Lighting Exposure and Gesture
So we're going to talk about Lighting and Gesture. And I think gesture is always kind of overlooked. This one of my most important subjects I think, to get right. So, we'll just start. And a little bit of Metering, we've kinda talked quite a bit about metering already. Just briefly by histogram. This is a high key image, very low contrast, for little ducks, obviously. And if you looked at your histogram, if it's exposed correctly, it would lie in this area, not touching that wall. If it touches that wall, basically there's no detail. Right now, this histogram tells me that everything here has some detail in it. So if you wanna make a print, you know, there's detail in that white, that white, the brightest has detail. There's no real blacks. So the idea of the histogram as most of you know, is to keep all the image between the two walls. On the left hand side, you lose the ducks, on the right hand side you lose light. So it doesn't really matter where it falls right in here, but then yo...
u don't wanna be a slave to the histogram either. And I'll talk about that in a minute. So this is basically the opposite of the other one. This gorilla, you can see here, the histogram is off to the left side, so this means there's no detail in the blackest part. And I saw this image, this is a film image. It wasn't digital. So I couldn't look at my histogram, I couldn't look at the film. So, but I knew that I wanted his face to have detail. So this is what I was worried about. I wasn't worried about this and I wasn't worried about, you know, the dark part, but I wanted his eyes. So I expose and took a spot metering on this and therefore my histogram showed me this very tiny line that goes here, which probably means the very lightest parts, maybe that part right there, you know, there's no detail, but we don't really care. It's so tiny, but this is dark. So that's where you're not a slave to the histogram. You know, if I wanted to perfect histogram, this would be in the middle, there'd be some detail here, but basically you couldn't do it with this image it's too much contrast. Same way with this one. I wanted again this film image, no histogram available, but I expose for the head with a spot meter. Using a Pentax spot meter, I measured this light. I didn't care much about the sky, I didn't care anything about the shadows, but this had to be exposed correctly. So that's what I went for. That's what you have to remember. This is a really old image on film again. Probably shot in the mid 80s. It was in the Florida Everglades and this background had a lot of bush, you know, a lot of busy-ness, and all I wanted, I wanted to underexpose it so I wouldn't see it. So I selected for this and there's detail in all of these feathers. And this went black, which was a gift because it got rid of all of the busy-ness. So you can do, you know, use your head. Don't just try to be between, you know, the walls. But if your histogram is incredibly important, and you can change all that, I don't black it hardly ever, but I use my exposure compensation dial. You know, you can do a third to two thirds to set up differently for different cameras, maybe half stop, but I'll look at my histogram, in the back of my camera to see where it is. But then I also say, okay, now what do I want? In this case I measured these, you know, I wanted this to have detail in it. I wanted him to be silhouetted. I didn't care about his fur. We know what a moose's fur looks like, we've seen of it, We don't care about their fur. We only care about this area here. That mountain has to have detail. That was where he was sitting. And he will look cooler if he's, you know, silhouette. Same way with this, is a bald eagle, obviously as a whitehead. I've shed a light about eagles with white heads. I've seen enough white heads. I wanted this beautiful parrot, this beautiful, soft, pastel, the sky was incredible. You know, I got this turquoise to kind of a yellow, to a peach, to a purple again repeating with the reflections in the water. That's what I wanted, that color. And he was just an accent. I mean, this would be kind of pretty without him, but him being a silhouette, total black, that is where you have to think. So what do you want? That's when you start making images instead of taking images. So, that's the idea to make images. So these are just a variety of pictures showing, you know, different kinds of light. In today with digital, this is a film image shot in the Serengeti some years ago. This is pre-dawn light before the sunrise is about, that's very, maybe 30, 20, 30 minutes before it sunrises. The morning African fog, this is sunrise, right at sunrise redact earlier. But the light bouncing off the clouds, which gives us this nice open glow look and the pink. Again that only usually lasts for a couple of minutes. So you have to be really set up figures, exposure out and your composition out and everything. And then of course you think about reflections in the lower you get to the water, the more reflections you're gonna get. So I got quite close to the bottom of the bank. Then you got sort of filtered morning sunlight. You can see there's sun on this bear, but there's really no sun here. The sun is literally at that angle. And it's filtered through this blowing snow. So it gives us a very soft, very soft light on that polar bear. And this is my most, I think, favorite light and favorite portrait of an animal. And it's early morning Again, I was on elephant back and this cat was lying on this rock in a perfect position, but it was dark, you know, and I was on the back of an elephant shooting that film again, I saw 50 or 100 Fuji chrome and the exposure was like three seconds or four seconds at 2.8, before the sun came up. So I asked them a hoot. They said can we just wait for a bit? Because if the sun comes up, I could see the sun hitting that far hillside, I knew that it would eventually come down. If the cat stayed there, it would be really cool. Another Magoo came up and said, we need your elephants, you've been up here long enough. Some other people wanted it. Usually I'm pretty kind, don't do that but I said, please, can we stay for another 20 minutes? He said, okay. In the meanwhile, this is the daughter of cheetah the one that saw the brother that was pouting, that was a sister. And meanwhile, the father came down the road charger, big, big, big cat, big famous tiger who sired these kittens. And everybody wanna go after charger cause he was much bigger and better and more tougher. Then everybody left, we had all the time in the world. So we just waited. Sun came up, hit her face, hit her paws. She sat there for about two minutes and it was 250 at 2.8 on it with the 300 millimeter. I shot about three rolls of film very quickly. Fortunately there were two or three that were focused, or not moving I should say, they were focused but they were not moving. And then the light got too hot on her or too bright. She got up and did a big yawn, went back and disappeared into the forest. But that is a kind of perfect magic hour light. This is mid day and everybody says, well, we should shoot. You know, only during the hour, before hour after sunrise, sunset, and that's the magic hour. Of course that's the most beautiful time just like the cat was, but we were picking up camp drove by this lake bed saw these giraffes out in the open plain hill out on the Lake bed and there was a storm coming up. And it created this really beautiful light coming through the the sucker holes here on this, kinda lit up these areas, lit up the drafts. And so don't forget, you can't shoot during the middle of the day.