Working with Challenging Exposures

One thing lots of photographers forget (including me) is that the camera wants to “fix” exposures to what it thinks is best. So if you’re exposing for a black horse, you want it at the same level of darkness as it is in life. But the camera thinks that’s too dark and will brighten it to gray. The same with exposing for a white wedding dress; the camera wants it to be grey.
And as Bear Woods points out, you often need to adjust with exposure compensation. Of course you don’t want to blow out the blacks or whites either. So with extreme blacks or whites, I tend to tweak things and maybe pull up the histogram.

Bear Woods Happenings

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Working with Challenging Exposures.
 
If you were faced with this exposure, a black horse in snow, could you get the exposure right in one shot? I tell my students to concentrate on composition but understand your camera. In a situation like this, shooting in a matrix or multi-segment metering will give you fits. Back in my early days I was lucky enough to have learned the technical side of photography from John Shaw. There are none better at understanding exposure for nature images than John. We used to do exercises in the field where he would constantly ask me as he pointed at an object, “what’s the exposure?” At times it would be frustrating but it taught me how to properly calculate exposure. Today in digital, we aren’t often faced with a situation where we have to flip over to spot metering and manual exposure. I’m not saying it…

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