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Pea-n-Me
04-22-2011, 08:56 AM
I hope I can explain this correctly and someone knows what I'm talking about. :)

I've noticed here that people who learned photography very early on and in its most basic form seem to know things that those of us (or some of us, anyway, lol) who studied it on our own later in life take longer to learn or don't quite get, etc.

An example being the mathematical relationships between settings for shutter speed and aperture, metering and such. I imagine this would have been something learned in high school class relatively simply.

Can anyone either explain this to me or direct me to a site or book that explains this simply and perhaps I could print to reference? It's not something I've ever seemed to grasp and would like to be able to know them off the top of my head like some of you do.

Thank you in advance. Don't be afraid to post whatever you think I'm looking for, I'm sure there are others who want to learn this as well.

GrillMouster
04-22-2011, 12:29 PM
I suggest you read either "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson or "The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography" by Jim Miotke. Rather than just reading through the books, stop after each lesson and actually practice what you learned with your own camera until you firmly understand it. Then move on to the next objective, practice some more, etc.

Pea-n-Me
04-22-2011, 12:47 PM
I suggest you read either "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson or "The BetterPhoto Guide to Digital Photography" by Jim Miotke. Rather than just reading through the books, stop after each lesson and actually practice what you learned with your own camera until you firmly understand it. Then move on to the next objective, practice some more, etc.
Have read UE twice and actually a whole library of photography books. :thumbsup2 I still haven't found exactly what I'm looking for, and I don't know how to explain it other than I read posts here referring to it - and those posts are always by people who've been shooting for many years going way back to high school.

Hopefully someone will know what I'm talking about! (Thanks GM!)

mom2rtk
04-22-2011, 12:52 PM
Don't you just wish we could go back and take high school photography class so we can have all that "inside information"?? :lmao:

I'm watching, hoping to pick up some info too! :thumbsup2

FWIW....... the flash book I've been reading went over the rule of sunny 16. I think I need to read it a dozen more times so it sinks in........... Is that the sort of thing you're looking for?

GrillMouster
04-22-2011, 01:02 PM
I'd like to help, Pea-n-Me, but what you're asking is really vague. I don't want to write a million-word essay and have it not be what you were looking for. Can you explain, specifically, what you're having trouble grasping? Maybe post a link to one of those threads you referenced.

JoeDif
04-22-2011, 01:27 PM
Are you looking for things like the Inverse Square Law?

For photographers, this applies to flash / studio lighting. Put simply ( if any type of physics can ever be put simply :rotfl:):

An object that is twice the distance from a source of light will receive a quarter of the illumination. So what it means to us photographers is that if you move your subject from 3 feet away to six feet away, you will need four times the amount of light for the same exposure

3 feet at 1/4 flash power will give the same exposure of 6 feet at 1/1 or full power given the aperture, shutter speed & ISO remain constant.

Pea-n-Me
04-22-2011, 01:32 PM
I'd like to help, Pea-n-Me, but what you're asking is really vague. I don't want to write a million-word essay and have it not be what you were looking for.
I know. I wish I could explain it better (and if you know me, I'm rarely stuck for words :rolleyes1 ) but if I could, I could probably look it up somewhere.

Did you take photography in HS? Do you by any chance remember what types of things you learned there and what your tests were on, etc?

Can you explain, specifically, what you're having trouble grasping?
I am not good at picking a shutter speed. I can do it by trial and error, but I don't know how to set it from the top of my head given other exposure circumstances - if that helps. (I did read Understanding Shutter Speed but I think I'm ready for a review of that, too!)

Maybe post a link to one of those threads you referenced.
I will look around. I've seen photo chick mention it before, and Kyle (Handicap). I think Kevin (ukcatfan) the other day and others that I can't think of right now.

Sorry so vague!!

dday2022
04-22-2011, 01:36 PM
I have to use analogy's to remember things, exposure, f/ stop and shutter speed I remember as filling a bucket. You want to get the bucket exactly full, not full enough and the photo is to dark, overflow it, the photo is blown out. So you are aiming to fill the bucket, the f/stop is how fast the water is coming out of the faucet and the shutter speed is how long you have the faucet on.

So shooting a "fast" f/stop say f/1.8 you need to have a fast shutter speed, shooting a slow f/stop say f/5.6 you need a longer shutter speed. <edit> if you go up with one you have to go down with the other, and vice versa. </edit>

Now as with all things there are times when that doesn't apply, I might want to overexpose or underexpose to highlight something or set the mood. I might want to use a faster f/stop to blur the background, or a slower f/stop to get more of the background/foreground in focus. But I think that's a different post. The best thing to do is get out with your camera and experiment, after all photons and electrons are mostly free.

Pea-n-Me
04-22-2011, 01:47 PM
I have to use analogy's to remember things, exposure, f/ stop and shutter speed I remember as filling a bucket. You want to get the bucket exactly full, not full enough and the photo is to dark, overflow it, the photo is blown out. So you are aiming to fill the bucket, the f/stop is how fast the water is coming out of the faucet and the shutter speed is how long you have the faucet on.

So shooting a "fast" f/stop say f/1.8 you need to have a fast shutter speed, shooting a slow f/stop say f/5.6 you need a longer shutter speed. <edit> if you go up with one you have to go down with the other, and vice versa. </edit>

Now as with all things there are times when that doesn't apply, I might want to overexpose or underexpose to highlight something or set the mood. I might want to use a faster f/stop to blur the background, or a slower f/stop to get more of the background/foreground in focus. But I think that's a different post. The best thing to do is get out with your camera and experiment, after all photons and electrons are mostly free.
That I've got.

