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  • Digital ExposureHANDBOOK








    P BOO



    Y 9.9


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  • Digital Exposure HANDBOOKRevised edition


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  • First published 2008 This edition published 2013 byAmmonite Pressan imprint of AE Publications Ltd166 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 1XU, United Kingdom

    Text and photographs Ross Hoddinott, 2013 Copyright in the Work AE Publications Ltd, 2013

    All rights reserved

    The right of Ross Hoddinott to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, sections 77 and 78.

    No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the publisher and copyright owner.

    This book is sold subject to the condition that all designs are copyright and are not for commercial reproduction without the permission of the designer and copyright owner.

    The publishers and author can accept no legal responsibility for any consequences arising from the application of information, advice or instructions given in this publication.

    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

    Publisher: Jonathan BaileyProduction Manager: Jim BulleyManaging Editor: Gerrie PurcellSenior Project Editor: Dominique PageEditor: Rob YarhamManaging Art Editor: Gilda PacittiDesigner: Chlo Alexander

    Set in Bliss

    Colour origination by GMC Reprographics

    Picture credits

    All photographs by Ross Hoddinott, except for the following:

    2020VISION/Ross Hoddinott: 77, 98, 173, 179Ollie Blayney: 87, 88Tom Collier: 64 (top)

    Additional images by: Canon 24, 129; Datacolor 182; Epson 185 (top); Hoya 151 (far right), 160; Lastolite 121, 144; Lee Filters 151, 155, 158; Lexar 168; Nikon 66, 67, 126, 130, 132; Permajet 184/185; Sekonic 17; Wimberley 145.

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    Introduction 8

    The basics of exposure 13

    Exposure in practice 71

    Ambient light 103

    Flash light 123

    Filters 147

    Exposure in the digital darkroom 165

    Glossary 188

    Useful websites 190

    Index 191

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  • 8Introduction

    exposure / noun.The act, or an instance, of exposing a sensitized photographic material, or the product of the light intensity multiplied by the duration of such an exposure.

    Exposure is the heartbeat of photography. Put simply,

    it is the process of light striking a photosensitive

    material, such as lm, photographic paper or a digital

    cameras image sensor. Understanding and being

    able to control exposure is critical to successful

    photography. However, it is a subject that, at times,

    can appear complex and confusing not only to

    beginners, but enthusiasts as well. So many things

    can in uence exposure, including the time of day,

    focal length of the lens, subject movement, light

    source and any lters attached. Certainly, when I rst

    began taking photography seriously as a teenager,

    I found the theory and technicalities of exposure

    tricky to understand. However, I quickly realized that

    if you try to overlook this key fundamental, your

    photography will suffer and never realize its full,

    creative potential.

    Exposure is a combination of the length of

    time and the level of illumination received by

    a light-sensitive material. This is determined by

    three settings: shutter speed, lens aperture and ISO

    equivalency rating. The shutter speed is the duration

    of time that the cameras shutter remains open,

    allowing light to enter and expose the sensor. The

    aperture or f-stop is the size of the adjustable

    lens diaphragm, which dictates the amount of light

    entering the camera. The ISO speed indicates the

    sensors sensitivity to light. At lower sensitivities,

    the sensor requires a longer exposure to get a good

    result, while at high sensitivities, less light is needed.

    If the combination of shutter time, aperture

    and ISO sensitivity is incorrect, the picture will be

    wrongly exposed. Too much light falling on the

    sensor will result in an overexposed image with

    washed out highlights; too little light and the

    image will be underexposed, appearing too dark.

    Simply speaking, a good photograph relies on the

    photographer employing just the right combination

    of settings to form the correct level of exposure.

    However, while this might be logical in theory,

    I often ask myself: Is there really such a thing as

    the correct exposure? While you could say that

    a correctly exposed image is one that records

    the scene or subject exactly as our eyes see it,

    photography is a subjective and creative art. There

    is no rule stating that a photographer must always

    capture images that are authentic it is subject

    to individual interpretation. Therefore, arguably,

    a correct exposure is simply one that is faithful

    to the vision of the photographer at the moment

    he or she triggers the shutter.

    Todays breed of digital cameras boasts highly

    sophisticated and accurate internal metering

    systems, which are rarely fooled even in awkward

    lighting conditions. They have simpli ed many

    of the technical aspects of exposure, for which

    we should be grateful. However, a camera is still

    only a machine; it cannot predict the effect and

    look the photographer is striving to achieve. It is

    for this reason that you shouldnt always rely on

    your cameras automated settings. Remember:

    you are the artist and, as such, you need to grasp

    control from your camera. Fail to do so, and your

    images will never truly convey your own individual

    interpretation of the subject you are shooting.

    XDamsel yEvery time you take a photo, you are recording

    a unique moment that can never be repeated.

    A good understanding of exposure is vital to

    ensure your image is compelling to others and

    faithfully captures the light, essence and mood

    of that particular moment.

    Nikon D800, 150mm, ISO 200, 1/3sec at f/22, tripod.

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  • 9Introduction

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  • 10

    Digital Exposure Handbook

    Basically, without a good understanding of exposure,

    your images will never progress beyond the realm

    of pleasing snapshots.

    Exposure can be manipulated for creative effect

    in so many different ways. For example, it can be

    used to create the impression of movement, or to

    freeze fast action that otherwise would be too quick

    for the human eye to register. However, the skill isnt

    just to know how to create such effects; you also

    need to be able to judge when to employ certain

    settings. This handbook will help you make the right

    choices. It is designed to be an exhaustive manual

    on the subject, covering every aspect of exposure as

    well as offering helpful and practical advice on ways

    to improve your photography in general.

    My hope is that this guide will inspire you,

    helping to open your eyes to the skills and techniques

    required to manage and control exposure in order to

    create images that succeed in relaying your artistic

    vision. However, reading this book alone will not

    improve your photography; you have to adopt and

    implement the things you learn in your own picture

    taking. After all, photography is a skill and, if you wish

    to improve, it has to be practised.

    X Church silhouetteIn many ways, there is no such thing as a correct

    exposure. For example, technically speaking,

    a silhouette is the result of poor exposure the

    subject being grossly underexposed. However, no

    one could deny that silhouettes create dramatic

    and striking imagery.

    Nikon D300, 2485mm (at 85mm), ISO 200, 2min at f/11, 10-stop ND, tripod.

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  • 1 The basics of exposure