Spot Metering

For ultimate control in your metering of an underwater scene, I believe that Spot is the tool to use. Spot metering places 95% of its emphasis within the small 2 mm circle in the centre of the digital viewfinder. The underwater photographer does, however, need to be confident about exposure and how Spot metering works. The most vital element of using spot is having the time during a photo-dive to use it. Time is crucial to employ this technique. If I find myself rushing my photo-dive for whatever reason, perhaps having to follow the dive guide or tailing fast action such as schooling fish, I would be inclined to set Centre-weighted every time and just shoot, shoot, shoot. If I have time, I would select Spot metering and consider the light and dark areas of the frame, the colour of blue water both at the bottom and also in the middle of the frame, and what kind of exposure I am trying to achieve. The advantage of Spot is that we can take a reflected light measurement from a very small portion of the scene (normally between 1% and 5%) and base the entire exposure on that reading. The beauty of Spot metering is that it's not influenced by anything else in the scene, just that single spot of reflected light. So why would an underwater photographer want to do this and not meter for the entire scene? The reason is control. It allows you to have complete control over the exposure. You are telling the camera what to meter, rather than getting the camera's choice of exposure from an array of different zones, many of which are either too bright or too dark to make any sense at all.

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