Saturday, January 8, 2011

Light Metering Modes- A Lesson for Me

We're having our bathroom remodeled which is a perfect opportunity for me to play with challenging lighting conditions.  Last night I took several shots with various white balance settings (now that I know what that means) and with various shutter speeds.  This morning I went in to take more shots thinking that with the sunlight coming in it would be easier to get great shots. But, the sun streaming through our new glass block window presented another challenge. 

I have pretty much left my camera in automatic mode with all of my point and shoots- only changing to their preset modes like portrait or food (yes, my camera has a food mode for snapping pictures of your dinner in a restaurant).  But, this is a shot I could have never gotten with an automatic mode or known how to get a couple of weeks ago. The normal white balance mode "evaluative metering" takes into account the light from the whole frame and was underexposing my photo trying to tone down the window.  Armed with my knowledge from my manual and the book I just read about my camera, I knew I could either crank up the exposure or try the spot metering mode and focus on the wall knowing the window would be "overexposed".  Here are a few of the shots I took.

Normal white balance and normal metering mode.  Note that while you can see detail in the window, the wall looks pretty dark and underexposed. 

This one is a little better. I think I had changed the white balance mode on this one.

On this one I had set the light metering to "spot" mode in which it only meters the spot I choose to tell it to meter.  But, as you can see I missed the wall and metered the window. The camera did exactly as it was told. You can see all of the detail in the glass block. But, the rest of the frame is black.  A "mistake" photo that I would normally throw away.  But, it's amazing that this is the exact same light as in all the other pictures.

And, I finally got it.  Spot metering turned on and I took a light reading from the wall just to the right of the window, then recomposed the shot.  The window looks washed out.  But, the color of the tile is true.
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