Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.

Started May 7, 2013 | Discussions
Clueless Wanderer
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Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
May 7, 2013

I was taking some still life shots of a bunch of black (dark red) grapes on a black background. I was using one softbox with a Nikon SB900 and wanting the grapes to fade into the shadows/background. I have a Sekonic L-358 that is calibrated to my camera and I followed the exposure readings it gave and set my light as such. However in the back of the camera, the grapes looked underexposed, so I turned up the power on the flash, now the exposure looked good. When it came time to shoot the Xrite colour checker passport for Post process WB. The blown High's on the colour checker confirmed that the Light meter was indeed correct.
Im thinking that the image looked under exposed because it consisted of only dark and non reflective subject matter. 
 My Questions: Should I have stuck to the light meter and finished with a dark looking shot. Or was I right to brighten it up? 
In future what is the best way to deal with this kind of situation? Just expose until you see clipped high's within the composition then back off slightly or stick to the Light meter readings?

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drh681
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, May 7, 2013

Adjust the brightness on the camera's screen.

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to drh681, May 7, 2013

drh681 wrote:

Adjust the brightness on the camera's screen.

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Putting them through lightroom 4 they looked really dark too.

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bm bradley
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, May 7, 2013

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

I was taking some still life shots of a bunch of black (dark red) grapes on a black background. I was using one softbox with a Nikon SB900 and wanting the grapes to fade into the shadows/background. I have a Sekonic L-358 that is calibrated to my camera and I followed the exposure readings it gave and set my light as such. However in the back of the camera, the grapes looked underexposed, so I turned up the power on the flash, now the exposure looked good. When it came time to shoot the Xrite colour checker passport for Post process WB. The blown High's on the colour checker confirmed that the Light meter was indeed correct.
Im thinking that the image looked under exposed because it consisted of only dark and non reflective subject matter. 
 My Questions: Should I have stuck to the light meter and finished with a dark looking shot. Or was I right to brighten it up? 
In future what is the best way to deal with this kind of situation? Just expose until you see clipped high's within the composition then back off slightly or stick to the Light meter readings?

okay you have wondered into 'quantum photography' 2 things... the grapes don't reflect light like the color checker does so you are getting more light on the color checker with the same exposure and 2. the chips capture colors differently and going out on limb I'm going to say the saturation of the grapes colors are going to handle light differently possibly producing a deeper shadow and the appearance of low exposure.

my thinking is this,  light the grapes 'upstage' and 'fill from the front' this will give the grapes beautiful dimension and the dynamic range across the shoot with highlight the colors...

place the key @ 125deg camera right and bit high.. sun works great for this and the fill @30deg camera left level with the lens ... just ball park numbers... you'll see right away where the lights go after a few shots.

you can just use the camera meter BTW.. I do it all the time... I set the ISO and shutter speed I want, the put the camera to shutter priority... look around take readings of the situation. make a decision then set the camera back to manual.

hope this makes sense

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to bm bradley, May 7, 2013

bm bradley wrote:

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

I was taking some still life shots of a bunch of black (dark red) grapes on a black background. I was using one softbox with a Nikon SB900 and wanting the grapes to fade into the shadows/background. I have a Sekonic L-358 that is calibrated to my camera and I followed the exposure readings it gave and set my light as such. However in the back of the camera, the grapes looked underexposed, so I turned up the power on the flash, now the exposure looked good. When it came time to shoot the Xrite colour checker passport for Post process WB. The blown High's on the colour checker confirmed that the Light meter was indeed correct.
Im thinking that the image looked under exposed because it consisted of only dark and non reflective subject matter. 
 My Questions: Should I have stuck to the light meter and finished with a dark looking shot. Or was I right to brighten it up? 
In future what is the best way to deal with this kind of situation? Just expose until you see clipped high's within the composition then back off slightly or stick to the Light meter readings?

okay you have wondered into 'quantum photography' 2 things... the grapes don't reflect light like the color checker does so you are getting more light on the color checker with the same exposure and 2. the chips capture colors differently and going out on limb I'm going to say the saturation of the grapes colors are going to handle light differently possibly producing a deeper shadow and the appearance of low exposure.

my thinking is this,  light the grapes 'upstage' and 'fill from the front' this will give the grapes beautiful dimension and the dynamic range across the shoot with highlight the colors...

place the key @ 125deg camera right and bit high.. sun works great for this and the fill @30deg camera left level with the lens ... just ball park numbers... you'll see right away where the lights go after a few shots.

you can just use the camera meter BTW.. I do it all the time... I set the ISO and shutter speed I want, the put the camera to shutter priority... look around take readings of the situation. make a decision then set the camera back to manual.

hope this makes sense

-- hide signature --

'when I ask you what time it is, don't tell me how to build a watch'

Thanks for the info..
"Quantum photography" :-o
I should have mentioned Im shooting at 1/250th F22 to kill all ambient and lighting with a single softbox approximately 45 degree's camera right, adjusting to control fall off and loose the subject into the shadows..

