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Thread: Whatcha Think? Exposure Difficulty

  1. Default

    I have experienced similar change-in-exposure sequences like this, too. I am using a Rebel XTi.

    Like Allan, I find myself shooting more and more in manual mode. Starting off in shutter-priority at 1/500 if I can (at ISO 400) in any kind of good lighting, I will metering off the ballast, and switch over to manual mode and match the exposure.

    I will then take a test shot of the "scene" and see how things look. The histogram is helpful, unless I'm in the forest, where the dark trees will throw things off.

    I don't use exposure lock for one reason - I've had it unlock before for some reason or another (like the camera powering-down?). Also, I like to use TV mode to set my initial exposure just in case lighting changes (a loner cloud, for example) as the train approached or I just "chicken out" with manual mode. I can throw it back to TV mode and hope for the best.

    Funny, I hardly ever had such exposure challenges when I was shooting my EOS-10s 35mm usually in Shutter-priority with Kodachrome 64!
    Rob Jacox - Bend, OR - www.trainweb.org/westernrails

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by B_Kosanda View Post
    Ken, 16 16
    I have been shooting shutter priority, because I care most about the shutter speed. But, my problem as you can see in my two photos posted is that the light meter is getting confused by the locomotive headlights. At least that is what I think is happening.

    Bill
    Ok, then a solution might be to select a different focus spot which will also change the metering spot. Using the ballast as Rob mentions is always a good choice and is typically my solution.

    Of course manual will work too, I just think it is overkill and has a lot of other issues.
    More pics in Kenw's Gallery

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  3. #13
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    Looks like someone was at Elsberry on the K-Line.....
    I always shoot in manual mode now, so I have complete control over how the shot will turn out. After shooting with the Fast man and Shutter Priority and getting varied results, I learned how to use Manual settings. Everything has been just fine ever since. I do still use Auto Focus though, as I do not trust my ability to manually focus the lense.
    Drew Mitchem
    3 Blocks from the BNSF Gallup Sub, the Transcon!
    Milan, NM

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by drew mitchem View Post
    Looks like someone was at Elsberry on the K-Line.....
    I always shoot in manual mode now, so I have complete control over how the shot will turn out. After shooting with the Fast man and Shutter Priority and getting varied results, I learned how to use Manual settings. Everything has been just fine ever since. I do still use Auto Focus though, as I do not trust my ability to manually focus the lense.
    I believe I am now a Manual Mode convert. I've been out a few times and shot only in manual mode. It is easy to use, especially with the metering indications shown at the bottom of the viewfinder on my camera.

    Thanks everyone for chiming in.

    Bill

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    I have found that getting a shot with a good histogram that's biased to the right but not blowing out the highlights using manual mode gives me the best results. I don't get the underexposures that Auto gives me when the headlights throw the meter off. Also if you can, shoot raw files and process them later. You get more detail in the file to work with later. Jpegs are the worst because the file thows out lots of detail when the camera creates them.

  6. #16

    Thumbs up

    Ken is spot-on. The XSi was my first DSLR (NOT my first SLR), and his info is correct. If your mind is quick, of course manual will do, but I use spot metering on the 7D and haven't got a mis-read in a looooong time.

    Just stay away from 'dem headlights.....
    Barry R. Byington
    Chuggington, TX
    KE5YYR

    "To a casual observer, roster photography might seem trivially easy, but this is an illusion."
    (Jim Gilley, aka Grumpy)

  7. #17
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    Barry's digging up some old threads with his catching up, and i mean that in a very good way. Since we first started this thread I have modified my normal procedure in a way that I find helps a lot in this area. If you camera will allow, enable the 'back-button AF & meter" option. What this does is separate the shutter button and the meter and/or AF action. (Canon allows you to back button the AF only, the Meter only or both) I have mine set that I can press the back button to focus and set the meter, then reframe the shot for composition, then when I press the shutter the metering and AF do not change. Typically my sequence is: back-button focus and AF on the ballast at the point the train WILL BE. The ballast is neutral and I can tell pretty quickly what the resulting Av will be (shooting in Tv). If all is fine, then when the train gets to that spot, press the shutter and the headlights won't affect the settings in the least because the shutter is all I'm doing, as the AF and meter were separated from the shutter button and set without the lights being there.

    If you are in a highly mobile situation, keeping your thumb on that rear button will keep the focus and meter moving as it needs to as things change, similar to having it all on the shutter button again.
    Last edited by kenw; 03-23-2012 at 12:55 PM.
    More pics in Kenw's Gallery

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    I've been reading photo forums and manuals for years, and I have to say, that's the best explanation of using the * button, on the back, that I've ever read. So many just say "I use the setting for focus on the *"

    I see now this is an older thread. The reason why people got "better" shots with film, is it has a much wider latitude than digital.

    Yes, the headlights will confuse the sensors and the metering. End of story. But for the preset (Manual Reading), I usually use a Sunny spot of grass or trees, that's going to be in the middle. Ballast is a good example but can vary.

    With film you could expose for the shadows and that was the easy standard. Now I expose for the shadows and have the camera set +1/3rd, which has worked out best personally. It's better to make things darker, than to bring up shadows and get that speckled noise.

    Some people will argue that you can have whites blown out. Yes, but you won't have shadow areas that look like confetti. LOL

    There's no perfect answer, but I prefer shooting to the right a tiny bit and adjusting back for nice contrast.

    Lets see if I got this right. I spend all this money on lenses and a camera that has the newest processors, all kinds of automatic settings, custom functions and features... then I shoot Manual?

    Yes, very often, depending on the situation, that's right.


    Quote Originally Posted by kenw View Post
    Barry's digging up some old threads with his catching up, and i mean that in a very good way. Since we first started this thread I have modified my normal procedure in a way that I find helps a lot in this area. If you camera will allow, enable the 'back-button AF & meter" option. What this does is separate the shutter button and the meter and/or AF action. (Canon allows you to back button the AF only, the Meter only or both) I have mine set that I can press the back button to focus and set the meter, then reframe the shot for composition, then when I press the shutter the metering and AF do not change. Typically my sequence is: back-button focus and AF on the ballast at the point the train WILL BE. The ballast is neutral and I can tell pretty quickly what the resulting Av will be (shooting in Tv). If all is fine, then when the train gets to that spot, press the shutter and the headlights won't affect the settings in the least because the shutter is all I'm doing, as the AF and meter were separated from the shutter button and set without the lights being there.

    If you are in a highly mobile situation, keeping your thumb on that rear button will keep the focus and meter moving as it needs to as things change, similar to having it all on the shutter button again.

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by B_Kosanda View Post
    I have a question on the obvious exposure difficulties shown in the second photo. The first photo is my set-up shot to make sure the camera is working correctly. The second shot is taken 5 seconds later and is under-exposed.

    Both are taken in shutter priority, at 1/250. The first got exposed at f6.3, the second got exposed at f10. Both are taken with a Canon XSi in Evaluative Metering mode.

    My thought is that the locomotive headlights may have over-biased the exposure setting. I expected the evaluative metering mode to be less susceptable to point sources of light. Is another metering mode a better choice?

    Bill
    I'm simply wondering if you have a problem with the camera. Two stops variation with not a lot of change in the scene seems odd. I doubt that a headlight would do that much at that angle.

  10. #20

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    I like the first shot.

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