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The Light Meter

Lesson 24 from: Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

The Light Meter

Lesson 24 from: Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

24. The Light Meter

White and black confuse the camera's built-in light meter. Compensate for the camera's confusion using a tool called exposure compensation to tweak the exposure.

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Lesson Info

The Light Meter

or light meters have a common problem. They can't tell the difference between black and white. In other words, they cannot distinguish toes. The meters are calibrated to see the entire world is medium tone. Great. What that means is they will accurately expose a medium tone subject, such as a green leaf. But what about a swamp? In bright light, the white feathers of a swan two stops lighter the medium, but because the camera has been calibrated to see the entire world is medium grey. Unless you make a change, this one will come out gray in your photograph. Now to get from white to medium grey, the cameras taking away two stops of light where it's under exposing by two stops to get back again from medium great white or you have to do is tell the camera not to take that light away. And you do that using exposure compensation. White is two stops lighter than medium grey, so if I set plus two exposure compensation, my swan will come out looking white. The opposite applies to subject a dark...

er than medium tongue for dark tone subject. The camera's going to try and add light to make them lighter, so I have to do the opposite. I tell the camera, not add that light and gained with exposure compensation. I'd put minus one for dark grey or minus two for black. Let's try and make sure that this black swan comes out looking black. I would set minus two exposure compensation, so the light meter will give you a meter reading for a medium tone subject. It will under expose light tones and over exposed dark tones, all you have to do is ask yourself The question is the subject I'm photographing medium tone. Was it lighter or darker than medium tongue? If his medium tone, you can use the cameras meter reading, but it is lighter or darker than you have to make an adjustment using the exposure compensation. Of course, all this assumes you know how to read tonality. That is a skill in itself.

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Ratings and Reviews

mark jacobson
 

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.

user-6402bf
 

Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman
 

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!

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