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Arved
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to bm bradley, May 7, 2013

bm bradley wrote:

place the key @ 125deg camera right and bit high.. sun works great for this and the fill @30deg camera left level with the lens ... just ball park numbers... you'll see right away where the lights go after a few shots.

My (limited) experience tells me that the farther from the lens axis the fill light is placed, the more likely it's going to create it's own shadows. I would caution to put the fill as close to the lens axis as possible and/or use as large a lightshource as possible (shoot through umbrella or softbox.

With all due and sincere respect, this is just my opinion. There are masters of light here who know better than me, and you may be one of them. It's just that the idea of putting a fill light off-axis, as you suggest, has caused me problems, and seems counter-intuitive to me to the concept of fill light controling shadows. The OP's question seems to be a good example of the rules needing to be broken to produce the required results, and your suggestions may be much the same.

Since you're basically suggesting split lighting (main and fill nearly opposite of each other), I can see where this is likely to work. I just see it as a bit risky, not having tried it myself. I would also caution that since the main light is from (slightly) behind the subject, to watch for flare, and be ready to flag the main light to avoid it.

Respectfully,

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- Arved
'Highlights next to shadows to create detail, depth, dimension and added color saturation.' - David Ziser

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bm bradley
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Arved, May 7, 2013

Arved wrote:

bm bradley wrote:

place the key @ 125deg camera right and bit high.. sun works great for this and the fill @30deg camera left level with the lens ... just ball park numbers... you'll see right away where the lights go after a few shots.

My (limited) experience tells me that the farther from the lens axis the fill light is placed, the more likely it's going to create it's own shadows. I would caution to put the fill as close to the lens axis as possible and/or use as large a lightshource as possible (shoot through umbrella or softbox.

With all due and sincere respect, this is just my opinion. There are masters of light here who know better than me, and you may be one of them. It's just that the idea of putting a fill light off-axis, as you suggest, has caused me problems, and seems counter-intuitive to me to the concept of fill light controling shadows. The OP's question seems to be a good example of the rules needing to be broken to produce the required results, and your suggestions may be much the same.

Since you're basically suggesting split lighting (main and fill nearly opposite of each other), I can see where this is likely to work. I just see it as a bit risky, not having tried it myself. I would also caution that since the main light is from (slightly) behind the subject, to watch for flare, and be ready to flag the main light to avoid it.

Respectfully,

-- hide signature --

- Arved
'Highlights next to shadows to create detail, depth, dimension and added color saturation.' - David Ziser

I generally shoot with as much ambient as possible so this works for me... the OP shooting at F22, this will not work at all AND the axis of the camera lens is not set in stone.

yes set the lights so you aren't causing issues with flare and very simple to look at an image and take a small step to the side if the fill is an issue..

I just guessed on the degrees because I shoot by 'feel' and put the light where I need them to work... I've been setting lights since 1983 so I might go about lighting a bit differently and less 'scientifically' than many shooters here.

feel free to try this lighting setup, customizing as needed to work with your 'eye'

-- hide signature --

'when I ask you what time it is, don't tell me how to build a watch'

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bm bradley
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, May 7, 2013

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

bm bradley wrote:

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

I was taking some still life shots of a bunch of black (dark red) grapes on a black background. I was using one softbox with a Nikon SB900 and wanting the grapes to fade into the shadows/background. I have a Sekonic L-358 that is calibrated to my camera and I followed the exposure readings it gave and set my light as such. However in the back of the camera, the grapes looked underexposed, so I turned up the power on the flash, now the exposure looked good. When it came time to shoot the Xrite colour checker passport for Post process WB. The blown High's on the colour checker confirmed that the Light meter was indeed correct.
Im thinking that the image looked under exposed because it consisted of only dark and non reflective subject matter. 
 My Questions: Should I have stuck to the light meter and finished with a dark looking shot. Or was I right to brighten it up? 
In future what is the best way to deal with this kind of situation? Just expose until you see clipped high's within the composition then back off slightly or stick to the Light meter readings?

