Best Way to Expose for Landscapes

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by cherryrig, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    Gloucester,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Right this is my issue.

    I only have a L-358 with the Retractable Lumisphere and I'm having some problems with getting the right exposure for the landscape.

    I was wondering if anyone could give me some tips and pointers to getting the right correct exposure. Some people have said to take of the Lumisphere and then point it towards the scene, making sure you cover around the light sensor.

    Just need some people really and if you could try and explain in newbie talk as I'm quite new to all this landscape exposure stuff haha :rolleyes:

    Cheers
     
  2. optique

    optique Member

    Messages:
    198
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Location:
    Houston, Tex
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  3. OP
    OP
    cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    Gloucester,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yea I just have now, doesn't really say about measuring for landscapes :sad:
     
  4. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,453
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In Gloucestershire :D the green grass is a good equivalent of Zone V or a Kodak Grey card, metering off the grass works fine (no diffuser). I don't know your specific meter but as it has a diffusing sphere with that in place point that sphere at the light source, the sun on the few days it's out, or the brightest part of the sky the other 360 days of the years :smile: That give a good reading for all but complex situations with deep shadows & bright highlights.

    Ian
     
  5. eddym

    eddym Member

    Messages:
    1,927
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you are standing in the light from the same sun that illuminates the landscape, just take an incident reading.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    Gloucester,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    But if I'm not

    Say if I'm taking a photo of sunset so the only light is from the setting sun. How do I meter for that?
     
  7. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,638
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, M
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If, by sunset, you mean the sun is virtually sitting on the horizon, you don't have much time. I use to meter the sky well above the setting sun and then bracket (was shooting 35mm). Seemed to work pretty well for me.
     
  8. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,748
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Geelong & Richmond AUS
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Groups:
    I usually spot meter then average a sunset scene with my L758D (very similar in appearance to the L358), but as the L358 does not have this facility I concur with an earlier post that if the light on the landscape is the same as where you are, that will be a sufficient starting point to meter, then bracket +/-1 . If you're a newbie, come to grips with understanding the very basics of the Zone System (irrespective of whether you're using negative or transparency film, though the procedure is different for the latter) and tricks for metering when you're unsure of where to meter from. This is especially true if you plan to stick with a hand-held meter.

    Re setting sun query. Here's a trick. Set the camera up facing the sunset. Hold the meter up also facing the sunset as close to the camera's lens axis as you can, lumisphere up, and meter. Otherwise, a spot meter is excellent for 'touching' the sky in several places around the sunset — not actually the sun itself.
     
  9. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,555
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Just what i was going to write: just point the meter at the sun (no need at all, though, to keep it close to the camera), with the incident dome on, and take a reading.
     
  10. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,974
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I think incident light measurement is not very good for landscape as most landscape scenes have areas that are in shadows and areas that are in bright light. Reflected spot measurement is better. I don't know if your meter has spot mode.
     
  11. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,130
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    Two inches to the left
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I always used my L358 by measuring portion of objects in the landscape that were near me and in the same light and incorporated various readings to arrive at a base exposure that would capture everything I wanted to get.
     
  12. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

    Messages:
    519
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Orrtanna, PA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If I'm not mistaken Sekonic makes both a 1 degree & 5 degree spotmeter attachment for that meter. I would suggest you look for the 1 degree attachment. You may be able to find one used.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  13. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

    Messages:
    5,555
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Well, no.
    As long as that landscape is illuminated by one, single light source (and it usally is :wink:), incident light reading is perfect.
    Reflected light metering does not provide better results, but is more work, providing more chances to get things wrong too.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,070
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Aurora, Il
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    +1
     
  16. OP
    OP
    cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    Gloucester,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have been looking at maybe getting 1 degree spot attachment, but it's like another £120 just for that.

