Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/05/11

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: PAW wk 19/sl
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Sat, 11 May 2002 14:29:14 -0400

While I almost always agree with Ted on photo issues, I've got to disagree
on this one. Given that the light was theoretically the same where the
photographer was shooting and where the couple was sitting, I'd have gone
for a reflective reading off my hand, and opened up a 1/2 stop to a stop. My
problem with the photo is that it is much too flat. I realize that this is a
technically correct exposure, and probably comes close to presenting an
accurate view of what the eye might have seen - but there are times when
what the eye sees is flat and uninteresting because the overall light is so
flat and low. I looked at the photo and thought, 'okay, that's the inside of
a bar: so what?' But I would guess that had the photo been based on a
reflective reading, there would have been much more light on the couple's
face, much more contrast between highlights and shadows, and the couple
would have drawn much more of my attention - causing me to think, 'Gee, I
wonder who they are and what's going on.' The same photo, with much more
contrast - which would have been obtained with a reflective reading, would,
in my opinion - based on my personal taste - have been far more interesting
to look at.

B. D.
NOT picking on Steve, just trying to discuss photography. :-)

- -----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Ted Grant
Sent: Saturday, May 11, 2002 10:01 AM
Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: PAW wk 19/sl

Eric wrote:
>>> I'd much rather have a reflective meter in this type of situation than
> incident one.  An incident one tells you nothing about the exposure you
> for the shadows.  Meter a shadow that you want to have some detail and
> close down 2-3 stops.  As long as you're shooting B&W negatives, you can
> control highlights while developing.  Seems easy enough.  Or, even the
> reverse.  Read off somebody's face, open up a stop, and let the shadows
> everything else fall wherever.  In either case, just make one reading and
> then keep shooting.
> Am I missing something?<<<<

Hi Eric,
In answer to your question: > Am I missing something?<<   I suppose, yes.
;-)  because:

A/  Steve is in a place where he need not draw any more attention to himself
by taking readings in the shadows, besides the shadows really don't matter
as they'll fall into the correct level with the incident reading.

Ask yourself, "are there any super details in the shadows required to make
this a better picture?" Surely the answer is "No." Would they make it a
better picture fiddling with the exposure for the shadows? Surely "no." And
the crucial question, "Would the couple still be there by the time one
fusses about getting readings in the shadows and the highlights?  Trust me
that one has to be a,    "quite possibly NO!"

It wouldn't be a consideration of exposure here because it's the over all
light for the main subject, the couple, the shadows will be there anyway and
why start screwing around with techie "expose for the shadows develop for
the highlights etc."  It's not a rock and fern, peeling paint picture.
Besides it's on a 36 exp. 35mm roll where the question has to be, "what
happens to the other 35 negatives once you start playing.... "expose for the
shadows...develop for the highlights?"

It's a "life moment" that an incident reading will give the correct overall
reading for an exposure to capture the moment. Which we all know Steve does
this kind of thing very well, using an incident meter with a no fuss no -
muss picture taking method.

>>Seems easy enough.  Or, even the reverse.  Read off somebody's face, open
up a >stop, and let the shadows and everything else fall wherever.  In
either case, just make >one reading and then keep shooting.>>>

Surely you're not suggesting he walk over and hold a meter up at the face of
the patrons? If so, he may find himself  "deep in the shadows" if he picks
the wrong guy. Or gal!

He can get a solid reading where he's sitting without creating any
embarrassment with the incident meter if the light is roughly the same level
where he's sitting. Which in many of these cases it is, or so close the
difference will be negligible.

Bottom line? It's always......  "KISS" Keep it simple sweet heart!" ;-) and
make life as easy as you can while being a photojournalist. :-)

I trust this answers your question," > Am I missing something? <<<<  :-)


Ted Grant Photography Limited

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