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Thread: A lion on Eastbourne pier

  1. #1

    A lion on Eastbourne pier

    A final one from WPPD.

    Got the light meter reading wrong here.

    I was actually only about 2 or 3ft from the lamppost. It is quite a dark blue - so tonally dark and probably not the thing to take a reading from. (I don't have an ambient capability on my meter. It was cheap!) It was reading about 11 1/2 which at f16 for 100speed film is somewhere between 8 and 15 which the handy dandy little dial on the zero says is somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds. I think I gave it 20 seconds.

    I have read somewhere about having a bit of grey card to take a reading from. This is probably what I should have done, no? Any lightmeter tips?

    Attached files

  2. #2

    A lion on Eastbourne pier

    ah, the sunshine coast of the UK !!!

    I wouldn't bother with a grey card... it'd work but it'd be a pain to cart around.
    Better to find average looking areas to aim your meter at and get close enough to them that you're actually metering the area you want without having the measurement contaminated by brighter or darker areas.

    In some cases you can guess better than the meter will measure... are you familiar with the "sunny f/16" rule?

    but if you're using modern films they're pretty forgiving for exposure error and you'll get a printable/scannable neg even if you're out a couple of stops

  3. #3

    A lion on Eastbourne pier

    Exposure and metering can be a series of compromises. Expose for the low values and sometimes the high values block up (print as pure white); expose for the high values and sometimes the low values are very thin (print as pure black). Experience teaches you when or if to compromise and how much. Then you let your darkroom skills, be they analog or digital, make the masterpiece.

    Exposure aside I like the composition of this one. The fence leading in from the left; the buildings intersecting from the right; the strong, interesting verticle line in the center. And don't forget the wedge of board walk.

    If you were going to err in exposure I think in this case over exposure was the better error.

  4. #4

    A lion on Eastbourne pier

    Assuming you're of caucasian race, meter from your palm, then open up one stop. All done. No gray card to carry around, no incident dome to forget to put on or take off the meter. You do need to hold your palm vertical, as if it were the scene you're photographing, so it gets the correct light and aspect angle, but that's easy enough, and you'd need to do that with a gray card anyway.

    Personally, if I can get close enough, I like to meter the shadows and then close down an appropriate number of stops (usually two or three), but with my Sixtomat I have to get pretty close (about a 60 degree acceptance angle) to be sure I won't underexpose with this method. Metering with the incident cover or off my hand is a lot easier in some cases.

    BTW, I agree with Marv -- most negative films can take a couple stops of overexposure without breaking a sweat, but they don't like underexposure much at all...

  5. #5

    A lion on Eastbourne pier

    Grey cards can be dispensed with as ImageMaker suggests: green grass, red brick walls, a clear blue north sky, all will work. Sunny 16 is also helpful but on the Sunshine Coast, as here in the Emerald Kingdom, sunshine can be hard to find. Working what degree of cloudy/overcast becomes the challenge of the moment.

    I think your exposure is fine. Not sure what you would have gained (some cloud texture/details?) but at the expense of the metalwork, the decking, and the beach/sea.

  6. #6

    A lion on Eastbourne pier

    Eastbourne Pier has been very good to you! Nice shots.
    Any lightmeter tips?
    I use a cheap, and old light meter, and i reckon you cant rely on anything fully except the results you get. Compare your notes with the results, and work it out from there.

    (i'll be taking everyones advice re: exposure too, Thanks!!)

  7. #7

    A lion on Eastbourne pier

    Nice composition! I like images with a lot of depth in them.

    The exposure looks pretty good to me; less exposure would mean loss of shadow detail. If you used conventional B&W film, a bit shorter development time would probably be good - you might have got some more details in the highlights (sky).

  8. #8

    A lion on Eastbourne pier

    I used David Balihar's program to print out tables of exposure times. I taped them into a small notebook and use them in conjunction with a basic handheld light meter. It's available at (a very useful website) - the program is free and downloadable and includes reciprocity failure for the most common films. I have better luck with this then the little dial on the back of my Zero (which doesn't account for differences between films).

    It never hurts to bracket (take several shots of the same scene with different exposure times) - especially when you're learning a new camera, or if you're just not sure what to do. Then you'll have several negatives to choose from. It's tru that once you're in the ballpark, modern films are very forgiving. as you'll see when you compare across exposures.

  9. #9

    A lion on Eastbourne pier


    im with knut. its a nice moody photograph and what you lost in the highlights you gained in the shadows.


    ps. we had better weather in cambridge on WPPD but i think sunshine is overrated anyway especially for pinhole photography!

  10. #10

    A lion on Eastbourne pier

    Thank you all so much for your comments and for taking the time to share your knowledge about exposure times. I will print this thread out so I can study it.

    I appreciate you kind comments about the photo. I feel that the darks could have been a bit darker to give the image more punch. I also would have liked a bit more detail in the sky - not that there was probably that much to be had given the overcast nature of the day.

    Andrew and Paul, I have heard of sunny f/16. I stumbled across it on wikipedia the other day. I am not sure how to apply it to pinhole though?

    Marv and knut, I have to confess that I don't have any darkroom skills. I have been trying to find a course but without much success so far. I think it is the wrong time of year. I am, however, playing about with cyanotypes - so you might see some blue versions of my pics.

    Imagemaker, meter my palm! Great idea! I usually carry a couple of those about with me! What does 'close down an appropriate number of stops' mean?

    jml, I am writing everything down. It takes ages to get a picture taken! LOL

    stormy, thanks for the link. I'll check it out. I have heard of reciprocity failure but I'm not sure what it means.

    constantine, glad you had a better day for WPPD.

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