    Thats why I was seeing if there was a method just using what I have. Spot metering does sound the better way to do it though as when I tried to meter the scene the other for the sunset, I only got a reading like 4sec f/4 (could only shoot at f/4 cos of the lens)

    Just have to wait and see what they come out like I guess
     
  17. Baxter Bradford

    Baxter Bradford Member

    Messages:
    795
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    Lymington, S
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    You are right, Spot metering is really the only flexible solution to handle metering in the frequently demanding and transient conditions of light on the landscape. Walking across sand without leaving footprints to meter light under the cliff, shadow in trees, sky behind the tree etc all lend themselves well to Spot metering.

    Spot meters are great for determining correct ND grad filter and whether scene brightness is within dynamic range of the film being used.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    Gloucester,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    So it is worth it if I'm thinking of doing more landscape stuff you guys are saying?

    hmmmm
     
  19. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

    Messages:
    519
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Orrtanna, PA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Yep....I always use a spot meter when shooting landscapes/seascapes. Most landscape photographers I know use one as well.

    Best regards,

    Bob
     
  20. OP
    OP
    cherryrig

    cherryrig Member

    Messages:
    95
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    Gloucester,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    So it's best to go for a 1degree spot over say a 5degree one?
     
  21. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,453
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not necessarily. I have a couple of Spotmeters & a Gossen Luna Pro + Tele attachment (Lunasix in Europe) both types give me the correct exposure readings used carefully and thats without the Tele attachment on the Gossen.

    Yes a Spotmeter (or spot attachment), is a good fairly foolproof way of working, but if you understand what your doing with a meter like the OP's Sekonic, a Gossen, a Weston etc there's no reason at all for not consistently getting the correct exposures, and still not walking over the sands :D

    Cherryrig you posted as I was writing, yes a 1° Spot is the best.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2009
  22. Ulrich Drolshagen

    Ulrich Drolshagen Member

    Messages:
    517
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    For me, as living in the North German Plain, this usually works well. Since I had the chance to photograph in Norwegian fjords with mountainsides in my back I know that this does not always give reliable results.

    Ulrich
     
  23. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,974
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have the Minolta View Meter 9 which is an old 9 degree spotmeter. I got it for like $3. What amazes me was that it's quite accurate, within 1/3 stop of my Minolta Flashmeter VI. The circuitry inside is also suprisingly simple.
     
  24. rpsawin

    rpsawin Subscriber

    Messages:
    519
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Orrtanna, PA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Cherryrig,

    I agree with Ian that the 1 degree is the best choice for landscape work.

    Best,

    Bob
     
  25. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,079
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    First of all, the standard, boring, obvious, but necessary to state response: There is no correct exposure. You are aiming for the exposure that lets you get the print you want. For a given composition, there will be variation in the way you, I, or anyone else want the print to look, thus each of our ideal exposures will be different.

    Next, incident light readings are just fine for landscapes or anything else, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. When I have the time, I always use both my incident meter and my spot meter. But either one will work fine alone, as will no meter whatsoever; your head and experience, an exposure chart, or both.

    Finally, your instruction booklet, or a book from the library (!?!?!), should answer your question. The one for my nearly 60-year-old Brockway incident meter does. It sez to point the dome at the sun in a sunset situation. What I would probably do would be to do that, then add 4x the recommended exposure, and pull my film by two grades. This would raise the tone of the ground while keeping the tone of the sun the same. If it ended up being too much of a pull, I could just print using a harder paper/filter.

    Actually, I would stand develop the neg, but that is a whole other discussion. The simple answer is that to plop the dynamic range of the scene onto the dynamic range of your print, without taking steps to make the two ranges better match each other, just point your dome at the sun and develop normally.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2009
  26. Windscale

    Windscale Member

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have had the little Sekonic L308 for years and have used the incident mode most of the time. Although I am also very comfortable with the reflected mode in situations where it is not possible to use the incident mode, say, standing in the shade. I do mainly landscape and buildings. I think it is most important to really get to know your meter first. It is not just as simple as taking a reading and follow it. Experience says that there are times when a few readings are necessary and some mental arithmatics may follow. But as long as you regard your meter as a servant and not a master, you will hopefully be doing fine.