Exposure Basics, lesson three?

Started Mar 18, 2013 | Discussions
mjack101
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Re: All at once or nothing at all?
In reply to texinwien, Mar 19, 2013

Have been following these threads from the original and thought I would add my experience.

5 years ago I was a beginner, I went from a basic P&S to a Canon G10 as I wanted to do more with my photography. To try and understand all the new controls on the camera, which I had never seen before, I read the manual and other books on the G10 but it was Bryan Peterson's book "Understanding Exposure" which was my real starting point.

This book starts with the exposure triangle being aperture, shutter speed and ISO and for me as a first lesson it was ok. Armed with this simplification I was able to go out with the G10 and start taking loads of pictures with at least a rudimentary understanding of what the controls did even though I had no technical clue how they did it. As you can imagine I came back with a total mixture of the good the bad and the ugly but by reviewing the files (RAW in LR) I started to get an idea how the various settings affected the ouput on my screen and printer.

This lead me to further study and taking many more photos and I now think I have a pretty good understanding of the necessary (for my purposes at least) technical aspects of photography.

Long story short, it is quite possible to start in camp1 and move to camp 2 without being the least bit confused and I personally found the exposure triangle simplification a good way to start.

Oh and btw what's all this nonsense about the world being round?

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bobn2
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Re: All at once or nothing at all?
In reply to mjack101, Mar 19, 2013

mjack101 wrote:

Have been following these threads from the original and thought I would add my experience.

5 years ago I was a beginner, I went from a basic P&S to a Canon G10 as I wanted to do more with my photography. To try and understand all the new controls on the camera, which I had never seen before, I read the manual and other books on the G10 but it was Bryan Peterson's book "Understanding Exposure" which was my real starting point.

This book starts with the exposure triangle being aperture, shutter speed and ISO and for me as a first lesson it was ok. Armed with this simplification I was able to go out with the G10 and start taking loads of pictures with at least a rudimentary understanding of what the controls did even though I had no technical clue how they did it. As you can imagine I came back with a total mixture of the good the bad and the ugly but by reviewing the files (RAW in LR) I started to get an idea how the various settings affected the ouput on my screen and printer.

This lead me to further study and taking many more photos and I now think I have a pretty good understanding of the necessary (for my purposes at least) technical aspects of photography.

Long story short, it is quite possible to start in camp1 and move to camp 2 without being the least bit confused and I personally found the exposure triangle simplification a good way to start.

I would be wondering though the extent to which you have actually moved to camp 2. There are some really good photographers in camp 1 (and before anyone says it, some bad ones in camp 2). It's not so much about progress, but about what you see as the aims of exposure management. Dare I say it, if you see Petersen's book as a 'simplification' then you probably are still in camp 1, because camp 2-ers will tend to see Petersen as at best irrelevant and at worst a block to understanding. My experience of trying to get this across is that once people internalise the idea that the goal of setting the exposure is to achieve a nice result for output image brightness, they find it very, very hard to budge. Going to camp 2 means more or less unlearning everything you have already learned in camp 1.

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Najinsky
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Re: Nice, but missing an important point
In reply to texinwien, Mar 19, 2013

Thanks for the for the cordial and rational response. I don't think the differences are insurmountable, and I don't see it as unlearning incorrect information. I see it as quite natural progression from introductory to more advanced.

Once the new photographer has grasped the idea of how and why she controls the image using different parameters in different scenarios, she is now much better equipped. It's not an earth shattering event to then be told that within the three parameters they've been using, the Aperture and Shutter combine to control the amount of light falling on the sensor, and the ISO controls how the camera processes that light. Depending on the group, it may have already come up in the introductory stages, and for sure some will have already figured it out for themselves.

I think this is the aspect of teaching that the techies may not be comprehending fully. It is not a case of students in, instructor presents course material, and out pops educated people at the other end.

Different groups have different dynamics, different levels (or more accurately, types) of comprehension, and different goals in attending the course. Devices like the exposure triangle are communication aids, not scientific reference material. It's down to the instructor to gauge how well the material is working for the intended purpose, both his and their goals, and to adapt accordingly.

