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05-05-2010, 02:15 PM   #1
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Just Read "Understanding Exposure" - Meter Question

So in the book he says "Meter off the sky or grass"

Is it really that simple?

What if you're shooting a scene without sky or grass? Like a dark alley or inside a classroom? Or Close Up of a Book?

Thanks.

05-05-2010, 02:35 PM   #2
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That makes no sense.

The sky sucks for metering, unless it's way, way overcast.

Meter for what you want to SHOOT.
05-05-2010, 03:10 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hockmasm Quote
So in the book he says "Meter off the sky or grass"

Is it really that simple?

What if you're shooting a scene without sky or grass? Like a dark alley or inside a classroom? Or Close Up of a Book?

Thanks.
Understanding Camera Metering and Exposure
Metering off the sky is to get the sky from burning out...
05-05-2010, 04:51 PM   #4
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seriously. the book said that. he would show a scene of a flower field with a tree in the background. then say he tilted up metered off the sky recomposed and took the shot. basing the meter off the sky.

he also said use the grass.

people swear by that book on this forum..

05-05-2010, 05:01 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hockmasm Quote
seriously. the book said that. he would show a scene of a flower field with a tree in the background. then say he tilted up metered off the sky recomposed and took the shot. basing the meter off the sky.

he also said use the grass.

people swear by that book on this forum..
Try it, and see if it works.
05-05-2010, 05:03 PM   #6
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What he's talking about in the sky instance is for shots where the exposure is difficult for the meter to correctly interpret due to lack of contrast. The prime example he used is the snowy scene where the camera wants to meter the snow as gray but by reading the blue sky he was overriding what the meter was trying to tell him to do.
05-05-2010, 05:30 PM   #7
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Well, that book is overrated, but yes - facing away from the sun and aiming at the deep blue sky (not hazy or cloudy white) is the correct exposure. Medium blue and medium gray are the same brightness.

The green grass - with proper negative compensation - is another constant subject that can be used. Also, the metering the palm of your hand then opening 1 stop works pretty well, regardless of your skin color.

Remember that the actual subject must be in the same light as your reference. So, metering off grass in the shade and compensating, then turning to your subject in bright light will not work.

If you have a gray card it is easy to determine these reference-subject exposures. For example, put a gray card on the grass. Meter the card, then meter the grass next to it. The difference in exposure is what you can use all the time in the future. Same for the clear blue sky, etc.
05-05-2010, 05:44 PM   #8
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The book msot definitely does *not* say it's assimple as metering off the sky or grass. In fact, he goes into quite a lot of detail about *when* to use the sky and when not to, when to use compensation in addition to this, and furthermore, what *part* of the sky to use in which situations. As he explains, metering off blue sky works if and only if your subject is brightly lit by the sun just as the sky is.

If you're somewhere without sky or grass, them same basic principle applies - meter off an object of "average" brightness in the same light as your subject. At least, it situations where metering off the subject directly would likely led to problems (for the reasons explained in the book).

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