Proper Exposure & ‘The Sunny 16’ Rule
Jan27

Proper Exposure & ‘The Sunny 16’ Rule

“So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”—T. S. Eliot If you agree that lighting is one of the key elements that differentiate a good photograph from a snapshot, then it’s necessary to understand proper exposure. Believe it or not, there was a time when cameras did not have built in light meters, let alone automatic exposure. In those days, photographers either used a hand-held exposure meter or...

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What’s the Correct Exposure?
Nov15

What’s the Correct Exposure?

In a recent post about digital infrared photography I talked about the importance of obtaining the proper exposure, but as significant as it is for IR—and it may be more noteworthy—it’s crucial for every photograph that you make. That’s because proper exposure is a perfect storm of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO that produces a pleasing result. Pleasing to whom, you might ask? You are the ultimate arbiter of what is...

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Tips for Photographing Fireworks
Jul01

Tips for Photographing Fireworks

“We’re going to live on; we’re going to survive. Today we celebrate our Independence day.”—“President Bradford” in the (original) film Independence Day Some photographic subjects, such as fireworks or lightening, can’t easily—at least for me—be captured using any of the standard exposure metering systems but some cameras, including some from Olympus, offer a Fireworks Mode that slows the shutter speed and sets the focusing point to...

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Hysterical Over Histograms
May10

Hysterical Over Histograms

“That which is measured improves. That which is measured and reported improves exponentially”— Karl Pearson A histogram is a graphic representation of the distribution of exposure data in an image file. Mathematicians will tell you its an estimate of the probability distribution of a continuous variable (like image exposure) and was first introduced by Karl Pearson (1857-1936,) an influential English mathematician. An...

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Meat & Potatoes: Exposure
Mar08

Meat & Potatoes: Exposure

In response to several suggestions from new readers of this blog, over the next few weeks we’re going back to the basics with a look at some subjects that challenge new photographers—especially these shooters moving up from cell phones to an SLR or mirrorless camera. When teaching workshops, the number one question I hear from students and one that usually permeates the entire event is a quest for perfect exposure. Back in the 1970’s...

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Your Choice of ISO Affects Exposure Too
Feb12

Your Choice of ISO Affects Exposure Too

ISO (International Standards Organization) speed is a standard method for quantifying film’s—hold on digital’s coming—sensitivity to light. Lower numbers, such as 50 or 100, represent less sensitivity; while higher numbers, such as 800 or 1600, show a film that’s more sensitive to light. ISO numbers are proportional to their sensitivity to light. As you double or halve an ISO number, you double or halve film’s sensitivity...

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Camera Features I Love: Exposure Compensation
Dec15

Camera Features I Love: Exposure Compensation

To me, the exposure compensation control is one of the most important parts of a digital SLR or mirrorless camera and it’s the first control—after how to adjust ISO setting—that I look for on a new camera. It’s always been my belief that camera’s designers realized that no amount of automation will produce a “perfect” exposure under all possible lighting situations and what some people might like others might not. Since you are the...

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