Measuring Exposure – Pt1

For the first part of this exercise, I needed to produce between 4 and 6 images which have been deliberately made lighter or darker than average.


1 stop under exposure – The aim of the under exposure, was to highlight the shape of tree by silhouetting it against the background. As a predominant amount of the image is black, the cameras metering system was determining that the exposure should be increased to get some detail which I wanted to avoid.


2 stop over exposure – This image is a reverse of the one above. The majority of the image is bright sunlight so the cameras meter is trying to reduce the exposure. However, I wanted to focus on detail in the bird and the branch it was set on.


2 stop under exposure – This image again has a reasonable amount of contrast and I wanted to focus to be on the light coming through the trees which is a relatively small part of the image.


3 stop under exposure – This image takes the concept above even further. I wanted to focus on the highlighted parts of the branch, however, this is a very small proportion of the image requiring the 3 stop override to be specified to the camera.


1.5 stop under exposure – This image is has areas that are highly contrasting – in bottom corners are getting very little light, whereas the sky at the top is very bright. To get the image I wanted, required some experimentation to find the right exposure.

Final Thoughts

Focusing on exposure was a very interesting task and shows that the cameras metering system can not read the mind of the photographer to determine what they want to achieve. Although, these metering systems are now very sophisticated, they’re still trying to achieve quite a rudimentary goal of middle, or 18%, grey. It also highlights a limitation of camera in that they’re not able to capture the full spectrum of visible light in a single image. A photographer will have to work with this limitation, especially in scenes with high level of contrast, and make a choice on which end of the light spectrum they’re willing to loose detail in.


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