Pea-n-Me
04-22-2011, 01:48 PM
Currently looking at HS photography lesson plans to see if I can find anything there.

dday2022
04-22-2011, 02:15 PM
That I've got.

Hmm, I'm kind of confused as to what you are asking then. If you are asking how people can look at a scene and say "f/4 at 1/30th of a second at ISO 200" I'd like to know that, I imagine it comes with experience. For me I have to use the in camera meter to find my first exposure and experiment after that.

Remembering back to my HS photography class almost 30 yrs ago, It mostly a little lecture, go take photos, develop film and prints, then get feed back on the project. Of course this was long before digital, and I still remember dodging and burning in the darkroom.

Pea-n-Me
04-22-2011, 02:24 PM
Hmm, I'm kind of confused as to what you are asking then. If you are asking how people can look at a scene and say "f/4 at 1/30th of a second at ISO 200" I'd like to know that, I imagine it comes with experience. For me I have to use the in camera meter to find my first exposure and experiment after that.
Actually, you may be on to something. That's much more specific (which I think is what I'm looking for) than what you wrote before (that I already understand). I think my problem is that I've learned my way and am going on instinct rather than any specific formulas or whatever. I'd like to learn the formulas that I somehow missed.

Pea-n-Me
04-22-2011, 02:26 PM
Don't you just wish we could go back and take high school photography class so we can have all that "inside information"?? :lmao:

I'm watching, hoping to pick up some info too! :thumbsup2

FWIW....... the flash book I've been reading went over the rule of sunny 16. I think I need to read it a dozen more times so it sinks in........... Is that the sort of thing you're looking for?


Had to look up Sunny 16. Will need to learn about it some more.

Stay tuned!

An object that is twice the distance from a source of light will receive a quarter of the illumination. So what it means to us photographers is that if you move your subject from 3 feet away to six feet away, you will need four times the amount of light for the same exposure

3 feet at 1/4 flash power will give the same exposure of 6 feet at 1/1 or full power given the aperture, shutter speed & ISO remain constant.
I don't think that's exactly what I was looking for, but I'll take it!

dday2022
04-22-2011, 03:30 PM
I had to look up the Sunny 16 rule again to, thanks wikipedia. You also might be interested in this link http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm, I'm still digesting it, so I can't regurgitate it... sorry for the mental image.

Marlton Mom
04-22-2011, 04:40 PM
Don't you just wish we could go back and take high school photography class so we can have all that "inside information"?? :lmao:

I'm watching, hoping to pick up some info too! :thumbsup2
?

Ok so here's the scoop on h.s. photography class from 32 years ago.....

You can sneak into the darkroom and eat your lunch and hang out with your friends there, especially if you are cutting classes because the instructor never checks the darkroom.

Marlton Mom

PS. The darkroom has a really good fan so.... you can "light" up too! :smokin:

Sorry, but at this age that's the best I can "remember". ;)

JoeDif
04-22-2011, 04:48 PM
Ok so here's the scoop on h.s. photography class from 32 years ago.....

You can sneak into the darkroom and eat your lunch and hang out with your friends there, especially if you are cutting classes because the instructor never checks the darkroom.

Marlton Mom

PS. The darkroom has a really good fan so.... you can "light" up too! :smokin:

Sorry, but at this age that's the best I can "remember". ;)

:rotfl::rotfl: Did we go to the same high school?

dday2022
04-22-2011, 04:59 PM
The darkroom used for loading film canisters (blackout room) was also a great place if your girlfriend was taking photography too. :lovestruc

GrillMouster
04-22-2011, 05:05 PM
Exposure is basically how light or how dark an image is. An overexposed image is washed out because too much light reached the sensor. An underexposed images is dark because too little light reached the sensor. So, controlling exposure is all about controlling how much light reaches the sensor. The unit of measure that we use for light in exposure is the “stop”. Whenever you add one “stop” of light, you’re basically doubling the amount of light. When you take a way one “stop” of light, you’re cutting the amount of light by half. Taking away two stops of light means cutting the amount of light to just ¼ of what it was (because the first stop cut it in half, then the second stop cut it in half again…like folding a piece of paper twice give you four grids). So, a “stop” of light is not an absolute value it’s a relative amount.

Let’s use a cooking analogy:
In a bowl you have one teaspoon of sugar. When you add another teaspoon of sugar, it’s like adding a “stop”, because you have doubled the amount of sugar in the bowl. Okay, so now you have two teaspoons of sugar in the bowl. If you add another teaspoon of sugar in the bowl did you add a stop? No, you did not. Because, remember a stop is not an absolute value; It’s not always going to be one teaspoon. If there are two teaspoons of sugar in the bowl, then adding one stop would mean adding two teaspoons to the bowl. So, now you have four teaspoons of sugar in the bowl. How much sugar do you need to add in order to go up by one stop? Four teaspoons is correct. So, now you have eight teaspoons of sugar in the bowl, reducing it by one stop means taking out half, or four teaspoons. So, now you have four teaspoons left in the bowl. How much do you need to take out to reduce it by two stops? The answer is three teaspoons (the first stop means taking out two teaspoons --leaving two teaspoons in the bowl--, and the second stop means taking one teaspoon out of the bowl). I hope you’re with me so far.

There are three basic camera controls that you can use to affect exposure, or how much light reaches the sensor. Those controls are: ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. ISO is how sensitive the sensor is to light. Shutter speed is how long you allow light to hit the sensor inside the camera body. Aperture is the pupil inside the lens through which light passes and enters the camera body.

ISO, shutter speed, and aperture do more than just control exposure and how much light reaches the sensor. Those settings can also be used for creative control of things like noise, lighting ratios, depth of field, etc.. I won’t go into detail about those creative and compositional variables here.

Let’s start with one of the easiest controls to understand: ISO.
ISO differs from aperture and shutter speed in that ISO doesn’t actually affect how much light reaches the sensor. ISO actually controls how sensitive the sensor is to the light.
Examples of ISO settings are:
50.....100.....200.....400.....800.....1600.....32 00.....6400
There are more settings than those, but these are enough to get us started. As you can see in the above sequence, the numbers double as you go left to right. That doubling represents one stop. In other words, ISO setting 200 is twice as sensitive to light as ISO 100. You could also rephrase this as “ISO 100 is half as sensitive at ISO 200”. ISO 200 is four times as sensitive at ISO 50. ISO 400 is eight times as sensitive as ISO 50 (because each stop doubles the light). ISO 800 is sixteen times as sensitive as ISO 50. Got it? I say that this part is easy, setting numbers themselves tell you how many stops brighter or dimmer they are than other ISO settings.

Shutter speed controls how long the light coming through the lens is allowed to hit the sensor. Examples of shutter speed settings are:
1/250.....1/125.....1/60.....1/30.....1/15.....1/8.....¼.....½.....1.....2
In the sequence above, shutter speed gets slower (longer) as you go from left to right. As you go left to right, you add one “stop” of light at each setting. Shutter speed is similar to ISO in that the setting number doubles as the light doubles...roughly. I say “roughly” because in a few spots (between 1/125 and 1/60, and again between 1/15 and 1/8) the light does double, even though the number in the setting isn’t exactly double.

Aperture controls how big the diameter of the pupil inside the lens will be, and, thus, control how much light reaches the inside the camera. Example aperture settings are:
f/32.....f/22.....f/16.....f/11.....f/8.....f/5.6.....f/4.....f/2.8.....f/2.....f/1.4
In the sequence above the aperture gets larger as you go from left to right. Each aperture setting allows one stop of light (double) more than the setting to its left. Again, another way to phrase it is that each stop allow half the light of the setting to its right. Now, aperture confuses a lot of beginners for two reasons. The first reason for confusion is that the f-numbers in the settings get lower as the physical aperture gets larger (wider). The second reason for confusion is that, unlike ISO and shutter speed, when you double or half the light, the f-number doesn’t double or half; there doesn’t appear to be a clear pattern in how the f-stops are numbered. The reason for this is that the f-stops are actually fractions, where the numerator is the focal length and the denominator is the diameter of the pupil inside the lens. You don’t need to understand, or even remember, how or why the f-stops got their numbers. You just need to memorize them and don’t try to apply any logic or pattern to how they were numbered. Also know that all lenses set to the same f-stop allow the same amount of light into the camera.

I should also point out that the sequences above for ISO, shutter speed, and aperture only show full stops. Your camera probably allows half-stop or third-stop increments between those full stops. I don’t memorize those incremental stops; I just remember how many clicks of the dial they are from the full stops. It’s probably best to forget about the incremental stops for now until you understand exposure using the full stops.

Exposure depends on a combination if ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Exactly which settings will give “proper” exposure will depend on the scene and its lighting. A variety of setting combinations can give the same exposure. For example: a particular expose correctly at ISO 400, 1/60 sec, f/2.8. The following combination of settings will yield the exact same exposure: ISO 200, 1/15 sec, f/4. Let’s go setting-by-setting to see how that’s possible. The second shot used an ISO of 200, which is one stop (half the light of) the first shot (ISO 400). The second shot also used a shutter speed of 1/15, which is two stops greater (four times as bright as) the first shot (1/60). The second shot used an aperture of f/5.6, which is one stop below (half as bright as) the first shot (f/4). So, let’s review the math…the second shot used an ISO that was one stop dimmer (-1), a shutter speed that’s two stops brighter (+2), and an aperture that’s one stop dimmer (-1) than the first. If you add -1, +2, and -1, you get 0 (neutral). So, the second shot, even though the individual settings were different, results in the same total amount of light reaching the sensor as the first. Therefore, the exposure is the same. So, again, there is no ONE combination of settings that will give proper exposure.

How do you know which combination of settings to use? If you understand the creative uses of shutter speed to control motion/blur or light ratio, and if you understand the creative uses of aperture to control depth of field and light ratio, and if you understand the creative uses of ISO to control image noise, then you would start by picking the creative control that is most important for that particular shot. Since I haven’t explained the creative controls in this essay, I’ll just throw out some “safe” general starting points. For ISO start at 400, for shutter speed start at 1/125, and for aperture start at f/5.6. From there, tweak the settings until you arrive at the proper exposure. You can use a meter (either a hand-held meter or the one built into your camera) to help.

Walking into a situation and reliably guessing settings using nothing but your eyes (without a meter) takes practice and experience. There are some general “rules” that can help you arrive at a close guess. The Sunny 16 rule is one guess. The Sunny 16 rule basically says that if you’re photographing a subject that’s in bright, full sun, then it will be properly exposed if your shutter speed is the nearest inverse of your ISO and your aperture is f/16 (hence Sunny 16). If you don’t want to use f/16, then remember to offset the shutter speed and/or ISO by however many stops you adjust the aperture. For example, a subject may expose at ISO 400, 1/500 sec, f/16 according to the Sunny 16 rule, but it would have the same exposure at ISO 200, 1/1000, f/8. If you do the math you’ll see that the ISO and shutter speed were dropped by a combined total of 2 stops, and the aperture was increased by 2 stops, so the overall exposure didn’t change.

Once you understand the Sunny 16 rule and how you can change the individual settings while maintaining the same exposure, you can use the Sunny 16 rule to make educated guesses for different lighting situations. If you do a Google search for Sunny 16 you’ll find an accompanying list of different lighting situations and how many stops under they may be from the Sunny 16 exposure. For example, a slightly overcast day may be one stop under the Sunny 16 exposure (so the shutter speed may still be the nearest inverse of the ISO, but the aperture would be f/11 – one stop under f/16). An overcast day may be two stops under the Sunny 16 exposure. Open shade may be four stops under the Sunny 16 exposure. Indoors (varies) may be nine stops under Sunny 16 exposure. And so on. At least this will give you a starting point from which you can tweak your settings.

Usually you’ll want to keep your ISO as low as possible to avoid getting too much image noise (although I have been known to intentionally use a high ISO to add noise that will look like film grain when converted to black and white). Generally, you’ll want to use an aperture that gives you just enough range that all of the important stuff is in focus, and the distracting elements are out of focus. Finally, you’ll usually want a shutter speed that, if you’re hand-holding the camera, will negate blur caused by camera shake. The rule of thumb for that is that the minimum shutter speed should be the inverse of the effective focal length (although that ideally assumes that you have reasonably steady hands, good stance/technique, and it also doesn’t factor the benefits of image stabilization). There are general rules of thumb for the minimum shutter speeds for freezing different types of action (1/250 for normal walking, 1/500 for a child moving quickly, 1/1000 for running sports, etc.). It’s also important to note that it’s not always best to freeze motion. Sometimes you want to use a shutter speed slow enough to introduce a little blur, giving a sense of motion. The popular example is using slow shutter speed so moving water (waterfall, running stream, etc.) looks silky-smooth rather than being frozen drops suspended in air. Often, in order to achieve a good exposure, you will not be able to use the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO that you’d prefer. Welcome to the world of photography. It’s all about compromise. You’ll have to pick which creative control/setting(s) is most important and compromise on the rest (or take multiple exposures and fix in post). Sometimes you’ll need accessories, such as a tripod, neutral density filter, reflectors, artificial light, etc., to get around the challenges. This last paragraphs is touching on creative considerations that I said earlier I wouldn’t get into, so I’ll stop here (before this becomes a second volume).

If you have more specific questions feel free to ask.

Marlton Mom
04-22-2011, 05:11 PM
:rotfl::rotfl: Did we go to the same high school?

George Washington in Northeast Philadelphia??? After all George did grow cannabis......

JoeDif
04-22-2011, 05:24 PM
George Washington in Northeast Philadelphia??? After all George did grow cannabis......

:thumbsup2

Bishop Neumann in South Philly....close enough LOL

Altair
04-22-2011, 05:38 PM
I'd suggest you print GrillMouster's post and study it because that post is the key to photography and is very well written. Once you understand the relationship of aperature, ISO and shutter speed you can do almost anything you want. It's all about physics.:thumbsup2

photo_chick
04-22-2011, 05:49 PM
The darkroom used for loading film canisters (blackout room) was also a great place if your girlfriend was taking photography too. :lovestruc


You say that in a joking way, but I was waiting for a film loading room to open up on a college campus a couple weeks ago and a couple came out looking very happy. And they weren't carrying a tank.



Pea-N-Me- you might try an old copy of Photography by Upton and London. It gets more technical than a lot of books and you can find an older edition for under $10 if you look around. I'm not sure what formulas you're after though. There are a lot of them that get really technical. Honestly I don't use them with my DSLR. I'm lazy and I use the light meter as my jumping off point most of the time.

dday2022
04-22-2011, 07:44 PM
You say that in a joking way, but I was waiting for a film loading room to open up on a college campus a couple weeks ago and a couple came out looking very happy. And they weren't carrying a tank

I wan't joking...:woohoo: Of course I was 17 years old at the time.

mom2rtk
04-22-2011, 08:06 PM
Ok so here's the scoop on h.s. photography class from 32 years ago.....

You can sneak into the darkroom and eat your lunch and hang out with your friends there, especially if you are cutting classes because the instructor never checks the darkroom.

Marlton Mom

PS. The darkroom has a really good fan so.... you can "light" up too! :smokin:

Sorry, but at this age that's the best I can "remember". ;)

And my kids wouldn't know where it was, right??????

Cuz if you can guarantee THAT.. I might just move in!

Marlton Mom
04-22-2011, 08:08 PM
And my kids wouldn't know where it was, right??????

Cuz if you can guarantee THAT.. I might just move in!

Heck yeah they wouldn't know..... even your husband might not know!
~MM

cpbjgc
04-22-2011, 09:24 PM
Pea-n-me, I know exactly what you mean. I never used anything beyond a point and shoot until a few years back when I got my Rebel XTi. The longer I have been taking pictures, the more I want to know how it ties together, to the extent that I am now the proud owner of some low tech film cameras (a lomography Fisheye 2 and now a Ricohflex Model VI TLR which is older than I am, but in better working condition :confused3) that have no metering and requires me to get a grasp of the exposure triangle to get any usable exposures.

While Grillmouster's post is right on the money, the other resource I found was Fred Parker (http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm) and his Ultimate Exposure Computer which is actually an old school exposure table. I think this is what you were looking for and may be another way of looking at the relationships between shutter speed, aperture and ISO.

Pea-n-Me
04-23-2011, 12:13 AM
Ok so here's the scoop on h.s. photography class from 32 years ago.....

You can sneak into the darkroom and eat your lunch and hang out with your friends there, especially if you are cutting classes because the instructor never checks the darkroom.

