Correct Exposure Photography

With my comora and Nikkor 80-400mm zoom lens mounted on a tripod and the lens set to 300mm, I shot the first image at f/4 for 1/1000 sec. The second image was //8 for 1/250 sec., and the third was f/16 for 1/60 sec.

All three exposures are exactly the same in terms of quantitative value, but quite different in the arena of "creative" exposure. Note how at the wide open aperture of f/4, the sunflower is isolated—in effect, it's all alon< but at f/16, due to the increase in depth of field, it has quite a bit of company.

[All photos: 80-400mm zoom lens at 300mm. Above: f/4 for 1/1000 sec. Opposite, top: f/8 for 1/250 sec. Opposite, bol torn: //16 for 1/60 sec.]

Sl\ < It I \ II \ I I \l'OM III n Vs ONI (III MINI \\ i o|{ KM I ONI h)

KAKIU1ISK: Seeing llir (!i< ;iliv•-I> Comrl K\|>o>uro

One of tlx* l>os( lessons I know is \n\ revealing.

Not surprisingly* it will leail you further into tin-

world of creatively correct exposures. clioosr ¿1 stationary subject, such as a flower. or have .1 Iriend stand for a (>or( rai I. Vlso choose a n»o\ ing subject. such as a waterfall or a child on a swing. II possible photograph on an overcast day and choose compositions that crop out the sky so that it is not part of the scene*.

\\ ith your camera and lens mounted on a tripod, set the camera to manual exposure mode. Get used to

I »ring m manual mode a-* this 1 uhrrr you'll rif>vv h spending ill ol your "fpuility lirnr Nov. i -.»„jr ,ip lure wide open that will I»'- the smaller numlxr your lens, sueb as //2. ¡I2V>. //.'»..">. or //1 I )r, your In nil the fraviM* with your subject lw if the flovw-r the portrait—adjust your shutter -peril until ,1 eorrer? exposure is indicated (in the viewfinder). and shoot one frame.

Now change your aperture one -lop (for '\arnpl< from // I to //•").6), readjust your shutter *peed one >fr.|>

Two waves, different effect—all because of a change in exposure. The camera and lens were the same for both images, but for the image at right I chose a shutter speed of 1/500 sec. to freeze the action of the wave. In doing so, I knew I'd end up with a large lens opening, nomely because I was using ISO 50. Sure enough, as I adjusted my aperture while taking a meter reading off the distant horizon and blue sky, I got //4 as a correct exposure. I

then recomposed and took the shot.

For the image above, I wanted the angry surf to have a softer and more surreal quality. So, I set the aperture to f/32, knowing that this would force me to use a much slower shutter speed (1/8 sec.) since the aperture opening had been reduced considerably.

Both photos: 80-200mm ens at 200mm. Right: f/4 for 1/500 sec. Above: f/32 for 1/8 sec.]


i.» maintain » « nnn i ex|to4uic, .lint <.|imm| mir (tarn* I In n • hange the aprilutr hum f)'\ (i to //H ¡nul so on, i i. I\ linn n mrmbcung to « hange ihr shullrr sprrd in onli i I»» k»M p llie r\|Ki9liir « mire I. I m rarlt exposure. wwlc down tin* aprrtmr ami shultei sprrd used. jVpetidim: on \oiii leils. mmi will haw no less (hail si\

diflrient apnlure shuttri sprrd combina!ions, ami rn though rarh ami even exposure is exactly the - une ni Irruís «>l ils <|uantilati\c value. \ou should eer-tainh notice a ihlleirncr m the overall definition and sharpness <»l the image! \ once lone (lower is real!) onl\ "alone" in a few frames; it gets lost in a sea of harkgnmnd when you u^r apedures of/7I6 and J/22.

IS er ihr iriKij'íu on page* 2\\ and 2f> ) A portrait pi' up some distinetmg element« m fhe I» if kgroiind, t'*). when you use those bigger /-stop numbers,

\nd what abonl that waterfall shot, for rxampfe.' Thai blurred cotton candy effect doesn't appear until you use apertures of fl 16 or /722. \nd isn't that motion-filled photograph of your child on ;i swing really something? It's funny how ;il the faster shutter speeds, motion is "frozen": bul at the slower shutter speed-«, figures in motion look ghostlike. f/K>k <it your note* arid decide which combination of apedure and shutter speed resulted in llir- most creatively correct exposure for vou.


Semi Creative Exposure Options

Sin IT exeiv picture-taking op|M>rtilinh nllcm^ lot no lev* than mx |tohmihlr aperture ami «dull-tcr *peed combination*, how do von determine whirl) combination i- the Voii mint decide. firs! anil foremost. il you want to sim-plv make .in ex|>oMue or il von want to make .1 < lealiic e\|ioMitv. Vs just siw. miii ran make main different e\|H»>nn*> of a given Mdie. hut otilv one or max he two an- the creative e\|>oMirrs.

You can break down the three eom|>onents o( cx|m>-Min.—Him shutter s|ieed. and aperture—to gel

>e\en ditierent t>pes «»f ex|»o-ure>. and since, of the-e com[xinents. it*> either the aperture or the -butter -peed that's most often behind the Miccess of a creative exposure. I'll start there: Small a|>erture> ifll6.fl22. and./732> are the creative force l>ehind what I call storytelling e\|M)sures [option 1]—images that show great depth of field (see pages 36—17 for a thorough discussion of depth of field). Large apertures 1/72.8.^74. and JJ5.6) are the creative force behind what I call singular-theme or isolation e\|>o>ure> [option 2]—images that show shallow depth of field. The middle-of-the-road a[>ertures |/78 and ;7111 are what 1 call "If ho cares?'' exposures [option 3}— those in which depth of field is of no concern. Aperture i.- also the element in close-up. or macro, photographv that showcases specular highlights, those out-of-focus circular or hexagonal shapes [option I ].

Fast shutter speeds (1/250 sec.. 1/500 sec., and

1 "1000 sec.) are the creative force behind exf>osures that freeze action [option 5). while slow shutter speeds 11/60 sec.. 1/30 set-., and 1/15 sec.) are the creative force Miind panning [option 6J. The superslov> shutter speeds (1/4 sec.. 1/2 sec., and 1 second) are the creative force behind exposures that imply motion [option 7). These factors make up a total of seven creative exposure tools to call upon w hen reaching for your goal of achieving the one most creative exposure. The next two chapters take a closer look at aperture and shutter speed, respectivelv. as the> pertain to all seven of these situations.

j hhimm, fxi'om kk


loncing quickly at these seven images of my father, it may not register that each is a bit different from the previous one. But note the difference in the background, which becomes gradually more defined in each one—eventually creating a striking difference between the first image and the last one.

Each of these images is the same in "quantitative value," but each one is different in terms of its overall depth of field. The type of background you want—out of focus or clearly defined— v/ill ultimately determine which of these seven images is the "correct'' one for you.

[All photos: 35-70mm lens at 35mm. First row, left to right: f/2.8 for 1/1000 sec., f/4 for 1/500 sec., f/5.6 for 1/250 sec. Second row, left to right: f/8 for 1/125 sec., f/1 1 for 1/60 sec., f/16 for 1/30 sec. Left: //22 for 1/15 sec.]

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