Exposure Basics, lesson three?

Started Mar 18, 2013 | Discussions thread
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 53,155
Re: All at once or nothing at all?

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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