okay you have wondered into 'quantum photography' 2 things... the grapes don't reflect light like the color checker does so you are getting more light on the color checker with the same exposure and 2. the chips capture colors differently and going out on limb I'm going to say the saturation of the grapes colors are going to handle light differently possibly producing a deeper shadow and the appearance of low exposure.

my thinking is this,  light the grapes 'upstage' and 'fill from the front' this will give the grapes beautiful dimension and the dynamic range across the shoot with highlight the colors...

place the key @ 125deg camera right and bit high.. sun works great for this and the fill @30deg camera left level with the lens ... just ball park numbers... you'll see right away where the lights go after a few shots.

you can just use the camera meter BTW.. I do it all the time... I set the ISO and shutter speed I want, the put the camera to shutter priority... look around take readings of the situation. make a decision then set the camera back to manual.

hope this makes sense

-- hide signature --

'when I ask you what time it is, don't tell me how to build a watch'

Thanks for the info..
"Quantum photography" :-o
I should have mentioned Im shooting at 1/250th F22 to kill all ambient and lighting with a single softbox approximately 45 degree's camera right, adjusting to control fall off and loose the subject into the shadows..

a light placed opposite the key, unfiltered, might produce interesting 'highlights' to set the shadows a bit and add dimension to your vision...

-- hide signature --

'when I ask you what time it is, don't tell me how to build a watch'

 bm bradley's gear list:bm bradley's gear list
Nikon D3X Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.4D Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED-IF VR +3 more
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drh681
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, May 7, 2013

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

Thanks for the info..
"Quantum photography" :-o
I should have mentioned Im shooting at 1/250th F22 to kill all ambient and lighting with a single softbox approximately 45 degree's camera right, adjusting to control fall off and loose the subject into the shadows..

Ah, I see...

f 22; that may be your problem unless the light is right on the subject.

But if you are using the meter properly, with the dome and pointing at the light, that is the reading you should use because the meter acts as its own "gray point"

It sounds as if you are working for a "low key image" this will entail a certain darkness to the image.

If you want more detail to the grapes, then you will need to have a more evenly lit subject.

the quality of light will make a huge difference.

A strip light will give you that detail you want and let you control the fall of to the background

-- hide signature --

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You got a camera, now go out and get a life; or at least a picture of one!

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Sailor Blue
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, May 8, 2013

The L-358 meter (congratulations on calibrating it, too many people never bother) will give you the correct exposure for a normal subject such as a portrait or scenic.

You are shooting a limited dynamic range subject, i.e. a low contrast one, and a dark one to boot.  The "best" exposure would be an Expose To The Right (ETTR) one for this subject.  The resulting image will be way too bright and you will be reducing the exposure in post processing but by using ETTR you will capture many more details in the dark areas of the image.

In my article on how to make ETTR easier by using the camera's Highlight Alert there are links to Michael Reichmanns original articles on ETTR.  In one of those articles he goes into a nice explanation of why using the ETTR with low contrast subjects is the best way to capture the image.

Sailorblue - Digital Photography Review - HA-ETTR: An Easier Way To Expose To The Right Using The Camera's Highlight Alert

With ETTR you want the large soft highlights to be at as high an exposure as possible without being blown out and losing details.  Ignore the tiny specular highlights (direct reflections of a small light source like the sun on chrome) since they should be blown out.

Start with the meter reading then increase the exposure in 1 stop increments until you see the large soft highlights blinking (NOT specular ones).  Back off 2/3 stop and try that.  If the highlights are now blinking that is the correct RAW exposure.  If the large soft highlights aren't blinking then go up 1/3 more stop.

The correct JPG exposure is 1/3 stop less than the exposure at which the large soft highlights that must retain details start blinking.  The RAW exposure is higher because of the larger dynamic range of RAW files.

Here is a suggestion for your lighting.

Use a softbox off to the side to give a nice overall illumination of your subject and to give them large highlights that are NOT blown out.

Add a small light source like a hot-shoe flash or undiffused studio strobe close to the camera (beside it or over it) to add small bright specular highlights that are blown out.  These small specular highlights will give a snap to your image that is missing without them much like catchlights add snap to portraits.

