Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: looking for some reading material

  1. #1

    looking for some reading material

    i am a semi-beginner in the digital photo world, and i'm looking to perfect my exposure technique. i was wondering if anyone had any good book ideas about exposure, preferably ones that don't focus too much on what shutter speed/aperture/iso is (i've read quite a few books that only focus on the basics), but one that focuses on certain example photos from the photographer and detailed descriptions of how he/she took them. please let me know if you have any good recommendations!

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Glenfarg, Scotland
    Posts
    19,718
    Real Name
    Just add 'MacKenzie'

    Re: looking for some reading material

    One place to start is by hitting the 'Advanced Search' button near the top right of this page and once in there, insert 'books' into the Tags window. That will bring up a list of threads in which books, journals and magazines have been discussed. You might get some ideas in there.

    I am assuming you have read Sean's tutorial on here (if not, click on 'Photography Tutorials' in the menu above).

    I think you are appreciating that exposure is all about shutter, aperture and ISO. It's good to look at the work of others and learn from what they've done. But don't lose sight of the fact that until you're confident that you've mastered the relationship between shutter, aperture and ISO, then you won't be mastering exposure.

    I got a copy of Ansel Adams' 'Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs' for Christmas. A masterclass.

  3. #3

    Re: looking for some reading material

    thanks for the tips. i feel that i have a very good grasp on the relationship between iso/shutter/aperture, i just have a hard time putting things into practice. i feel that reading a non-technical book might be of assistance...a book that puts the reader in the photographer's shoes and goes through a step by step analysis of how the photographer thinks as he sets up his shot.

  4. #4
    purplehaze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,441
    Real Name
    Janis

    Re: looking for some reading material

    Quote Originally Posted by gibbstom13 View Post
    i feel that reading a non-technical book might be of assistance...a book that puts the reader in the photographer's shoes and goes through a step by step analysis of how the photographer thinks as he sets up his shot.
    That's a pretty good description of Michael Freeman's Perfect Exposure, published in 2009 by Focal Press.

  5. #5
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Stratford, Connecticut USA
    Posts
    4
    Real Name
    People are using fake names here?

    Re: looking for some reading material

    I agree with Donald on two counts: That it takes total confidence in camera settings in order to free your mind up to make the correct emotional decisions about exposure. There really isn't any right or wrong exposure, it's far more a matter of what works to interpret the scene as you personally see it. Sounds a bit like vague advice, but it's not--and it brings up the second point that I agree with: Ansel's book Examples is a terrific read. It lets you look over the shoulder of perhaps the greatest landscape photographer of all time (he gets my vote, anyway). Also, Galen Rowell's Inner Game of Outdoor Photography (out of print, I think, but widely available used) is an extraordinary book that let's you do exactly what you are referring to--getting into the mind of one of the photographic greats as he planned his wonderful images. Galen left this Earth too soon and it's a crime that some of his books are out of print. jw

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Panama City, FL
    Posts
    3,542
    Real Name
    Chris

    Re: looking for some reading material

    My daughter gave me a book on Digital Landscape Photography for Christmas which I've found to be quite useful, especially as to how the different components work together to get you where you want to be. There is a wealth of information about histograms, PP in CS5and Lightroom, as well as good, solid information on exposure, light, the art of seeing, and using filters.
    The book is by Michael Frye, Focal Press, ISBN: 978-0-240-81243-4. It costs $24.95 and I think it is certainly worth that amount.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: looking for some reading material

    To be honest, I think exposure is one area where people tend to make it more complex than it really needs to be (in a digital world anyway).

    Sure, we can get into the complexities of spot metering and adding or subtracting exposure compensation based on how reflective the "spot" is, but at the end of the day there's really only 2 basic type of scene;

    1. One that is purely reflective (ie there is only light reflecting off the objects in the scene) - there's no back lighting (ie we're not shooting towards an active light source), and there's no specular reflections (ie bright spots from chrome bumbers etc). These scenes typically only cover a dynamic range of a few stops.

    2. One where we ARE shooting towards the light, and also need to capture unlit shadow detail (these scenes are described as having high contrast or a high dynamic range) (even though they may or may not require traditional high dynamic range techniques to capture).

    With the first type of scene, the exposure isn't critical and the camera will normally - using evaluative / matrix metering mode - capture the scene just fine (and just as importantly, with a BIG safety margin).

    With the second type of scene, we need to be more precise about the exposure because the dynamic range that our cameras can capture is going to be limited to around 11 to 12 stops, and this type of scene typically has a dynamic range of somewhere around that. So the rule here is - turn on highlight alert - and adjust your exposure so that you only get a small number of "blinkies", and with those being in non-critical areas.

    And that's pretty much all there is to it, if you're shooting RAW.

    So the question becomes "why am I - the consumate perfectionist - sounding so "casual" about this all important topic"? and the answer is that with a RAW capture - and modern post-processing software - it's just not that critical anymore, if we follow 1 simple rule (don't blow the highlights). Case in point; here in the studio I'm working with totally reflective scenes - my light meter gives me accuracy LITERALLY down to 1/10th of a stop - and yet sometimes the models will spin around and give me something that's a real keeper, and also up to 2 stops under exposed. I simply adjust it in post-processing and no-one is any the wiser. Why? Because the safety margins are so huge. Different story with landscape of course (well higher dynamic range scene landscape), but here, again, the highlight alert is pretty much all that's needed (to indicate any degree of over-exposure, and the histogram indicates any degree of under-exposure). Sure - the purists will say "but but but the in-camera histogram / highlight alert is based on the in-camera JPEG, not the RAW file - and you're throwing away dynamic range etc" - but - one can also think of that bit we're discarding as "safety margin" in that it keeps us away from the sensors non-linear regions (which is even more pronounced with sunrise / sunset shots, which we all know is the best time to shoot landscape).

