Exposures – III

by William Lulow

As I have said many times, there’s nothing like getting an exposure completely correct the first time, rather than making several exposures and either choosing the right one or correcting it with image-editing software. The way I usually achieve this, (even though I often resort to using the camera as a light meter), is to use my trusty old Pentax Spotmeter (a true relic), or my Sekonic incident meter. Usually the incident meter works best because it actually measures the light that is falling on the subject. The spotmeter is great when you can’t get close enough to get an accurate incident meter reading, but to me, there is nothing as clean as getting a good incident reading. This is usually obtained by walking over to the subject, holding the incident meter with its light-collecting dome at the exact spot where the light is falling. The meter will display the various f/stop and shutter speed combinations which will yield a correct exposure, leaving you to decide what works best under the circumstances. No matter how sophisticated the camera, a computer chip can’t make that decision for you. You can’t always rely on the camera’s reflective metering system, even if you have it set up as an averaging or center-weighted meter.

Once you set this up, you can then shoot any number of exposures under the same lighting conditions confident that they will be right on the money!