I wouldn't shy away from making the distinction between light received and the processing of that light if I felt the group were on board with that distinction and it felt appropriate for the group. And it would usually get referenced when talking about the image settings; sharpness, saturation, contrast, white balance and noise reduction. But I wouldn't start ramming it down their throats on day one, when it's clear the group are just the average public who bought a camera because everyone has a camera, and they want to take better photos; meaning well (or interestingly) exposed subjects, suitable depth of field, well (or interestingly) focussed, blur-free, noise free, pleasing and/or interesting compositions. But they don't yet know that's what they mean when they say better photos. And in classical educator style, you start by telling them what they don't yet know, then you tell them about it, and then you recap what you told them and why.

This was the point of the subject heading of the post, 'All at once, or not at all?'. The assumptions has been made, incorrectly, by many of the discussion participants, that the exposure triangle is the purpose of a whole course. It's not, it's just a communication aid for the introductory stages to start defining some terms that everyone can relate to. Those terms and ideas get refined through-out the course.

-Najinsky

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mjack101
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Re: All at once or nothing at all?
In reply to bobn2, Mar 19, 2013

Sorry, I may have mislead people by referring to moving between the two camps, that wasn't exactly what I meant.

I was trying to say that, as a beginner, I was fine starting out with the idea that the exposure triangle included ISO but that this didn't prevent me from going on to understand and appreciate the stricter/correct definition of exposure and the role of ISO in the image process.

There has been much discussion on these threads that once you have been taught that ISO is a part of exposure then you are limited to this understanding and I was trying to say that this has not been my experience.

Bryan's book is one experienced photographer's view on the general topic of exposure and was helpful to me when I started. I have since read other books and articles with different views and I have to say they are all interesting and valid in their different ways. The more we understand and appreciate these differing approaches, the better placed we are as photographers.

I think your analysis of the two camps is very interesting and I have a question for you, do you think that these camps are mutually exclusive?

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richarddd
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Re: All at once or nothing at all?
In reply to bobn2, Mar 19, 2013

bobn2 wrote:

Najinsky wrote:

They believe Exposure has a fixed definition. This is their first error, an error in their foundation on which they are basing everything, and it serves nicely to illustrate the wasted time that can result from a poor foundation.

Well, you should of flagged that languages evolve, like if alot of people use a word as a moniker for some new meaning, that's cool, innit. On the other hand science and engineering depend on precise use of terminology to enable share conceptualisation and communication of the exact. If one allows the rather formal definitions on which that communication depends to be changed by colloquial usage to be less precise, then in the end all that happens is that one has to invent new words or worse, clumsy phrases to recapture the lost precise meanings. The crux of the matter is not the word, but the concept to which the word applies.

I agree, but I think it would be better to say the crux of the matter is understanding how to get the results one wants (or as close to that one wants as is possible). In other words, what are the effects of changing the aperture, shutter speed and ISO dials.

For example, should I decrease aperture? How will it affect DOF, diffraction, noise, etc.?

Those who need to communicate the distinction between "density of light on the sensor" as opposed to "things that affect brightness" shouldn't find it that difficult to find a way to do so, even if "exposure" has become ambiguous. I don't find "density of light on the sensor" all that clumsy - use it once, specify that is what you mean by exposure, and then use the word exposure.

I think that is what transpires here. The argument is really not about what 'exposure' means, but about the role of the exposure that happens at capture time in photography. There are those who would like to view the chain from exposure which happens at capture time to exposure which is apparent at viewing time as a black box, with the triad of controls which determine the operation of that black box. They see that those controls affect the exposure which is apparent at viewing time, and they have developed a whole methodology based on that idea which seeks to determine exposure that happens at capture time on the basis of the desired tonality of the output image. On the other hand, there are those who see exposure that happens at capture time as providing the preconditions, on which depend the subsequent steps of providing a viewable image. They see two controls and an environmental factor (unless one brings along a lamp) and they see that the operation of those controls does more than affect the tonal range of the output image. They also see that the subsequent steps provide ample opportunity to control the tonal range of the output image, with more precision and subtlety than an approach based on controlling it by changing the exposure that happens at capture time. They have developed a methodology based on those observations, which seeks to optimise exposure which happens at capture time with respect to factors such as motion blur, DOF and image noise.

I start with a scene. I do some stuff with a camera and then some stuff with LR, PS or other software. I end up with an image.

Various controls on the camera and in the software do various things to the final image. The things I do on the camera relate to the things I do in software, for example, I decrease shutter speed with a view towards moving LR's exposure slider. I try to make it all work to produce the image I want and try not to let technical considerations get in the way of subject, composition and all those artistic considerations.

Is this an unusual approach?

So, we have two camps. One whose methodology is based on controlling the exposure that happens at capture time to determine the output tonality of their images, the other whose methodology is based on controlling it to determine DOF, motion blur and image noise. Add to that that many of the first camp take great pride in their advanced skills in 'nailing' exposure to determine the output tonality and that there are few who would like to evangelise their skills and it's hardly surprising that they take offence if someone comes along and tells them that their fundamental understanding is flawed. But it is.

There are jpg shooters who don't post-process

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Iliah Borg
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not euphemisms
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 19, 2013

Those euphemisms are "Low Key" and "High Key".

but light setups --

http://www.libraw.org/
http://www.rawdigger.com/

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RoelHendrickx
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Re: not euphemisms
In reply to Iliah Borg, Mar 19, 2013

Iliah Borg wrote:

Those euphemisms are "Low Key" and "High Key".

but light setups

I do know.

I was making a provocative statement in treating those artistic choices as cover-ups for bad craft.

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bobn2
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Re: All at once or nothing at all?
In reply to richarddd, Mar 19, 2013

richarddd wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

Najinsky wrote:

They believe Exposure has a fixed definition. This is their first error, an error in their foundation on which they are basing everything, and it serves nicely to illustrate the wasted time that can result from a poor foundation.

Well, you should of flagged that languages evolve, like if alot of people use a word as a moniker for some new meaning, that's cool, innit. On the other hand science and engineering depend on precise use of terminology to enable share conceptualisation and communication of the exact. If one allows the rather formal definitions on which that communication depends to be changed by colloquial usage to be less precise, then in the end all that happens is that one has to invent new words or worse, clumsy phrases to recapture the lost precise meanings. The crux of the matter is not the word, but the concept to which the word applies.

I agree, but I think it would be better to say the crux of the matter is understanding how to get the results one wants (or as close to that one wants as is possible). In other words, what are the effects of changing the aperture, shutter speed and ISO dials.

The thing is though, that the difference in conceptualisation changes 'what one wants'. It also changes where one tries to achieve 'what one wants'. As in the old adage 'if I wanted to go there, I wouldn't start from here'.

For example, should I decrease aperture? How will it affect DOF, diffraction, noise, etc.?

If you want to control DOF, ones options are limited for a given scene and perspective. The question then becomes how much you want that DOF in relation to what you're losing for having it.

Those who need to communicate the distinction between "density of light on the sensor" as opposed to "things that affect brightness" shouldn't find it that difficult to find a way to do so, even if "exposure" has become ambiguous. I don't find "density of light on the sensor" all that clumsy - use it once, specify that is what you mean by exposure, and then use the word exposure.

That's a reasonable point of view, but there are many here who would argue even against that, and accuse you of redefining exposure.

I think that is what transpires here. The argument is really not about what 'exposure' means, but about the role of the exposure that happens at capture time in photography. There are those who would like to view the chain from exposure which happens at capture time to exposure which is apparent at viewing time as a black box, with the triad of controls which determine the operation of that black box. They see that those controls affect the exposure which is apparent at viewing time, and they have developed a whole methodology based on that idea which seeks to determine exposure that happens at capture time on the basis of the desired tonality of the output image. On the other hand, there are those who see exposure that happens at capture time as providing the preconditions, on which depend the subsequent steps of providing a viewable image. They see two controls and an environmental factor (unless one brings along a lamp) and they see that the operation of those controls does more than affect the tonal range of the output image. They also see that the subsequent steps provide ample opportunity to control the tonal range of the output image, with more precision and subtlety than an approach based on controlling it by changing the exposure that happens at capture time. They have developed a methodology based on those observations, which seeks to optimise exposure which happens at capture time with respect to factors such as motion blur, DOF and image noise.

I start with a scene. I do some stuff with a camera and then some stuff with LR, PS or other software. I end up with an image.