Marlton Mom

PS. The darkroom has a really good fan so.... you can "light" up too! :smokin:

Sorry, but at this age that's the best I can "remember". ;)
:lmao: :rotfl2: I'm sure HAD I taken photography in HS I would have figured this out, too! :hippie:

Pea-n-Me
04-23-2011, 12:30 AM
Exposure is basically how light or how dark an image is. An overexposed image is washed out because too much light reached the sensor. An underexposed images is dark because too little light reached the sensor. So, controlling exposure is all about controlling how much light reaches the sensor. The unit of measure that we use for light in exposure is the “stop”. Whenever you add one “stop” of light, you’re basically doubling the amount of light. When you take a way one “stop” of light, you’re cutting the amount of light by half. Taking away two stops of light means cutting the amount of light to just ¼ of what it was (because the first stop cut it in half, then the second stop cut it in half again…like folding a piece of paper twice give you four grids). So, a “stop” of light is not an absolute value it’s a relative amount.

Let’s use a cooking analogy:
In a bowl you have one teaspoon of sugar. When you add another teaspoon of sugar, it’s like adding a “stop”, because you have doubled the amount of sugar in the bowl. Okay, so now you have two teaspoons of sugar in the bowl. If you add another teaspoon of sugar in the bowl did you add a stop? No, you did not. Because, remember a stop is not an absolute value; It’s not always going to be one teaspoon. If there are two teaspoons of sugar in the bowl, then adding one stop would mean adding two teaspoons to the bowl. So, now you have four teaspoons of sugar in the bowl. How much sugar do you need to add in order to go up by one stop? Four teaspoons is correct. So, now you have eight teaspoons of sugar in the bowl, reducing it by one stop means taking out half, or four teaspoons. So, now you have four teaspoons left in the bowl. How much do you need to take out to reduce it by two stops? The answer is three teaspoons (the first stop means taking out two teaspoons --leaving two teaspoons in the bowl--, and the second stop means taking one teaspoon out of the bowl). I hope you’re with me so far.

There are three basic camera controls that you can use to affect exposure, or how much light reaches the sensor. Those controls are: ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. ISO is how sensitive the sensor is to light. Shutter speed is how long you allow light to hit the sensor inside the camera body. Aperture is the pupil inside the lens through which light passes and enters the camera body.

ISO, shutter speed, and aperture do more than just control exposure and how much light reaches the sensor. Those settings can also be used for creative control of things like noise, lighting ratios, depth of field, etc.. I won’t go into detail about those creative and compositional variables here.

Let’s start with one of the easiest controls to understand: ISO.
ISO differs from aperture and shutter speed in that ISO doesn’t actually affect how much light reaches the sensor. ISO actually controls how sensitive the sensor is to the light.
Examples of ISO settings are:
50.....100.....200.....400.....800.....1600.....32 00.....6400
There are more settings than those, but these are enough to get us started. As you can see in the above sequence, the numbers double as you go left to right. That doubling represents one stop. In other words, ISO setting 200 is twice as sensitive to light as ISO 100. You could also rephrase this as “ISO 100 is half as sensitive at ISO 200”. ISO 200 is four times as sensitive at ISO 50. ISO 400 is eight times as sensitive as ISO 50 (because each stop doubles the light). ISO 800 is sixteen times as sensitive as ISO 50. Got it? I say that this part is easy, setting numbers themselves tell you how many stops brighter or dimmer they are than other ISO settings.

Shutter speed controls how long the light coming through the lens is allowed to hit the sensor. Examples of shutter speed settings are:
1/250.....1/125.....1/60.....1/30.....1/15.....1/8.....¼.....½.....1.....2
In the sequence above, shutter speed gets slower (longer) as you go from left to right. As you go left to right, you add one “stop” of light at each setting. Shutter speed is similar to ISO in that the setting number doubles as the light doubles...roughly. I say “roughly” because in a few spots (between 1/125 and 1/60, and again between 1/15 and 1/8) the light does double, even though the number in the setting isn’t exactly double.

Aperture controls how big the diameter of the pupil inside the lens will be, and, thus, control how much light reaches the inside the camera. Example aperture settings are:
f/32.....f/22.....f/16.....f/11.....f/8.....f/5.6.....f/4.....f/2.8.....f/2.....f/1.4
In the sequence above the aperture gets larger as you go from left to right. Each aperture setting allows one stop of light (double) more than the setting to its left. Again, another way to phrase it is that each stop allow half the light of the setting to its right. Now, aperture confuses a lot of beginners for two reasons. The first reason for confusion is that the f-numbers in the settings get lower as the physical aperture gets larger (wider). The second reason for confusion is that, unlike ISO and shutter speed, when you double or half the light, the f-number doesn’t double or half; there doesn’t appear to be a clear pattern in how the f-stops are numbered. The reason for this is that the f-stops are actually fractions, where the numerator is the focal length and the denominator is the diameter of the pupil inside the lens. You don’t need to understand, or even remember, how or why the f-stops got their numbers. You just need to memorize them and don’t try to apply any logic or pattern to how they were numbered. Also know that all lenses set to the same f-stop allow the same amount of light into the camera.

I should also point out that the sequences above for ISO, shutter speed, and aperture only show full stops. Your camera probably allows half-stop or third-stop increments between those full stops. I don’t memorize those incremental stops; I just remember how many clicks of the dial they are from the full stops. It’s probably best to forget about the incremental stops for now until you understand exposure using the full stops.

Exposure depends on a combination if ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. Exactly which settings will give “proper” exposure will depend on the scene and its lighting. A variety of setting combinations can give the same exposure. For example: a particular expose correctly at ISO 400, 1/60 sec, f/2.8. The following combination of settings will yield the exact same exposure: ISO 200, 1/15 sec, f/4. Let’s go setting-by-setting to see how that’s possible. The second shot used an ISO of 200, which is one stop (half the light of) the first shot (ISO 400). The second shot also used a shutter speed of 1/15, which is two stops greater (four times as bright as) the first shot (1/60). The second shot used an aperture of f/5.6, which is one stop below (half as bright as) the first shot (f/4). So, let’s review the math…the second shot used an ISO that was one stop dimmer (-1), a shutter speed that’s two stops brighter (+2), and an aperture that’s one stop dimmer (-1) than the first. If you add -1, +2, and -1, you get 0 (neutral). So, the second shot, even though the individual settings were different, results in the same total amount of light reaching the sensor as the first. Therefore, the exposure is the same. So, again, there is no ONE combination of settings that will give proper exposure.

