What I learned from Gollywop -- and what I wonder

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
GeorgianBay1939 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,018
Re: What I learned from Gollywop -- and what I wonder

PS I suspect that the above makes me a non-purist! Sorry, still a learner.


Scenes like yours are very difficult to shoot with any camera, including FF sensor with higher DR. I usually try to find different solution ( in terms of composing) or do not shoot at all.

Tom, did you try to change metering from center weighted to, forgot the definition, full screen, probably?

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Looking for equilibrium...

Hi Simon,

Yeah, some of my photog friends tell me that I am pushing the gear (myself too?) too far. But I am that sort of guy, gotta ski the edges, gotta push the airframe envelope, etc etc. Gets me into trouble but life is a bit more fun that way --- for me.

This past winter I shot a few thousand snowscape images, using RAW (mainly ETTR) into the sun, with lots of backlighting, dark shadows, specular snowflake reflections etc, just to learn this sort of stuff. Mixed results, but (I think) a big improvement in my photography. I was actually deciding what I was doing, instead of just pointing / shooting.

So I use every "very difficult" scene as an opportunity to try something new. I still take the "easier" shots, moving around, getting different light, framing, composing etc but also try the hard stuff. Sometimes I break through ...... sometimes crap!  But I don't spend a lot of time spraying and praying.  I work very hard for each frame.  I, like you,  sweat every image.   Probably a hang-up from my youth when I shot 24 or 36 frames and waited a couple of weeks for the slides to return.

On my GH2 (and on my new GX1) the choices for metering are:

• Intelligent Multiple
• Center-Weighted
• Spot

99% of the time I use Spot Metering.

Unlike you experienced photographers, I have NO intuitive grasp of Sunny f/16,  Adam's / Archer's Zone System, and all of that wonderful experience with film and JPEG exposure techniques used by OVF photographers who do not, in general, have or like, WYSIWYG Viewfinders.

Being an old f@rt, I don't have the time, cognitive ability or patience to read all of those books dealing with exposure.

So I take a short cut.  I learn the art and science of "exposure" as I go.  I spot meter every scene and survey the luminance ... the dark holes, the mid tones, the highs.   I watch the histogram and the numbers as I move the Spot around the scene.  I can now get a pretty good idea of what the magnitude and spatial distribution is of scene luminance.  I use that to frame, compose and even to set FL sometimes.   And, of course, I use that to set my exposure (using my AELock most of the time.)   I normally shoot Aperture priority and vary SS to get the exposure.   So it is a simple matter to just watch SS to see what his happening to luminance, quantitatively.   Of course this is all in live view with the histogram.

I also chimp  by checking the post exposure histogram .... the one with the separate R, G, B, and Y channels.  That gives me a quick confirmation that I am not clipping red or blues.  (Cardinal flowers and some snow or water scenes.)

I cheat every once in a while and see what the multiple or centre weighted would give me.  But they are such coarse measures of the variation of spatial luminance of the scene that I learn little from them ... and therefore don't use them very much.

I also cheat by using i(diot)A(uto) occasionally (not often enough) since it is simple to do so.  I compare what the nerdy computer programmers produce compared with what an inexperienced photog produces.   Sometimes I do better than the programmers.  (I have the advantage of standing at the scene.)  If I shoot JPEGs, rarely now, the iA  output is similar to  mine .... except in peculiar lighting conditions.

Long answer to short questions, eh?

Last winter after the first two months of shooting RAW (mainly ETTER) a friend in Scotland put my stuff up on a very nice website in honour of James Clerk Maxwell.


I'd appreciate your critique of those images.   It seems like such a long time ago, that it would be good to review them.


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