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to bm bradley, May 8, 2013

bm bradley wrote:

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

bm bradley wrote:

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

I was taking some still life shots of a bunch of black (dark red) grapes on a black background. I was using one softbox with a Nikon SB900 and wanting the grapes to fade into the shadows/background. I have a Sekonic L-358 that is calibrated to my camera and I followed the exposure readings it gave and set my light as such. However in the back of the camera, the grapes looked underexposed, so I turned up the power on the flash, now the exposure looked good. When it came time to shoot the Xrite colour checker passport for Post process WB. The blown High's on the colour checker confirmed that the Light meter was indeed correct.
Im thinking that the image looked under exposed because it consisted of only dark and non reflective subject matter. 
 My Questions: Should I have stuck to the light meter and finished with a dark looking shot. Or was I right to brighten it up? 
In future what is the best way to deal with this kind of situation? Just expose until you see clipped high's within the composition then back off slightly or stick to the Light meter readings?

okay you have wondered into 'quantum photography' 2 things... the grapes don't reflect light like the color checker does so you are getting more light on the color checker with the same exposure and 2. the chips capture colors differently and going out on limb I'm going to say the saturation of the grapes colors are going to handle light differently possibly producing a deeper shadow and the appearance of low exposure.

my thinking is this,  light the grapes 'upstage' and 'fill from the front' this will give the grapes beautiful dimension and the dynamic range across the shoot with highlight the colors...

place the key @ 125deg camera right and bit high.. sun works great for this and the fill @30deg camera left level with the lens ... just ball park numbers... you'll see right away where the lights go after a few shots.

you can just use the camera meter BTW.. I do it all the time... I set the ISO and shutter speed I want, the put the camera to shutter priority... look around take readings of the situation. make a decision then set the camera back to manual.

hope this makes sense

-- hide signature --

'when I ask you what time it is, don't tell me how to build a watch'

Thanks for the info..
"Quantum photography" :-o
I should have mentioned Im shooting at 1/250th F22 to kill all ambient and lighting with a single softbox approximately 45 degree's camera right, adjusting to control fall off and loose the subject into the shadows..

a light placed opposite the key, unfiltered, might produce interesting 'highlights' to set the shadows a bit and add dimension to your vision...

-- hide signature --

'when I ask you what time it is, don't tell me how to build a watch'

.. I would be doing that if they were more punchy pic's But I was wanting  to loose the subject into shadow.

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to drh681, May 8, 2013

drh681 wrote:

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

Thanks for the info..
"Quantum photography" :-o
I should have mentioned Im shooting at 1/250th F22 to kill all ambient and lighting with a single softbox approximately 45 degree's camera right, adjusting to control fall off and loose the subject into the shadows..

Ah, I see...

f 22; that may be your problem unless the light is right on the subject.

But if you are using the meter properly, with the dome and pointing at the light, that is the reading you should use because the meter acts as its own "gray point"

It sounds as if you are working for a "low key image" this will entail a certain darkness to the image.

If you want more detail to the grapes, then you will need to have a more evenly lit subject.

the quality of light will make a huge difference.

A strip light will give you that detail you want and let you control the fall of to the background

-- hide signature --

Photons by the bag.
Gravitons no longer shipped outside US or Canada
-----.....------
You got a camera, now go out and get a life; or at least a picture of one!

Hey, the Quality of the light from the double diffused 24" softbox was perfect. On screen they looked all moody and detailed with skin and stem texture. But knowing that it would be too dark for print, I wasn't sure whether to stick to the light meter or punch an extra strop in Lightroom. Im questioning the quantity of the light rather than the quality of the light.

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to bm bradley, May 8, 2013

bm bradley wrote:

Arved wrote:

bm bradley wrote:

place the key @ 125deg camera right and bit high.. sun works great for this and the fill @30deg camera left level with the lens ... just ball park numbers... you'll see right away where the lights go after a few shots.

My (limited) experience tells me that the farther from the lens axis the fill light is placed, the more likely it's going to create it's own shadows. I would caution to put the fill as close to the lens axis as possible and/or use as large a lightshource as possible (shoot through umbrella or softbox.

With all due and sincere respect, this is just my opinion. There are masters of light here who know better than me, and you may be one of them. It's just that the idea of putting a fill light off-axis, as you suggest, has caused me problems, and seems counter-intuitive to me to the concept of fill light controling shadows. The OP's question seems to be a good example of the rules needing to be broken to produce the required results, and your suggestions may be much the same.

Since you're basically suggesting split lighting (main and fill nearly opposite of each other), I can see where this is likely to work. I just see it as a bit risky, not having tried it myself. I would also caution that since the main light is from (slightly) behind the subject, to watch for flare, and be ready to flag the main light to avoid it.

Respectfully,

-- hide signature --

- Arved
'Highlights next to shadows to create detail, depth, dimension and added color saturation.' - David Ziser

I generally shoot with as much ambient as possible so this works for me... the OP shooting at F22, this will not work at all AND the axis of the camera lens is not set in stone.

yes set the lights so you aren't causing issues with flare and very simple to look at an image and take a small step to the side if the fill is an issue..

I just guessed on the degrees because I shoot by 'feel' and put the light where I need them to work... I've been setting lights since 1983 so I might go about lighting a bit differently and less 'scientifically' than many shooters here.

feel free to try this lighting setup, customizing as needed to work with your 'eye'

-- hide signature --

'when I ask you what time it is, don't tell me how to build a watch'

The f22 at ISO 200 works fine if you got the flash power to back it up. I was using f22 to give me the depth of field I needed from a Nikon 105mm D.  I totally agree with the rest of your posting though. When it comes to flare from hard light's aimed back at the camera I have velcro on the flash heads and carry 10x8 inch pieces of black card also with velcro on them to act as barn doors esque. Lol, If I put one card on either side of the flash, it looks like a Tie fighter out of Star Wars

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Sailor Blue, May 8, 2013

Sailor Blue wrote:

The L-358 meter (congratulations on calibrating it, too many people never bother) will give you the correct exposure for a normal subject such as a portrait or scenic.

You are shooting a limited dynamic range subject, i.e. a low contrast one, and a dark one to boot.  The "best" exposure would be an Expose To The Right (ETTR) one for this subject.  The resulting image will be way too bright and you will be reducing the exposure in post processing but by using ETTR you will capture many more details in the dark areas of the image.

In my article on how to make ETTR easier by using the camera's Highlight Alert there are links to Michael Reichmanns original articles on ETTR.  In one of those articles he goes into a nice explanation of why using the ETTR with low contrast subjects is the best way to capture the image.

Sailorblue - Digital Photography Review - HA-ETTR: An Easier Way To Expose To The Right Using The Camera's Highlight Alert

With ETTR you want the large soft highlights to be at as high an exposure as possible without being blown out and losing details.  Ignore the tiny specular highlights (direct reflections of a small light source like the sun on chrome) since they should be blown out.

Start with the meter reading then increase the exposure in 1 stop increments until you see the large soft highlights blinking (NOT specular ones).  Back off 2/3 stop and try that.  If the highlights are now blinking that is the correct RAW exposure.  If the large soft highlights aren't blinking then go up 1/3 more stop.

The correct JPG exposure is 1/3 stop less than the exposure at which the large soft highlights that must retain details start blinking.  The RAW exposure is higher because of the larger dynamic range of RAW files.

Here is a suggestion for your lighting.

Use a softbox off to the side to give a nice overall illumination of your subject and to give them large highlights that are NOT blown out.

Add a small light source like a hot-shoe flash or undiffused studio strobe close to the camera (beside it or over it) to add small bright specular highlights that are blown out.  These small specular highlights will give a snap to your image that is missing without them much like catchlights add snap to portraits.

-- hide signature --

Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

Cool, so basically I ETTR'd without knowing the term . Interesting about how it has to be approached differently with Jpeg.

 Clueless Wanderer's gear list:Clueless Wanderer's gear list
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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, May 8, 2013

I just want to thank everybody for their input

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Nikon D200 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +21 more
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Arved
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Clueless Wanderer, May 8, 2013

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

The f22 at ISO 200 works fine if you got the flash power to back it up. I was using f22 to give me the depth of field I needed from a Nikon 105mm D.  I totally agree with the rest of your posting though. When it comes to flare from hard light's aimed back at the camera I have velcro on the flash heads and carry 10x8 inch pieces of black card also with velcro on them to act as barn doors esque. Lol, If I put one card on either side of the flash, it looks like a Tie fighter out of Star Wars

That's funny! (The Star Wars part.) But you know, I like the idea of having a flag like that creating an ersatz strip light. Boy, does that give me some ideas (and a reason to buy more speedlights!

You'd mentioned using f/22 to kill ambient light and a distracting background. It also makes sense that you'd need the DOF. Being that close, you probably don't need all that much power from your speedlights. After all, look at the tiny lights in Nikon's R1C1!

When speaking of a flag, I was thinking more along the lines of Neil van Niekerk's "Black Foamie Thing," a small sheet of black craft foam held onto the flash with a simple hair band, but there are many, many ways to get this done, up to and including compendium lens hood.

After all this talk, I'm hoping you will share the fruits of your labor (no pun intended). I'm really interested in seeing what works out for you.

All the best!

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- Arved
'Highlights next to shadows to create detail, depth, dimension and added color saturation.' - David Ziser

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Clueless Wanderer
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to Arved, May 8, 2013

Arved wrote:

Clueless Wanderer wrote:

The f22 at ISO 200 works fine if you got the flash power to back it up. I was using f22 to give me the depth of field I needed from a Nikon 105mm D.  I totally agree with the rest of your posting though. When it comes to flare from hard light's aimed back at the camera I have velcro on the flash heads and carry 10x8 inch pieces of black card also with velcro on them to act as barn doors esque. Lol, If I put one card on either side of the flash, it looks like a Tie fighter out of Star Wars

That's funny! (The Star Wars part.) But you know, I like the idea of having a flag like that creating an ersatz strip light. Boy, does that give me some ideas (and a reason to buy more speedlights!

You'd mentioned using f/22 to kill ambient light and a distracting background. It also makes sense that you'd need the DOF. Being that close, you probably don't need all that much power from your speedlights. After all, look at the tiny lights in Nikon's R1C1!

When speaking of a flag, I was thinking more along the lines of Neil van Niekerk's "Black Foamie Thing," a small sheet of black craft foam held onto the flash with a simple hair band, but there are many, many ways to get this done, up to and including compendium lens hood.

After all this talk, I'm hoping you will share the fruits of your labor (no pun intended). I'm really interested in seeing what works out for you.

All the best!

-- hide signature --

- Arved
'Highlights next to shadows to create detail, depth, dimension and added color saturation.' - David Ziser

Man! These are the most positive, friendliest comments/remarks I've ever had with regard to my postings
If you like making modifier's/manipulater's for speedlights get your self a sheet of black corflute, a bag of black drinking straws, some suitable glue and go nuts. I have made 8 different ones and use them all regularly. You have a great day man and get playing with those speedlights..
Ps. The grapes are still in RAW limbo, gotta get the 200 plus shots down to about 5

 Clueless Wanderer's gear list:Clueless Wanderer's gear list
Nikon D200 Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 300mm f/4D ED-IF Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +21 more
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Arved
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Re: Questions about Light Meter and correct exposure during shoot.
In reply to bm bradley, May 8, 2013

bm bradley wrote:

I generally shoot with as much ambient as possible so this works for me... the OP shooting at F22, this will not work at all AND the axis of the camera lens is not set in stone.

Well, when you specify an angle to 3 digits of accuracy...

But I'm not sure what you mean by won't work at all?

I just guessed on the degrees because I shoot by 'feel' and put the light where I need them to work... I've been setting lights since 1983 so I might go about lighting a bit differently and less 'scientifically' than many shooters here.

Then it sounds like you're very much more experienced than I am, so I bow to your authority in the matter. I suspect people talk much more "scientifically" than they practice because it gives a much more concrete way to discuss what they're trying to do. I was watching an online seminar by Keviin Kubota the some time ago (Oh, and I hate to namedrop, but how else to convey the information?), and he made a great point about the technical aspect. If you see the light looks good, who cares what the lighting ratio is? And yes, it probably will be in the 3:1 ballpark, but don't sweat getting the lighting ratio right. Put the effort into making the image look right. Being a little off one way or the other is probably going to look better than nailing the ratio. Well, words to that effect - it was some time ago, but the point he made stuck with me.

OTOH, "applied science" is what made men like the Wright Brothers stand out from other pioneer aviators, and more to the point, I credit "applied science" to Ansel Adam's success, as there were more than a few photographers before him that were famous for photographing Yosemite. It's his scientific approach that let him stand out from those who came before him, producing superior results.

But I digress.

feel free to try this lighting setup, customizing as needed to work with your 'eye'

I shall! I'm very fascinated with the idea you gave here that grapes don't reflect light the same way other surfaces do (like the Color Checker Passport), so of course I'm going to have to investigate. And I hope I make some mistakes, too, because without mistakes, there can be no learning.

Warmest regards,

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- Arved
'Highlights next to shadows to create detail, depth, dimension and added color saturation.' - David Ziser

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