    So my suggestion is "don't worry about it too much"; just don't blow the highlights, and chances are you'll be fine. These days what constitutes a "correct" exposure isn't a "cast in stone" thing and in the real word of big safety margins and digital post-processing, often "close enough" is literally "good enough". That's the philosophy I shoot by, and by and large I don't get too many complaints about the exposures in my studio or landscape work.

  8. #8
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Stratford, Connecticut USA
    Posts
    4
    Real Name
    People are using fake names here?

    Re: looking for some reading material

    Colin,

    I read the same argument about RAW all the time and, to a limited degree, agree with your arguments about the flexibility that RAW offers in terms of exposure--if all that you're talking about is getting an acceptable range of tonalities. Yes, it's possible to do some pretty in-depth correction to shadows if you hold onto the highlights (and with some good masking skills, you can even pull back quite a bit in terms of highlights). When I think of the 30 years i spent in the darkroom trying to salvage bad exposures and how easy it is with RAW and Photoshop, it's downright stunning. But there are at least two gaping holes in this philosophy that I know that you understand, but that might not be so obvious to people just starting out: the concepts of depth of field and shutter speed.

    Exposure is more than just getting the shadows, mid-tones and highlights correct, it's also very much about controlling depth of field and what is or isn't in focus (aperture choice) and subject motion, what is or isn't moving (shutter speed). There are also issues of digital noise (coming from using a too-high ISO speed) and correct white balance (and the latter, granted, can be fixed in RAW). But exposure is *not* just getting the correct range of tones, but also carefully controlling both focus and motion. While an exposure setting of 1/250 at f/4 and 1/30 at f/11 will provide the same amount of light, they won't provide the same pictures of a model twirling in the studio or water rolling down a mountain stream.

    You're right, you can fix the shadows and highlights, but you can't fake focus or motion. At least not yet

    jeff

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    17,662
    Real Name
    Have a guess :)

    Re: looking for some reading material

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wignall View Post
    You're right, you can fix the shadows and highlights, but you can't fake focus or motion.
    Hi Jeff,

    I think we're talking about different things here; I've assumed exposure to simply mean "photos hitting sensor"; rightly or wrongly, I equate the other effects you describe as functions of shutter speed and/or aperture (with the exposure remaining unaffected).

    Whilst on the topic of ISO noise though, personally, I think it's often blown out of all proportion. If images are exposed (there's that word again!) correctly (allowing for the reduced sensor DR), and they're not cropped excessively, then the noise is really only visible at 100% magnification ... and that not how we present images in the real world. The flip side to not using a high ISO setting though is of course the dangers of too low a shutter speed or insufficient DoF, which are in my opinion potentially far more damaging.

  10. #10
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Stratford, Connecticut USA
    Posts
    4
    Real Name
    People are using fake names here?

    Re: looking for some reading material

    Hi Colin,

    Yeah, I agree about the noise factor being overblown. In fact, I posted two photos on my blog yesterday (http://www.phototipoftheday.blogspot.com) of the same subject--one shot at ISO 3200 and the other at ISO 200, both with a Nikon D90 and darned if I see very much difference between them. Take a look at them and you'll laugh--if that's the "noise" danger everyone is worried about, then there's not much to be concerned about!!! I keep meaning to look for your photos at pbase--I'll go do it now!

    jeff

  11. #11
    rpcrowe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern California, USA
    Posts
    12,463
    Real Name
    Richard

    Re: looking for some reading material

    I don't mean to sound cavalier about exposure but, that is one of the lesser problems regarding digital photography.

    First, most cameras (with the possible exception of some of the low end Nikons) have auto exposure bracketing (AEB) capability. AEB was frequently used by professionals when shooting reversal (slide) film since this type of film had a very small exposure leeway. The reason that is was mostly used by professionals was the cost involved. Film and processing was expensive and most amateurs could not afford to be that free with film. We are now free from the worry that each exposure is going to cost us money - digital is a free ride once the equipment is purchased. My Canon x0D cameras can expose three shot bursts with AEB in the amount selected by the photographer and then stop firing. I can even combine AEB with exposure compensation. I will use this when shooting very light areas (like snow when you normally have to over expose) color or very dark conditions (the proverbial black cat in a coal bin when you need to under expose). The only downside of AEB is that it uses more memory, but memory is pretty inexpensive these days. Note: I don't use AEB when shooting sports or action.

    Second: Your histogram can give you a pretty accurate idea of whether your exposure is pretty close.

    Third: Most cameras (at least my x0D models) have several styles of auto exposure calculation from over-all metering down to spot metering. Using the different styles in the appropriate conditions will also help you get your exposure close to the optimum.

    Fourth: Shooting in RAW, as advised by Colin, will allow you to tweak your exposure (and color balance) in post processing. Post processing is not a cure-all and works best when your original shot is as close as possible to perfect. However, using the above, you should have at least one shot from each grouping that is pretty close to perfect.

  12. #12
    mike the bike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Nr Dunstable Bedfordshire
    Posts
    49
    Real Name
    Mike Reynolds

    Re: looking for some reading material

    If your looking for some seriously good advice and excellent presentation head over to Karl Taylor on his site you will find a plethora of useful information plus a free download course ive got one of his DVDs and i thoroughly recommend you check him out plus if your having trouble with a particular element of photography just look on the net . .its a great resource

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •