What I learned from Gollywop -- and what I wonder

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
gollywop Veteran Member • Posts: 8,284
Re: What is proper exposure at the first place?

Moti wrote:

bowportes wrote:

As an old fart of a photographer, I thought I knew all about exposure -- you know, aperture, shutter-speed, and ISO. The point was to nail the proper exposure as given by the camera...

Being an old fart photographer myself, I always believed in the principle that in photography, being a visual craft, the final judgement of a photograph is done with the eye. Therefore, my definition to proper exposer is completely different.

For me, proper exposure is the amount of exposure that makes my photo look exactly the way I want it to look.As simple as that.

Therefore, with all due respect to everything mentioned in the OP which is very interesting and I am sure also helpful to many, it still lacks one very important element - how do I want my image to look like. This is something that no camera in the world can guess and without this input, no exposure theory has any validity for me.

Let me show you two examples to explain what I mean:

Is this photo underexposed? Of course if you look at the histogram. But I consider it to have the perfect exposure, because this is exactly the way I wanted it to look like.

And what about this one? The histogram tells me it is a disaster but again, correct exposure for me.

That of course is not to suggest that people are wrong, it is just my personal take on the subject based on my own style, needs and experience. YMMV.

Moti, those are indeed marvelous images.  And, yes, you are absolutely right, and I've never said otherwise: artistic considerations trump all.

That said, artistic considerations trump ETTR, or, more generally, maximal exposure subject to aperture/shutter-speed shooting constraints, only if they cannot be achieved during processing.

A given artistic effect achieved via the processing of a maximally exposed file will, in general, result in a higher-quality rendering than the same effect achieved in-camera via a less than optimally exposed file.  You'll have the same artistic effect, but typically with better control of its structure, with less noise.

And, yes, if you read carefully, you will realize that what I've just said applies equally well to an artistic effect that embodies noise. Some sorts of noise may be desired in the image, but not all sorts may be. You lose the choice if the unwanted noise is stamped in stone.

These considerations, of course, apply primarily to, but not exclusively to, shooting raw.  If you're looking for an OOC effect and have no desire to tweak anything with PP, then you clearly want to shoot for your effect -- all other considerations be damned.  That's, of course, the reason I shoot raw: I want to achieve what I want as much as possible on my terms and not the camera's.

That said, the differences between a maximally exposed, properly processed shot achieving a given artistic goal and one at less than maximal exposure may simply not be of concern to you.  And it may be that the artistic goal does things that completely wipe out the benefits of the maximal exposure. Your first image, for example, would black out many of the areas where the better exposure could have provided better shadow definition had it been desired.  You apparently had no such desire and wanted no such definition.  And that's fine.  Nobody's gainsaying that your images are wonderful.  They certainly are.

And while it's possible that you're and older fart than I, it's not possible that you could be too much so.  I guess the real issue is whether you're an older dog.  

-- hide signature --


Post (hide subjects) Posted by
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow