Exposure Basics, lesson three?

Started Mar 18, 2013 | Discussions thread
noirdesir Forum Pro • Posts: 13,501
Re: All at once or nothing at all?

Perhaps you are too smart to understand the simplicity of the use of the exposure triangle. It happens.

Or maybe I hadn't heard of the exposure triangle until a few years ago, and I was very much into photographic literature and took quite a number of courses when I was in my early and mid-teens. Somehow myself and a whole generation around me coped just fine without it, and a whole generation of teachers also thought that they didn't need it.

If somebody needs a triangle to understand how many railway carriages it takes to transport a given amount of, eg, coal, with the length and height of the carriages as variables, they didn't advance much beyond elementary school.

I'm sticking to my opinion that the triangle is mainly a way to show something fancy, so the students say aah and ooh. Nobody ever users the triangle to actually calculate something except maybe as a forced exercise in class.

I explain that there are two fundamental controls we have understand, the Aperture and the shutter speed, and also a camera setting that it helps to have an understanding of, especially if they like taking photos at night but find the shots turn out like crãp.

Then I show the exposure triangle.

You show them the triangle before you have explained them what ISO is? How could they understand anything of it they don't know what ISO is?

Then I come back to digital and talk about the sensor. I explain that it's sensitivity to light doesn't change as was the case with different film speeds, but it tries to simulate this by boosting the recording to make it look like there was more light captured than there really was, to prevent the image from looking under-exposed.

That and your next paragraph is actually a pretty good explanation that avoids that misleading statement that changing the ISO changes the sensitivity and noise of the sensor. But wouldn't it make sense to add at this point that one can do in principle exactly the same thing on a computer: boost the recording?

Third, I'm hoping to help those more technical minded people understand the intentions and the role of the exposure triangle.

Let me ask you my key question again in a twofold manner: (1) What would you students answer at that point what 'exposure' is? And how the exposure triangle describes exposure? (2) And what would be your answer if the students asked you?.

Presenting a single graphic with only three elements is a comfort to a beginner because it helps convey confidence that it's not as complex as they may have feared.

I think your faucet example is much easier to understand than a triangle, people have to learn how to read such a triangle, but everybody intuitively knows how a faucet works.

And in general, I am not sure whether teaching the basics of photography without the basics of image adjustment is the proper approach these days.

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