to "make" something beautiful if I get lucky. Getting more "skill" so I can do a little better than a "lucky" shot will be fun too though

    denise

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    Re: learning the "triangle"

    Quote Originally Posted by jcuknz View Post
    learning the "triangle"
    Does anyone in Engineering remember nomograms? I was looking at this image and thinking "if only the swing pivot could be moved up and down" and, lo!, a faded memory of nomograms appeared. If instead of a swing a vertical line was drawn in the middle and scaled in EV then you get a chart by which, with the use of ruler, you can do all sort of things. Imagine pivoting the ruler on f/4 and finding the EV for a given speed; or placing the ruler on a speed and an aperture and reading the EV in the middle; or placing the ruler on a speed and an EV and finding the resulting aperture.

    In the 21st century, it would of course be an app on your smart phone or tablet - probably already done, or one of us could make a name for themself!

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