Saturday, March 1, 2014

Can You See the Light?

I can.
Okay, not really.
I mean I can see the light but the question is can I see the light the way the camera sees the light?
Okay, not always.
So I got me this:

Newfangled light meter to help me see the light since some of my cameras including the Nikon S2
are not metered.
Which means I spend a lot of time aiming that thingy around trying to figure out how to set the camera.
Most of the time I show you folks the good pictures, not the bad:

Or the under exposed.
Which I get a lot of.
Under exposed pictures I mean.
Especially now since I'm fooling with some new slower film.
Back on the ole trusty 400 speed film I'm sort of okay as I've learned the numbers better:

With 400 speed film, I'm usually within a stop or so which isn't too bad.
Still there's always the chance of over exposing:

Which I do a lot of too.
Though not as much as under exposing.
What helps keep everything in some sort of order is shooting at the same f/stop, in this case f1.4, which all the cameras I use at night can do.
Well okay, one is actually f1.6 and the other is f1.2.
You get the idea.
Anyways, all bets are off once I change up the aperture, which I do when taking long exposures:

To get shots like this:

Then I get all messed up!
So what I do is use the light meter, along with that digital camera there, and check both to see what they're telling me and try to find a happy medium.
It's a slow process and there's still some estimating.
Also it helps to bracket the shots so you got one in the middle, one over exposed and one under.
That way chances are you're going to get one just right.
Gee, sort of like Goldilocks and the porridge thing.
Still, with the meter and digital camera, there's some intuitive guessing going on since I like to shoot my night shots a little under exposed.
I suppose that's what I like about this whole film thing, the challenge of nailing the light just right.
I don't have to remind you that it's All About the Light Baby (AATLB!)!
Lemme tell you, seeing the light ain't easy!
I'm also blowing through a lot of film.
More on that later.


Steve A said...

Perhaps it is time for a tutorial on light meters. There are. 2000+ for sale on eBay ranging from $10 to $1000.

limom said...

Your guess is as good as mine!
I know very little about them and I know I'm just touching the surface as far as how to use one.
Are you thinking of shooting film Steve?

Steve A said...

Yes, and one of the cameras I'd use has no internal metering. The other is at