How do you know which combination of settings to use? If you understand the creative uses of shutter speed to control motion/blur or light ratio, and if you understand the creative uses of aperture to control depth of field and light ratio, and if you understand the creative uses of ISO to control image noise, then you would start by picking the creative control that is most important for that particular shot. Since I haven’t explained the creative controls in this essay, I’ll just throw out some “safe” general starting points. For ISO start at 400, for shutter speed start at 1/125, and for aperture start at f/5.6. From there, tweak the settings until you arrive at the proper exposure. You can use a meter (either a hand-held meter or the one built into your camera) to help.

Walking into a situation and reliably guessing settings using nothing but your eyes (without a meter) takes practice and experience. There are some general “rules” that can help you arrive at a close guess. The Sunny 16 rule is one guess. The Sunny 16 rule basically says that if you’re photographing a subject that’s in bright, full sun, then it will be properly exposed if your shutter speed is the nearest inverse of your ISO and your aperture is f/16 (hence Sunny 16). If you don’t want to use f/16, then remember to offset the shutter speed and/or ISO by however many stops you adjust the aperture. For example, a subject may expose at ISO 400, 1/500 sec, f/16 according to the Sunny 16 rule, but it would have the same exposure at ISO 200, 1/1000, f/8. If you do the math you’ll see that the ISO and shutter speed were dropped by a combined total of 2 stops, and the aperture was increased by 2 stops, so the overall exposure didn’t change.

Once you understand the Sunny 16 rule and how you can change the individual settings while maintaining the same exposure, you can use the Sunny 16 rule to make educated guesses for different lighting situations. If you do a Google search for Sunny 16 you’ll find an accompanying list of different lighting situations and how many stops under they may be from the Sunny 16 exposure. For example, a slightly overcast day may be one stop under the Sunny 16 exposure (so the shutter speed may still be the nearest inverse of the ISO, but the aperture would be f/11 – one stop under f/16). An overcast day may be two stops under the Sunny 16 exposure. Open shade may be four stops under the Sunny 16 exposure. Indoors (varies) may be nine stops under Sunny 16 exposure. And so on. At least this will give you a starting point from which you can tweak your settings.

Usually you’ll want to keep your ISO as low as possible to avoid getting too much image noise (although I have been known to intentionally use a high ISO to add noise that will look like film grain when converted to black and white). Generally, you’ll want to use an aperture that gives you just enough range that all of the important stuff is in focus, and the distracting elements are out of focus. Finally, you’ll usually want a shutter speed that, if you’re hand-holding the camera, will negate blur caused by camera shake. The rule of thumb for that is that the minimum shutter speed should be the inverse of the effective focal length (although that ideally assumes that you have reasonably steady hands, good stance/technique, and it also doesn’t factor the benefits of image stabilization). There are general rules of thumb for the minimum shutter speeds for freezing different types of action (1/250 for normal walking, 1/500 for a child moving quickly, 1/1000 for running sports, etc.). It’s also important to note that it’s not always best to freeze motion. Sometimes you want to use a shutter speed slow enough to introduce a little blur, giving a sense of motion. The popular example is using slow shutter speed so moving water (waterfall, running stream, etc.) looks silky-smooth rather than being frozen drops suspended in air. Often, in order to achieve a good exposure, you will not be able to use the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO that you’d prefer. Welcome to the world of photography. It’s all about compromise. You’ll have to pick which creative control/setting(s) is most important and compromise on the rest (or take multiple exposures and fix in post). Sometimes you’ll need accessories, such as a tripod, neutral density filter, reflectors, artificial light, etc., to get around the challenges. This last paragraphs is touching on creative considerations that I said earlier I wouldn’t get into, so I’ll stop here (before this becomes a second volume).

If you have more specific questions feel free to ask.
Holy Cow, GrillMouster! I just read through briefly but I think you did touch on some of the points I was looking for re inverse relationships and things like that. I will read through again tomorrow.

You can use a meter (either a hand-held meter or the one built into your camera) to help.
Could you expand on this a little?

Thank you!

tlcmommyx4
04-23-2011, 09:43 AM
Dear Grill Master, I just love your postm and I love the cooking analogy with the bowl with the sugar. Always learning something new on the boards!!!

GrillMouster
04-23-2011, 10:22 AM
Could you expand on this a little?
You can use a meter (either a hand-held meter or the one built into your camera) to help.
Thank you!

There are handheld meters that measure the light and, based on the reading, tell you what camera settings should give you "proper" exposure. Most cameras have a built-in reflective-type meter that you can use to help you get correct exposure. You'll see the scale below, or one similar to it, somewhere in your camera viewfinder or on one of the screens (when the camera is on and the meter is active):
-3..-2..-1..0..+1..+2..+3

The general idea is that you aim the camera at the scene or subject and adjust your settings (ISO, shutter speed, aperture) until the marker is above the "0" in the middle. If the marker is to the left of the zero, the scene is underexposed. If the marker is to the right of the zero, the scene is overexposed. In theory, this will work if the scene or the spot you're metering averages to 18% grey. The meter is kinda "dumb", and you, the photographer, need to know when to listen to the meter, when to ignore it, and when to trick it to achieve the exposure you desire.

