Spot metering... god I need help!!!

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NeilOffkey75
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Spot metering... god I need help!!!

Unread postby NeilOffkey75 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 3:29 pm

Ok so been doing photography for just over 2 years and REALLY starting to get into it. Therefore I started reading alot about getting the correct exposure, to which spot metering came up. now I tried a few test shots with the wife and daughter and they seemed to come out really well. So I then started to think about using this mode all the time..... BUT.... there is something I just cannot seem to find the answer for or get my head round. Basically I will give a situation.....

Sunset, with clouds, sun casting a purple/pink colour to the clouds and also some clear but greyish sky. I attempt to meter on the grey area of the sky and within manual set to an aperture of say F8 this shows up on the meter as over exposed slightly. NOW do I then leave it as this and recompose and take the shot? or do I set it back to 0 on the meter and recompose and take the shot?

For the life of me I cannot seem to find a reasonably good explanation online except for what each metering mode does, not a practical tutorial.
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David Kilpatrick
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Re: Spot metering... god I need help!!!

Unread postby David Kilpatrick » Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:35 pm

Spot metering doesn't really work all that well with sunsets. It can be best simply to shoot straigjht, average metering, and maybe bracket a stop either way. Your eye can not judge the huge range of contrast present in a sunset, so you may pick the wrong area to meter (in fact, you probably will do so every time).

David

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UrsaMajor
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Re: Spot metering... god I need help!!!

Unread postby UrsaMajor » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:07 pm

Back in the days when film was the only option, a friend suggested a technique that seemed to work fairly well for me - although that might have been helped by the exposure latitude available with negative color film.

That technique was to avoid attempting to meter the sunset itself, but instead to just take a reading from a clear section of the sky in the north. Use the resulting values for the exposure settings for one shot, and take a second shot with one stop less exposure if desired for insurance.

Now that I am shooting almost everything with digital, I take the lazy man's approach of just making sure that I am not spot-metering the sun when the composition is what I want, and then using my preset 5-shot bracket for the exposure.

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NeilOffkey75
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Re: Spot metering... god I need help!!!

Unread postby NeilOffkey75 » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:21 am

Thanks for the replies, my situation was just an example.

Basically all I am trying to grasp is this, when say taking a meter reading (spot) of a wall, and the meter states it is slightly over, do I bring it back to 0 recompose and take the shot or lock it in at what the spot originally said recompose and take the shot.
Sony A200 - Minolta AF 75-300mm - Sony 50mm DT f1.8/50 SAM - Sigma 24-70/2.8 EX DG Macro

cosmonaut1959
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Re: Spot metering... god I need help!!!

Unread postby cosmonaut1959 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:28 am

To shoot landscapes right you really need a ND grad system like Cokin and some processing software. DSLRs really lack in DR compared to film. But in my film days I still used a grad filter. I use a Cokin two stop grad and shoot to protect the highlights and then bring up the darks in post. You can't fix a blown highlight but you can darks. I would start with Lightroom 3 since it has NG Grads you can add in post. But you will still need a filter. That or HDRs . I am a firm belevier in getting as much right in the field as you can. This is a two shot pano with a two stop grad.
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Javelin
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Re: Spot metering... god I need help!!!

Unread postby Javelin » Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:30 pm

I a scene where there is a huge diference between the brightest bright and the darkest dark spot meter will give you a wide variation of exposure. Just keep in mind that whatever part of the scene you put the spot meter on is going to make the camera try to adjust it to be middle grey in brightness (at 0 ev on your scale) in scenes like you describe the middle grey spot might make the bright areas over expose and the dark areas underexpose. So you can spot meter a dark spot and use exposure comp to make it a little brighter to try and get something in between that exposes the spot you want correctly for example. The opposite of this is matrix metering where it tries to make the whole scene middle grey by averaging all the areas in the scene


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