Various controls on the camera and in the software do various things to the final image. The things I do on the camera relate to the things I do in software, for example, I decrease shutter speed with a view towards moving LR's exposure slider. I try to make it all work to produce the image I want and try not to let technical considerations get in the way of subject, composition and all those artistic considerations.

Is this an unusual approach?

No, I don't think so, but everyone is different. I find myself finding more and more in my shots at the PP stage, when you have more time and better equipment to look at what the shot might be. Then the task of capture becomes more one of maximising the information, so that you can get the most options in PP. I've even had to make myself not frame shots as closely as I used to, because I was finding when I went through in PP, I often wanted to include something I'd cut-off in framing. So all in all, I'm much less about visualising the final shot than I used to be.

So, we have two camps. One whose methodology is based on controlling the exposure that happens at capture time to determine the output tonality of their images, the other whose methodology is based on controlling it to determine DOF, motion blur and image noise. Add to that that many of the first camp take great pride in their advanced skills in 'nailing' exposure to determine the output tonality and that there are few who would like to evangelise their skills and it's hardly surprising that they take offence if someone comes along and tells them that their fundamental understanding is flawed. But it is.

There are jpg shooters who don't post-process

They would seem to go naturally into camp 1.

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bobn2
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Re: not euphemisms
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 19, 2013

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

Those euphemisms are "Low Key" and "High Key".

but light setups

I do know.

I was making a provocative statement in treating those artistic choices as cover-ups for bad craft.

What's 'bad craft'?

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Bob

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Iliah Borg
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Re: not euphemisms
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 19, 2013

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

Those euphemisms are "Low Key" and "High Key".

but light setups

I do know.

No doubt you do. I read some of the responses and it looked like some of us missed the meaning.

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Great Bustard
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If I may add...
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 19, 2013

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Moti wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

...is when the technical is optimal for the artistic intent of the final photo.

Well, I guess I can drink to that although sometimes I define it a bit differently.

Correct exposure is when people buy my photos even though I think they were incorrectly exposed...

Those are BOTH definitions I can totally agree with.

...that the artistic intent of the photo is sometimes determined after the fact depending on the exposure. 

And I thank you for your contributions to this (intended as just fun) thread.

Kind of you to say!

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Macx
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Re: All at once or nothing at all?
In reply to Najinsky, Mar 19, 2013

Najinsky wrote:

What has happened with digital, is the film has been replaced by the sensor and varying ISO implemented via electronics trickery (amplification). For raw shooters and for some sensors, they may indeed be no reason to shoot at anything other than the cameras optimum (base?) ISO, save for the fact that the camera JPEG used to review the image will not look correctly exposed. And this may well be exciting and interesting for some. But it absolutely should not be the foundation of beginning photography. It is way too technical and removed from the act of picture making for the introductory section of a beginners course.

What has happened is also that the camera makers failed to adjust their user interface to the new reality and instead tried to fake it. It really doesn't help that you feel you have to go through loops and fight the camera's automation to get the best exposure.

Teaching is hard, and if your method works for you and your students, it's always better than a method that doesn't work, but I'm not sure I buy the statement that it's too hard or too technical to not include ISO in the exposure triangle.

If ISO is a difficult or tricky concept, why not just fix it and keep it constant while they learn about aperture and shutter time and what it does to their pictures? Then once, they're comfortable with this and they have an understanding how to read and meter the lighting in a scene, you can bring in ISO and explain when it's useful to start fiddling with that dial.

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Great Bustard
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Since you ask...
In reply to bobn2, Mar 19, 2013

bobn2 wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

Those euphemisms are "Low Key" and "High Key".

but light setups

I do know.

I was making a provocative statement in treating those artistic choices as cover-ups for bad craft.

What's 'bad craft'?

...here's an example:

http://gawker.com/5378832/regretsy-hysterically-bad-trips-into-arts-and-crafts/gallery/1

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RoelHendrickx
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You may...
In reply to Great Bustard, Mar 19, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Moti wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

...is when the technical is optimal for the artistic intent of the final photo.

Well, I guess I can drink to that although sometimes I define it a bit differently.

Correct exposure is when people buy my photos even though I think they were incorrectly exposed...

Those are BOTH definitions I can totally agree with.

...that the artistic intent of the photo is sometimes determined after the fact depending on the exposure.