Does that answer your question? Let me know if you want more info on how the meter works and how to use it.

photo_chick
04-23-2011, 12:34 PM
We made sliding scales out of strips of paper way back in photo 1. It was very helpful to visualize the relationship.

Pea-n-Me
04-23-2011, 12:58 PM
There are handheld meters that measure the light and, based on the reading, tell you what camera settings should give you "proper" exposure. Most cameras have a built-in reflective-type meter that you can use to help you get correct exposure. You'll see the scale below, or one similar to it, somewhere in your camera viewfinder or on one of the screens (when the camera is on and the meter is active):
-3..-2..-1..0..+1..+2..+3

The general idea is that you aim the camera at the scene or subject and adjust your settings (ISO, shutter speed, aperture) until the marker is above the "0" in the middle. If the marker is to the left of the zero, the scene is underexposed. If the marker is to the right of the zero, the scene is overexposed. In theory, this will work if the scene or the spot you're metering averages to 18% grey. The meter is kinda "dumb", and you, the photographer, need to know when to listen to the meter, when to ignore it, and when to trick it to achieve the exposure you desire.

Does that answer your question? Let me know if you want more info on how the meter works and how to use it.
Yes, I do understand how the in camera meter works and I use it to get proper exposure. I still remember the day I figured this out on my own camera several months after I began using a dSLR and it was such a revelation! and made a world of difference in how my shots came out at the time. :worship:

I was wondering about a hand held meter, which I've never used but was actually thinking of picking up. Why? I don't know! :lmao: I saw a nice one and thought it was a must have! :wizard: No, really - I'd hoped that with the knowledge I'm seeking here and the handheld meter I might be able to pick my settings the old fashioned way. Maybe it's dumb quest if it's easier on today's cameras, I don't know. I think I just want to be able to do it.

So yes, if you have time, how does a hand held meter work and is it a worthwhile investment? How would it work together with knowing what setttings to pick off the the top of your head or is that even a realistic thing? I mean, I can find the settings I need pretty quickly now (save for shutter speed sometimes, which requires a few test shots most outings - I even still get a little confused about which direction I want to go the way my camera labels the shutter speeds, to be honest - and I KNOW I'm not the only one!).

I just think, or should I say feel, that somewhere along the line I missed out on something and I'm not really sure what I'm looking for and now I'm not even sure I'll know it if I see it! :faint:

I do appreciate all the input.

clearskies
04-23-2011, 03:08 PM
GrillMouster did an excellent job describing the effects of controlling light via shutter speed, ISO and aperture. ISO and Shutter speed setting are more intuitative and easier to wrap your arms around. I have a chart that I put together that explain the aperture relationships that may help with understanding the mathematics on controlling light via aperture. This example was done based on a 50mm focal length but the relative differences between the f stops will be the same no matter what focal length you use. Note that this is also not a full set of possible aperture settings. The example settings I used though should be sufficient to hopefully understand the mathematics.



http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x236/clearskiesnj/fstops.jpg




I hope this helps.

Pea-n-Me
04-23-2011, 09:28 PM
GrillMouster did an excellent job describing the effects of controlling light via shutter speed, ISO and aperture. ISO and Shutter speed setting are more intuitative and easier to wrap your arms around. I have a chart that I put together that explain the aperture relationships that may help with understanding the mathematics on controlling light via aperture. This example was done based on a 50mm focal length but the relative differences between the f stops will be the same no matter what focal length you use. Note that this is also not a full set of possible aperture settings. The example settings I used though should be sufficient to hopefully understand the mathematics.



http://i181.photobucket.com/albums/x236/clearskiesnj/fstops.jpg




I hope this helps.
Thank you.

Pea-n-Me
04-24-2011, 08:22 AM
the flash book I've been reading went over the rule of sunny 16.
Thank you for bringing this up. It caused me to search around a bit about it and I came across something that is the type of thing I was looking for.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understandexposure.shtml

The extremes of brightness that one encounters in the natural world are not that varied. For this reason there is the so-called Sunny 16 rule. This says that on the brightest day normally encountered the proper exposure is roughly the reciprocal of the film speed at f/16. Thus, if you are shooting ISO 200 film then the exposure will be 1/250 second @ f/16.

The Eye's Autoexposure
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), the human eye and brain have a superb autoexposure mechanism built in. This means that once your eyes have adjusted to the current lighting situation, and without clues as to what is causing the light level encountered, it is almost impossible to tell how bright things are on a relative basis. As long as the light level lies somewhere within that 10 stop range for most people it all appears the same.

This is why light meters, whether built-in or handheld, are such vital tools. But before exploring light meters and how best to use them it's worthwhile to have in ones mind a firm idea of what "proper" exposure settings are for the ten light levels normally encountered. This way you're not a blind slave to the meter.

Let's assume an F stop of f/8 and a ISO (film speed) of 400. Here's what these 10 light levels are and the shutter speed that would be needed.

A Sunny day outdoors — 1/2000 sec
A hazy bright day — 1/1000 sec
A bright cloudy day without shadows — 1/500 sec
An overcast day, or open shade on a sunny day — 1/250 sec
A heavily overcast day — 1/125 sec
Deep shade. The woods on an bright overcast day — 1/60 sec
Just before a thunderstorm or late on a heavily overcast day — 1/30 sec
A brightly lit store interior — 1/15th sec
A well lit stage or sports arena — 1/8th sec
A well lit home interior — 1/4 sec

Of course you would vary the F stop and shutter speed combinations to whatever would be most appropriate. In the case of a home interior, for example, instead of 1/4 second at f/8 you might choose 1/30 sec at f/2.8. The point is though that these 10 brightness levels represent 95% of the conditions under which we all do our shooting.

