Photographer of the week: Kurt Strecker

Kurt is a very versatile photographer, based in Cincinnati Ohio, and who loves to play with depth of field.

Although Kurt decided to share with us tonight mostly his portrait pictures, his gallery is rich with various subject and I will invite you all to visit it at KurtStrecker.com

And now a selection of Kurt’s best pictures.
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Don’t let the light meter fool you !

Understanding how does a light meter work can make the difference between a poorly exposed picture and keeper. Unfortunately, a lot of people nowadays just rely on their cameras without taking the time to understand the basics. So they end up frustrated by the “poor results” of their camera.

So what is a light meter ?

In short, a light meter is a device that is sensitive to light who’s basic job is to balance an equation.
You typically give the light meter 2 out of 3 variables (ISO, shutter speed, aperture) and it will give the correct 3rd variable to get a well exposed picture of the given scene.

What is there to know ?

It is often not enough to solely rely on the light meter’s decision because the latter can be easily fooled.
In fact the light meter “sees” only one color and that’s neutral gray. No matter what is the subject presented the light meter will balance the equation in a way that this subject will look gray in a Black and White picture.
Let’s take 2 example to better understand what we just talked about:

  • A picture of snow: Assuming that you just took winter landscape picture, the dominant part of the scene is the white snow and the light meter will meter for it to look gray. So, as a result, you will end up with an under-exposed pictures where the whites are gray.
  • A picture of your black dog: Taking a counter example, let’s assume you just shot the portrait of your black dog ! Here too the light meter will react in the same way and will meter so that the dog looks gray and the results are an over-exposed picture where the blacks are gray.

How to solve this problem ?

Once we understand how the whole thing works solving this issue is really easy

  • Use a gray card: Gray cards are cards that have a uniform gray color and are used as exposure reference. No matter what the scene you want to photograph is, let your light meter read from the card and you can be sure it gives you back the correct exposure
  • Exposure compensation: Exposure compensation, or EC, is when you deliberately override the readings of your light meter by a certain amount. Let’s go back to our examples shall we?
    • The snow picture: In the snow picture we just took the snow turned out gray. Gray being darker than white then you want your picture to be brighter right ? So dial some positive exposure compensation of, let’s say, +1.5 EV. Doing this will tell the camera that the scene should be brighter than gray thus white
    • The dog picture: Following the same logic the black dog turned out gray too and gray is brighter than black. So we want a darker picture right ? This time we will dial some negative exposure compensation of, let’s say, -1.5 EV.

    Now what ?
    If what you have just read is new to you then I advise you to go right now and do some tests. The problem is that you need some time and practice to get this concept into your system or you might forget it next time you need it !

Share your funny story

Not exactly a poll but I would like to hear your funny stories ! You know those weird things people tend to tell you when they see you carrying your gear ?

Stuff like “Oh, so that’s your camera !! no wonder you take such great pictures”, or even “Do you use this lens to spy on your neighbors or what ?”

well both of these happened to me, let’s hear yours !

Canon Spring rebates May 18th -> July 19th

2008 Canon Spring rebates are finally here and this year these are instant single rebates !
If you see the “single” part as a bad news, I see the “instant” part as great news. No mailing no waiting nothing save money directly at check out, how cool is that ?

Oh forgot to add that rebates run from May 18th till July 19th 2008

Here is the full list
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Photographer of the week: Lars Johnsson

Lars is a fellow photographer from Sweden with a fantastic gallery !
I’ve had the chance to find his pictures while looking for samples of the Canon EF 85mm 1.2 L and I was captivated by his portraits.

Lars was kind enough to allow me to publish 10 of his best pictures and, if you want to appreciate more of his work, I’ll invite you to take a look at his pbase gallery.
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