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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 19 Jan 2018 (Friday) 09:33
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Snow, flash and Sekonic meter... have some questions before session

 
digitalduck
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Jan 19, 2018 09:33 |  #1

Good morning all. I had a question regarding an upcoming senior session. We finally have some good snow and she specifically wanted the session outdoors. I know I could just use my exp comp about +2 depending on environment, but I want to use my Xplor extension head and my 32x32 softbox…

I know I have a couple options…. Figure out my ambient with exp comp and then just add some fill with the Xplor OR should I just use my Sekonic hand held to get the proper exposure and then add fill anyway…

(IF) I like using the meter, would that be the best route anyway?




  
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RDKirk
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Jan 19, 2018 09:43 |  #2

digitalduck wrote in post #18544371 (external link)
Good morning all. I had a question regarding an upcoming senior session. We finally have some good snow and she specifically wanted the session outdoors. I know I could just use my exp comp about +2 depending on environment, but I want to use my Xplor extension head and my 32x32 softbox…

I know I have a couple options…. Figure out my ambient with exp comp and then just add some fill with the Xplor OR should I just use my Sekonic hand held to get the proper exposure and then add fill anyway…

(IF) I like using the meter, would that be the best route anyway?

First, get out and test your processes before the session. You have a digital camera that gives you immediate results--just get out and do it.

I always prefer to determine my ambient exposure with an incident reading from my handheld meter--I know from experience how to adjust from that to get various levels of underexposure from typical outdoor scenes.

If I have to take a reflected reading from my camera, I'll measure the dominant tone that I most need to control, such as the sky, and set that according to taste.




  
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Cham_001
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Jan 19, 2018 09:45 |  #3

digitalduck wrote in post #18544371 (external link)
Good morning all. I had a question regarding an upcoming senior session. We finally have some good snow and she specifically wanted the session outdoors. I know I could just use my exp comp about +2 depending on environment, but I want to use my Xplor extension head and my 32x32 softbox…

I know I have a couple options…. Figure out my ambient with exp comp and then just add some fill with the Xplor OR should I just use my Sekonic hand held to get the proper exposure and then add fill anyway…

(IF) I like using the meter, would that be the best route anyway?

The Sekonic meters (as well as so many other brands) will give you pin-point accuracy on actual Incident light.
Depending upon the model of meter being used, you can then take additional meter readings separately for highlights/shadow areas.
The meter (depending upon the model that you have) will calculate an average for you.
My preference: I always rely on my Meter reading from my Sekonic in the very first instance. (the cameras that I use/have used are already calibrated to my Sekonic).
It just saves so much time and 'heart-ache' trying to second-guess! - ok we're all digital and an extra shot costs 'nothing'.

I hope this helps.... others will of course recommend work-arounds to using a light-meter.


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digitalduck
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Jan 19, 2018 09:58 as a reply to  @ Cham_001's post |  #4

RDKirk, excellent points!

Cham_001, I am using the Sekonic L358, I "think" i remember using the average mode before....




  
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Wilt
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Post edited 6 months ago by Wilt. (4 edits in all)
     
Jan 19, 2018 10:02 |  #5

I am a meter advocate. The tricky part outdoors is finding out precisely how much/little fill is being contributed by the flash alone into the shadows, relative to the ambient light intensity, as that determines the overall subject contrast (low, mid, high) when the shadowed areas are small (eye sockets, under chin). Digital makes that easy compared to film...CHIMP.

In any event, the incident hemisphere will suggest to you the exposure to render 18% gray MIDTONE AT ITS INHERENT BRIGHTNESS, whether or not you choose to supplement ambient with artifical light...you do not have to used a 'guestimation' of EC when using incident metering, whereas "my exp comp about +2" with a reflected light reading is a WAG mostly.

The averaging feature of handheld meters is primarily of interest when taking multiple spot readings. Then you can declare which reading is a 'highlight' vs. which one is a 'shadow' so it can compute the midpoint between the two extremes which you might use for the exposure value.


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Jan 25, 2018 13:35 |  #6

I shoot ski and snowboard photography. Here’s what I’ll suggest...

First off, when I hear you say words like, “measure ambient using +2 EC”, it insinuates you’re shooting in a mode other than Manual. Shooting in snow, you had best get comfortable shooting in Manual and learn to read your histogram (OR, a trick I like - turn on highlight alerts, AKA blinkies, and keep increasing exposure until you blow highlights. Then back off, to taste. I always shoot with the blinkies on!). Some may disagree, but for me personally, I’ve owned a light meter and didn’t enjoy using it. Get your exposure right in Manual mode, THEN add flash and control power manually as well. Again, to taste. :)

Just my 2 cents.


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DaviSto
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Jan 25, 2018 14:01 |  #7

Cham_001 wrote in post #18544378 (external link)
The Sekonic meters (as well as so many other brands) will give you pin-point accuracy on actual Incident light.
Depending upon the model of meter being used, you can then take additional meter readings separately for highlights/shadow areas.
The meter (depending upon the model that you have) will calculate an average for you.
My preference: I always rely on my Meter reading from my Sekonic in the very first instance. (the cameras that I use/have used are already calibrated to my Sekonic).
It just saves so much time and 'heart-ache' trying to second-guess! - ok we're all digital and an extra shot costs 'nothing'.