The funny thing is, I've been doing ok, I think (for the most part!). I guess I just want to understand more of the science behind what I'm doing now that my brain has a little more room in it and is ready to comprehend more information. For a while there, it was saturated. :crowded: I think I need to work on learning more about metering and focus points now as well, because although I can get good pictures, I think I can do even better if I learn more about the finer points of all this stuff, i.e. things I may not have been able to comprehend as much earlier on even though I've seen them here and there.

I've said this before but I think that learning to use a dSLR for the first time is a lot - you need to learn photography, the camera itself and post processing. Three things that can be quite overwhelming when you're doing it for the first time - and probably in a somewhat haphazard fashion. :laughing:

Pea-n-Me
04-24-2011, 08:42 AM
I put together an example from my TR of something that I'm uncertain about thinking about the Sunny 16 rule, if anyone would like to help me understand it.

Now, these pics seem to be "ok", despite it being around noontime and very sunny (and no filter). I used the in camera meter to get the exposure as best I could. (So a moot point, maybe, but I do think there could be learning here for me somehow, lol.)

In looking at my EXIF data, it's pretty different even though the pics were taken at WS around the same time, maybe within an hour or two of eachother.

Was there a better way to do this? Was I off on my settings? How would a filter have changed my settings? Or anything else you'd like to comment on. Don't worry about criticism. Thank you! (These were just a few examples, I have a ton.)

I also don't normally shoot during noontime sun, so I hadn't thought to pick up a polarizing filter, which might have come in handy as I unexpectedly found myself in WS at pretty much the worst possible time of day to shoot. But it's ok, I had a lot of fun anyway!

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/paulandlinda/P2177447f.jpg
A 52mm f/3.5 ISO 100 1/800 ESP metering Single AF

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/paulandlinda/P2177566.jpg
A 27mm f/3.1 ISO100 1/200 ESP metering Manual Focus

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y69/paulandlinda/P2177626.jpg
A 40mm f/3.3 ISO400 ESP metering Single AF 1/5000

Daisy14'sDH
04-24-2011, 08:59 AM
Ok so here's the scoop on h.s. photography class from 32 years ago.....

You can sneak into the darkroom and eat your lunch and hang out with your friends there, especially if you are cutting classes because the instructor never checks the darkroom.

Marlton Mom

PS. The darkroom has a really good fan so.... you can "light" up too! :smokin:

Sorry, but at this age that's the best I can "remember". ;)

Lol, I remember it the same way as well! Except our instructors were usually with us... :cool2:

GrillMouster
04-25-2011, 01:54 PM
So yes, if you have time, how does a hand held meter work and is it a worthwhile investment? How would it work together with knowing what setttings to pick off the the top of your head or is that even a realistic thing? I mean, I can find the settings I need pretty quickly now (save for shutter speed sometimes, which requires a few test shots most outings - I even still get a little confused about which direction I want to go the way my camera labels the shutter speeds, to be honest - and I KNOW I'm not the only one!).

Meters can be incident-type or reflective-type. Some handheld meters have both. Camera's built-in meters are reflective. A handheld incident meter basically measures the light falling on the subject, whereas a reflective meter measures light reflecting off of the subject. A reflective meter reading (whether it's a handheld reflective meter or your camera's built-in reflective meter) of a good 18% grey card should give the same results as an incident meter. However, because subjects can vary on reflectance, an incident meter can give more accurate results. The incident meter has a white plastic dome over its light sensor. You'd basically hold the meter up where the subject will be and aim the dome toward the light source. You enter the ISO and shutter speed you're using and it will tell you the aperture that should give you perfect 18% grey tone in the image.

These meters allow you to measure output from individual light sources, which can be very handy when you're trying to get certaining lighting ratios (eg, you want the hair or kicker to be the same brightness as the key light, but you want the fill light to be a third the brightness of the key). You can use the meters to average exposure (for trickly lighting situations). Some meters can wirlessly trip your radio-controlled flash units so you can take light readings of the flash (not just ambient or continuous light).

Use of hand-held meters are rare now, even among professionals. In the days of film, they were indispensible, because you wouldn't know whether you nailed the exposure until you got the film developed or the prints back from the lab. Some photographers would carry a Polaroid instant camera to test their metered exposures on-site before taking the "real" picture with their main camera. Nowadays, with the built-in meter and the instant previews on the LCD screen, complete with histograms, handheld meters aren't necessary in most circumstances. It's so easy now to get a a "close" exposure with the built-in meter, then review the LCD preview and tweak the settings. We can adjust lighting based on how it looks, rather than relying on mathematical light ratios.

GrillMouster
04-25-2011, 03:44 PM
I put together an example from my TR...Was I off on my settings?

From what I can tell, you shot aperture priority with no exposure compensation. If you were trying to control expsoure by adjusting aperture or ISO, then it was a futile attempt. No matter what aperture and ISO settings you would have choosen, the camera would have chosen whatever shutter speed would be necessary to achieve the same exposure.

You could take control of exposure in the semi-auto modes in the following ways:
1) Control how much the camera meters by choosing spot, center-weighted, or matrix (aka evaluative, pattern, ESP) metering modes.
2) Control what the camera meters by strategically aiming the camera at a different scene or some part of the scene to meter off of and lock exposure.
3) Use exposure compensation to force the camera to expose over or under what the meter thinks is proper exposure.

You can combine all three tips above by spot-metering something that you know to be brighter or darker than 18% grey and dialing in the appropriate exposure compensation. For example, if I think dark green grass is about 2/3 stops darker than 18% grey, then I can spot-meter the dark green grass that's in the same lighting as the subject and dial in -2/3 EC.