And I thank you for your contributions to this (intended as just fun) thread.

Kind of you to say!

That's me!

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richarddd
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Re: All at once or nothing at all?
In reply to bobn2, Mar 19, 2013

bobn2 wrote:

richarddd wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

Najinsky wrote:

They believe Exposure has a fixed definition. This is their first error, an error in their foundation on which they are basing everything, and it serves nicely to illustrate the wasted time that can result from a poor foundation.

Well, you should of flagged that languages evolve, like if alot of people use a word as a moniker for some new meaning, that's cool, innit. On the other hand science and engineering depend on precise use of terminology to enable share conceptualisation and communication of the exact. If one allows the rather formal definitions on which that communication depends to be changed by colloquial usage to be less precise, then in the end all that happens is that one has to invent new words or worse, clumsy phrases to recapture the lost precise meanings. The crux of the matter is not the word, but the concept to which the word applies.

I agree, but I think it would be better to say the crux of the matter is understanding how to get the results one wants (or as close to that one wants as is possible). In other words, what are the effects of changing the aperture, shutter speed and ISO dials.

The thing is though, that the difference in conceptualisation changes 'what one wants'. It also changes where one tries to achieve 'what one wants'. As in the old adage 'if I wanted to go there, I wouldn't start from here'.

Please reword that, as I don't know what you are trying to say

For example, should I decrease aperture? How will it affect DOF, diffraction, noise, etc.?

If you want to control DOF, ones options are limited for a given scene and perspective. The question then becomes how much you want that DOF in relation to what you're losing for having it.

Exactly. Understanding "the effects of changing the aperture, shutter speed and ISO dials" includes understanding the relevant tradeoffs

Those who need to communicate the distinction between "density of light on the sensor" as opposed to "things that affect brightness" shouldn't find it that difficult to find a way to do so, even if "exposure" has become ambiguous. I don't find "density of light on the sensor" all that clumsy - use it once, specify that is what you mean by exposure, and then use the word exposure.

That's a reasonable point of view, but there are many here who would argue even against that, and accuse you of redefining exposure.

There are many here who don't appear to understand that the purpose of language is to communicate effectively.  Language is not math or even engineering.

A good teacher would neither berate a student for not knowing that exposure is only density of light on the sensor (i.e., doesn't include ISO) nor use the word exposure to include ISO. A pox on both their houses.

I think that is what transpires here. The argument is really not about what 'exposure' means, but about the role of the exposure that happens at capture time in photography. There are those who would like to view the chain from exposure which happens at capture time to exposure which is apparent at viewing time as a black box, with the triad of controls which determine the operation of that black box. They see that those controls affect the exposure which is apparent at viewing time, and they have developed a whole methodology based on that idea which seeks to determine exposure that happens at capture time on the basis of the desired tonality of the output image. On the other hand, there are those who see exposure that happens at capture time as providing the preconditions, on which depend the subsequent steps of providing a viewable image. They see two controls and an environmental factor (unless one brings along a lamp) and they see that the operation of those controls does more than affect the tonal range of the output image. They also see that the subsequent steps provide ample opportunity to control the tonal range of the output image, with more precision and subtlety than an approach based on controlling it by changing the exposure that happens at capture time. They have developed a methodology based on those observations, which seeks to optimise exposure which happens at capture time with respect to factors such as motion blur, DOF and image noise.

I start with a scene. I do some stuff with a camera and then some stuff with LR, PS or other software. I end up with an image.

Various controls on the camera and in the software do various things to the final image. The things I do on the camera relate to the things I do in software, for example, I decrease shutter speed with a view towards moving LR's exposure slider. I try to make it all work to produce the image I want and try not to let technical considerations get in the way of subject, composition and all those artistic considerations.

Is this an unusual approach?

No, I don't think so, but everyone is different. I find myself finding more and more in my shots at the PP stage, when you have more time and better equipment to look at what the shot might be. Then the task of capture becomes more one of maximising the information, so that you can get the most options in PP. I've even had to make myself not frame shots as closely as I used to, because I was finding when I went through in PP, I often wanted to include something I'd cut-off in framing. So all in all, I'm much less about visualising the final shot than I used to be.

I find myself doing the same things, but it helps to have some idea what you're trying to do.