I hope this helps.... others will of course recommend work-arounds to using a light-meter.

I agree with you that using a light meter is usually quickest/simplest/easi​est and most reliable. But a whole lot of people seem to feel a light meter slows them down and over-complicates things.


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RDKirk
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Jan 25, 2018 14:49 |  #8

One additional thing a light meter does, besides getting the use to a correct exposure, is that it gives a broader view of the process of getting to that correct exposure and even a view of the options around that correct exposure.

It's like the difference between getting to a destination solely by GPS voice instructions compared to being able to study the map along the way, seeing what the entire route looks like and seeing what was along the route as you traveled to that destination.




  
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DaviSto
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Jan 25, 2018 15:32 |  #9

RDKirk wrote in post #18548802 (external link)
One additional thing a light meter does, besides getting the use to a correct exposure, is that it gives a broader view of the process of getting to that correct exposure and even a view of the options around that correct exposure.

It's like the difference between getting to a destination solely by GPS voice instructions compared to being able to study the map along the way, seeing what the entire route looks like and seeing what was along the route as you traveled to that destination.

I agree. It concentrates your mind on the exposure decision.


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Jan 25, 2018 15:53 |  #10

So you want to take a picture of a person with the snow as the background right? If so, how dim or bright do you want the background/snow to be? Let's say you want it to be about 2 stops darker than the highlights on your subject. Take a picture of the snow until it's clipping, note the camera settings, then reduce them by two or three stops. If you want the snow to appear bright, lower the settings by about one stop.

Next, place your subject in the scene and add your flash and take your picture. Adjust power to taste. Voila!




  
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RDKirk
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Jan 25, 2018 21:53 |  #11

frugivore wrote in post #18548841 (external link)
So you want to take a picture of a person with the snow as the background right? If so, how dim or bright do you want the background/snow to be? Let's say you want it to be about 2 stops darker than the highlights on your subject. Take a picture of the snow until it's clipping, note the camera settings, then reduce them by two or three stops. If you want the snow to appear bright, lower the settings by about one stop.

Next, place your subject in the scene and add your flash and take your picture. Adjust power to taste. Voila!

Or take a spot reading of the snow and set the exposure to place it on Zone 6. Done.




  
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Wilt
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Post edited 6 months ago by Wilt. (4 edits in all)
     
Jan 26, 2018 01:38 |  #12

RDKirk wrote in post #18549051 (external link)
Or take a spot reading of the snow and set the exposure to place it on Zone 6. Done.


^
And if you take Zone 6 brightness skin and expose it via flash at its inherent brightness (zone 6 tonality), and then you Zone 9 snow in the background and expose it via -3EV ambient underexposure (shutter and aperture and ISO) to zone 6 tonality, your subject will effectively disappear into the background!

https://i0.wp.com …pg?resize=925%2​C409&ssl=1 (external link)

Any reflected light meter which sees only snow, will suggest a reading which inherently exposes it to Zone 5 tonality, so I you need to do is set ambient reading to give +1EV more exposure, to place snow in the shot with Zone 6 tonality! Nothing complex to understand to do so, at all.


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Jan 26, 2018 10:05 |  #13

Zone X is white with detail. That's snow in the sun.
Northern European skin, specially in winter, is about Zone 6.

One has to remember the meters, whether hand held incident or in camera reflective, are measuring devices that have to be interpreted by the photographer.

The nice think about digital photography is that we have an instant digital polaroid that we can use to make fine tune adjustments.

As a young commercial photographer shooting film, I went through cartons of polaroid film every month to fine tune lighting and exposure.
One of the best tools in my kit was a polaroid back for Hasselblad, it let me confirm exposure, even on location as well as how reflectors, fill lights etc. were helping with the lighting.

Lots of suggestions here. All will work. It depends on how a photographer wants to approach his craft.

Personally, I use Av and blinkies. Since I am now shooting with an EVF, I have immediate feedback, and can even set the camera up so I get exposure rendered EVF image before shooting. Makes adjusting exposure a snap.

Same technique can be used with DSLR in Live View.


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RDKirk
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Jan 26, 2018 19:43 as a reply to  @ dmward's post |  #14

I love Live View. It brought my groundglass back, better than ever.




  
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Wilt
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Post edited 6 months ago by Wilt. (10 edits in all)
     
Jan 27, 2018 00:18 |  #15

dmward wrote in post #18549348 (external link)
Zone X is white with detail. That's snow in the sun.
Northern European skin, specially in winter, is about Zone 6.

David, I had to first consult my copy of Exposure by Adams to be certain about this:
He points out that Zone 0 is Black and Zone X is White, and that the Dynamic Range falls between, in Zone I - IX. And he states that detail may be lost in Zone IX or X.

Now, that classic explanation seems to fly in the face of statements by DxOMark that the Sony A6500 has 13.7EV of dynamic range of exposure, and the A7RII has 13.9EV of dynamic range of exposure! But one might explain that there are conceptually only Zones 0-X of tonality on a print, and no matter how the camera captures EV of dynamic range, whether it is across 10EV or across 14EV of exposure range, it still all must nevertheless fit those EV between tonal ranges, Zones 0 (Black) thru Zone X (White) on print, so there need not be an apparent conflict between eleven tonal Zones and 14EV of dynamic range of exposure.


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Snow, flash and Sekonic meter... have some questions before session
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