Monday, February 16, 2009

Contrast and Exposure: An Exercise

Click image to view at 800 pixels wide

Back to our old friend, the B-17 at the RAF Museum, Hendon, in northern London. The lighting conditions were difficult enough, how would an adventurous photographer handle backlighting as well? The aircraft's belly was floodlit, the main pool of illumination striking between the landing gear, so this offered an interesting high contrast shot in which the gear was silhouetted against the flood. With a manual SLR it would be easy, simply light-meter the belly of the plane, then stand back, frame and shoot. But how to convince the automatic exposure system of the digital to do the same? It was basically a crosshairs situation: I balanced the camera against a vertical beam for stability in the low-ish light overall, and biased the centre of the frame just above the silhouetted landing gear so the system registered the light off the metal and it adjusted exposure to match. Bingo, wheel dark, belly bright! December 2006, Fuji FinePix S5600. Image by Mike.

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