recompose??

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by tony99, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. tony99

    tony99 TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    i have a question , I was reading something about taking picture on snow, and with auto setting the snow will appear grey. the person said meter something neutral then re-compose and shoot.

    now what is re-compose and how can i achieve it?

    thank you
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    What kind of camera are you using?

    Typical modern SLR cameras will meter in one of three ways...matrix, centre weighted or spot. If you look through the viewfinder and there is a lot of snow (white) the matrix metering will think "very bright, less exposure" so you end up with grey snow.

    A simple way to get around this is to only take a meter reading off of a neutral object. Deciding what is neutral takes experience, more than I have anyway. A grey card would be the ideal object to use. Anyway, use centre weighted or spot metering if you have it and check what the camera sets for exposure (F/stop & shutter speed) on the neutral object.

    Now that you have a neutral reading, keep those exposure values and recompose...meaning that now is when you look through the viewfinder and aim the camera to compose your shot. Then take the shot.

    Might be a good idea to bracket as well. This means that you would adjust the exposure above & below the suggested setting and snap off some shots so that you have a better chance of getting it right.

    This is much more important with slide film than with negative print film. If your negative prints are grey, you can probably just get them printed again.
     
  3. tony99

    tony99 TPF Noob!

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    hi,

    thank you for your answer I'm using a nikon 70.
    so the problem of getting grey color is because of the technology??
    what happen if we use very old camera did they have those kind of "problems"?

    so if i understand correctly, re-compose you metter(taking the mesure of aperture and shutter) on a neutral object and you use those setting(which were taken on this neutral object) for the snow

    Thanks again
     
  4. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    The reason the snow is grey is because the snow is white. Your meter wants to expose it to middle grey. So you'll need to overexpose by 2-3 to compensate for how the meter reads the scene.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Basically it boils down to what voodoocat said...you will end up adding 2-3 stops of exposure.

    As for the technology...it's not that new technology is to blame. Light meters have been in cameras for a while. The light meters have to be set to a nominal level. The level they are set to happens to be 18% grey...which works for most average scenes but snow is much brighter than average.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Your fancy new fangled camera meters for middle gray (18%). My old vintage cams meter for middle gray (if they even have a meter).

    So when you try to take a pic of a white cat (or snow, or anything white), the meter tells you the settings for making the cat gray. You need to add two stops of exposure to get white.

    When you are taking a pic of a black cat, your meter tells you the setting to make the cat gray. You need to subtract two stops of exposure to get black.

    If you are shooting a gray cat, then the camera is giving you the right settings for gray, but you could make the cat white or black by adding or subtracting two stops.

    You can get a middle gray card at any camera shop/online for $5. If you don't want to carry it around, then compare the difference according to your meter with the gray card and the palm of your hand. You'll probably find that your palm is about one stop brighter than the gray card. In the field you can meter off your hand. Also a healthy, green grass lawn is approximately middle gray tonally.

    A little more complicated, but along the same lines as using a gray card is to use anything black (boots, camera bag, pants, coat, etc....) To get to middle gray after metering off anything black add two stops. This is how I do it in troublesome lighting conditions. It seems easier to find black objects to meter than middle gray.

    If you are using auto-exposure modes then you may have to figure out how to use your meter-lock, or when you recompose the snow scene the meter will just take a new reading and reset the camera. It may have it's own button, or holding the shutter button down 1/2 way may lock the meter. Read your manual.
     
  7. tony99

    tony99 TPF Noob!

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    for a grey card isn't possible to use paintproshop and draw a little grey square?? for free

    also when you say add/subtract 2 stop it is the aperture right setting ?
    if we have 11 we go to 5.6 or 22
     
  8. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Sure, make your own. Just make sure it's 18% gray. Screw that though, just figure out where your palm is (probably 1 stop over middle gray). A hand is a pretty convenient photo accessory; you'll never leave it at home.

    Yes, 2 stops more than f/11 is f/5.6. 2 stops less than f/11 is f/22.
    Or you could add or subtract 2 stops with your shutter and leave the aperture alone.
    Or you could adjust each by one.

    Just depends on what you need for the image.
     
  9. oriecat

    oriecat work in progress

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    You can adjust the 2 stops by using either the aperture or the shutter speed. You may not want to adjust the aperture as it will affect the depth of field. You may not want to adjust the shutter speed, as it could end up too slow and get blurring. Every situation will be different.

    Regarding the photoshop idea, seems to me that
    A) you have to make sure to actually use 18% grey. Does Photoshop tell you which one that is? (I don't use it, so I don't know.)
    B) you have to make sure that your printer then prints it in 18% grey. Do you trust that your printer is that accurate?
     
  10. pucci

    pucci TPF Noob!

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    informative thread.

    i plan on shooting a lot of pics at the ski hill this year and am glad i read it.

    thanks guys
     

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