It may be helpful to distinguish what you're trying to do artistically from what you're trying to do technically, even if there is overlap

OTOH, there's the old adage "if you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there", or "if you don't know where you're going, you might not get there."

So, we have two camps. One whose methodology is based on controlling the exposure that happens at capture time to determine the output tonality of their images, the other whose methodology is based on controlling it to determine DOF, motion blur and image noise. Add to that that many of the first camp take great pride in their advanced skills in 'nailing' exposure to determine the output tonality and that there are few who would like to evangelise their skills and it's hardly surprising that they take offence if someone comes along and tells them that their fundamental understanding is flawed. But it is.

There are jpg shooters who don't post-process

They would seem to go naturally into camp 1.

They aren't usually the types who evangelize, although some do.

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Bob

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Iliah Borg
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Re: Since you ask...
In reply to Great Bustard, Mar 19, 2013
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bobn2
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Re: Since you ask...
In reply to Great Bustard, Mar 19, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

Those euphemisms are "Low Key" and "High Key".

but light setups

I do know.

I was making a provocative statement in treating those artistic choices as cover-ups for bad craft.

What's 'bad craft'?

...here's an example:

http://gawker.com/5378832/regretsy-hysterically-bad-trips-into-arts-and-crafts/gallery/1

Can't see what's wrong with that. Anyone with a bit of self respect would want their goat to look good.

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RoelHendrickx
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Not what I was thinking, but really close.
In reply to Great Bustard, Mar 19, 2013

Great Bustard wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

Those euphemisms are "Low Key" and "High Key".

but light setups

I do know.

I was making a provocative statement in treating those artistic choices as cover-ups for bad craft.

What's 'bad craft'?

Maybe my english lets me down here. I should probably say "bad technique" or "bad skill".

...here's an example:

http://gawker.com/5378832/regretsy-hysterically-bad-trips-into-arts-and-crafts/gallery/1

-- hide signature --

Roel Hendrickx
lots of images: www.roelh.zenfolio.com
my E-3 user field report from Tunisian Sahara: http://www.biofos.com/ukpsg/roel.html

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bobn2
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Re: All at once or nothing at all?
In reply to richarddd, Mar 19, 2013

richarddd wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

richarddd wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

Najinsky wrote:

They believe Exposure has a fixed definition. This is their first error, an error in their foundation on which they are basing everything, and it serves nicely to illustrate the wasted time that can result from a poor foundation.

Well, you should of flagged that languages evolve, like if alot of people use a word as a moniker for some new meaning, that's cool, innit. On the other hand science and engineering depend on precise use of terminology to enable share conceptualisation and communication of the exact. If one allows the rather formal definitions on which that communication depends to be changed by colloquial usage to be less precise, then in the end all that happens is that one has to invent new words or worse, clumsy phrases to recapture the lost precise meanings. The crux of the matter is not the word, but the concept to which the word applies.

I agree, but I think it would be better to say the crux of the matter is understanding how to get the results one wants (or as close to that one wants as is possible). In other words, what are the effects of changing the aperture, shutter speed and ISO dials.

The thing is though, that the difference in conceptualisation changes 'what one wants'. It also changes where one tries to achieve 'what one wants'. As in the old adage 'if I wanted to go there, I wouldn't start from here'.

Please reword that, as I don't know what you are trying to say

Let's make it simpler. What one wants depends on what one knows.

For example, should I decrease aperture? How will it affect DOF, diffraction, noise, etc.?

If you want to control DOF, ones options are limited for a given scene and perspective. The question then becomes how much you want that DOF in relation to what you're losing for having it.

Exactly. Understanding "the effects of changing the aperture, shutter speed and ISO dials" includes understanding the relevant tradeoffs

Which is something that can become unnecessarily complex if you're working with the wrong set of mental models.

Those who need to communicate the distinction between "density of light on the sensor" as opposed to "things that affect brightness" shouldn't find it that difficult to find a way to do so, even if "exposure" has become ambiguous. I don't find "density of light on the sensor" all that clumsy - use it once, specify that is what you mean by exposure, and then use the word exposure.

That's a reasonable point of view, but there are many here who would argue even against that, and accuse you of redefining exposure.

There are many here who don't appear to understand that the purpose of language is to communicate effectively. Language is not math or even engineering.

