// archives

metering off gray card

This tag is associated with 3 posts

Learn By Doing – Metering picture with 1/2 black and 1/2 white

O.k. I am definitely surprised by the outcome. I thought they would somehow balance each other out so the black stayed black and the white stayed white. All three images were taken at f/16 100ISO on a tripod. I felt the black looked black, but thought the white had a bit of gray to it.

8.0 seconds








Next introduce the gray card!








This last one was taken (using the gray card) at shutter speed 15.0 seconds which I thought looked more like white.









Assignment #3 – What if you are photographing a zebra?

Don’t put away your gray card yet!

Still trying to wrap my head around metering! The first week we discussed what our camera sees if our photo is mostly white. Week 2 was if a majority of our photo was black. Which brings us to a zebra what happens if you photograph equal parts black and white. Will they balance each other out so you end up with your blacks black and your white white or will our camera find middle gray? I have no idea! I am excited to see what happens when I give it a try!

So let’s pick up our camera and learn by doing – next assignment find something with equal parts black and white and photograph it on manual exactly the way your camera sees. Next picture use a gray card to see if your color changes!

This is what we learned so far:

  • If your picture is made up of mostly white your camera will underexpose trying to find middle gray.
  • If you picture is made up of mostly black your camera will overexpose trying to find middle gray.

Learn By Doing – Using a gray card to find black

I went looking for something black to photograph and found an old pair of boots. These were by far my most favorite pair thus why they still sit in my closet.

Doing these assignments has been amazing for me. Even though everything still seems backwards to me. For instance when I move my dial to the right I expect it to have more light, but in fact it is just the opposite on my camera.  Taking my time and really thinking about what I am doing is paying off! This first picture I metered off a gray card and ended up with an exposure that really showed these boots are black.  The histogram on the right reflects that the boots are indeed black.

This next picture is from the cameras perspective.  I still was shooting in manual but I adjusted my meter to exactly what the camera said was a perfect exposure.  This over exposed my picture!  Now the saying finally makes sense  if you have a scene with a black subject and you want to keep your blacks black – add dark to dark and the opposite add light to light.

Since our camera always wants to find middle gray it is going to look at these boots and say that is just way too much black and over expose the picture until it finds 18% gray in the middle of the histogram.  If we adjust our meter to darken it by about 2 stops we will end up with black!