But maths and engineering are language. Bothe maths and engineering adopt formal vocabularies because they need the precise meanings to help conceptualisation and aid communication of precise concepts. Mostly, people have difficulties because they refuse for whatever reason to buy into the precise usage, and insist on different interpretations of those words, and then the conceptualisation falls apart. If someone doesn't have it in them to comprehend, or for whatever refuses to comprehend, no amount of language will help them.

A good teacher would neither berate a student for not knowing that exposure is only density of light on the sensor (i.e., doesn't include ISO) nor use the word exposure to include ISO. A pox on both their houses.

Generally, the people who get berated are those who are setting themselves up as teachers. That is exactly how this series of threads started.

I think that is what transpires here. The argument is really not about what 'exposure' means, but about the role of the exposure that happens at capture time in photography. There are those who would like to view the chain from exposure which happens at capture time to exposure which is apparent at viewing time as a black box, with the triad of controls which determine the operation of that black box. They see that those controls affect the exposure which is apparent at viewing time, and they have developed a whole methodology based on that idea which seeks to determine exposure that happens at capture time on the basis of the desired tonality of the output image. On the other hand, there are those who see exposure that happens at capture time as providing the preconditions, on which depend the subsequent steps of providing a viewable image. They see two controls and an environmental factor (unless one brings along a lamp) and they see that the operation of those controls does more than affect the tonal range of the output image. They also see that the subsequent steps provide ample opportunity to control the tonal range of the output image, with more precision and subtlety than an approach based on controlling it by changing the exposure that happens at capture time. They have developed a methodology based on those observations, which seeks to optimise exposure which happens at capture time with respect to factors such as motion blur, DOF and image noise.

I start with a scene. I do some stuff with a camera and then some stuff with LR, PS or other software. I end up with an image.

Various controls on the camera and in the software do various things to the final image. The things I do on the camera relate to the things I do in software, for example, I decrease shutter speed with a view towards moving LR's exposure slider. I try to make it all work to produce the image I want and try not to let technical considerations get in the way of subject, composition and all those artistic considerations.

Is this an unusual approach?

No, I don't think so, but everyone is different. I find myself finding more and more in my shots at the PP stage, when you have more time and better equipment to look at what the shot might be. Then the task of capture becomes more one of maximising the information, so that you can get the most options in PP. I've even had to make myself not frame shots as closely as I used to, because I was finding when I went through in PP, I often wanted to include something I'd cut-off in framing. So all in all, I'm much less about visualising the final shot than I used to be.

I find myself doing the same things, but it helps to have some idea what you're trying to do.

It may be helpful to distinguish what you're trying to do artistically from what you're trying to do technically, even if there is overlap

OTOH, there's the old adage "if you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there", or "if you don't know where you're going, you might not get there."

I think we're basically in agreement there. I wouldn't generally shoot something with out some idea of at least one possible outcome, though that might not be what I end up with.

So, we have two camps. One whose methodology is based on controlling the exposure that happens at capture time to determine the output tonality of their images, the other whose methodology is based on controlling it to determine DOF, motion blur and image noise. Add to that that many of the first camp take great pride in their advanced skills in 'nailing' exposure to determine the output tonality and that there are few who would like to evangelise their skills and it's hardly surprising that they take offence if someone comes along and tells them that their fundamental understanding is flawed. But it is.

There are jpg shooters who don't post-process

They would seem to go naturally into camp 1.

They aren't usually the types who evangelize, although some do.

The jpeg shooters? I know some who will wax lyrical on their abilities to 'get it right in the camera'.

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Bob

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bobn2
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Re: Not what I was thinking, but really close.
In reply to RoelHendrickx, Mar 19, 2013

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Great Bustard wrote:

bobn2 wrote:

RoelHendrickx wrote:

Iliah Borg wrote:

Those euphemisms are "Low Key" and "High Key".

but light setups

I do know.

I was making a provocative statement in treating those artistic choices as cover-ups for bad craft.

What's 'bad craft'?

Maybe my english lets me down here. I should probably say "bad technique" or "bad skill".

I think you chose your words rightly. What I was wondering as what you'd count as being 'bad' craft, skill or technique. Surely, in the end 'good' is what gets you the result that you want.

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