Digital Photography 1 on 1: Episode 28: Metering Part 4: Advance Light Meter

[intro music] Announcer: Adorama TV presents, “Digital Photography,
One on One, ” where we answer your questions. Here’s your host, Mark Wallace. Mark Wallace: Hi, everybody, I’m Mark Wallace.
Welcome to this week’s episode of “Digital Photography, One on One.” A couple of weeks
ago, we talked about some of the basics of metering light using a light meter. This week
we’re going to take it a couple of steps further. So, we’re going to get started with a question
from Jeff Young. Jeff wrote, “Could you explain how to use some of the advanced features of
your meter? Do you know any good tricks?” [background music] That’s a great question, Jeff. Now, just a
disclaimer on this episode; this is an advanced episode, so if you’re looking for basic light
metering information… we did that a couple of weeks ago… so, either, go to our You
Tube channel, or just go to a couple episodes back on iTunes, and you’ll find that episode. I want to start out by talking about the difference
between incident and reflective metering. Normally, when you use a light meter, you’re
using incident metering, which is metering like this, hitting the LumiSphere. Reflective metering is a little bit different.
Reflective metering is when you use what’s called a spot meter. This is a Sekonic L758DR.
It’s got a spot meter built in. So, you hold that up to you eye. It’s got a little target;
a little circle, that you put it exactly where you want to meter. If I want to meter my hand, I’d put it on
my hand. The light that’s coming and hitting my hand is bouncing off; it’s reflecting,
and coming into the light meter, itself. That’s reflective metering. The difference is: reflective metering is
looking to average an 18 percent gray. So, you have to know how metering works. It’s
really useful. Reflective metering is really useful in several situations; most notably,
when you’re shooting landscapes or scenes where you can’t physically go to the area
you’re shooting. So, if you’re on the south rim of the Grand
Canyon, and you want to shoot the north rim, you can’t actually run across and hold this
up to your camera. So, you could use a spot meter to figure out the different values.
Or, for subjects that generate light; neon signs, televisions, or something that’s got
a really bright background. Again, if you use an incident meter, it’s
not seeing the light coming from behind. Reflective metering really helps out. Very similar to
that are materials that are highly reflective like chrome. Because, again, there’s a lot
of light reflecting, so you could meter that accurately. My favorite reason to use reflective metering
is when you want to use the zone system. We’re going to explain that in just a couple minutes.
So, here are some of my favorite tricks to use with the Sekonic L759DR. We’re going to
go into the studio and show those to you right now. One of my favorite features of this meter
is called, Auto-reset cordless flash metering mode. Simply, what that means is that it gives
you a little bit of extra help in the studio when you don’t have an assistant on hand. How this works is; this meter has a standard
quarter 20 threaded socket at the bottom. It will be mounted right on a normal light
stand, or a tripod… it can screw right on there. I’m going to do that and put this stand
exactly where I want to meter my light. When I’m in the right Auto reset cordless
flash metering mode, what I can do is I can hit my metering button, and my meter is going
to wait up to 90 seconds for a strobe to fire. Once it does, then it will display the correct
aperture value. Then, it’s going to wait another 90 seconds.
As long as the strobe fires within those 90 seconds, it will reset, and wait another 90
seconds. It’s a really handy trick. Here’s how you use it. I’ll go ahead and push this.
My meter is now waiting for a strobe to fire. I’ll zip over here to my camera, and I ‘m
going to trigger my strobe, using my Pocket Wizard. As soon as that happens, I’m metering
at 22. I think that’s a little bit hot for what I want. So, I can just change my power
on my pack, here. And, when I hit that, it’s going to meter
again. So, it meters at F11. I’ll just confirm that. Yep. I metered at F11, and then I can
dial in my camera. And I can do all that stuff right here without having to worry about having
somebody hold my meter. It’s a really useful trick and I use it all the time in the studio. Another really useful feature of the L758DR
is that it has two scales. By default, you have an aperture value scale on your meter,
but you can also have and EV scale. You can switch by hitting ‘mode’ and then this ‘average’
button. Now, you can see that we have an EV scale. This is really, really useful when you’re
checking for light ratios, and making sure that your camera is exposed within its dynamic
range. We’re going to talk about that, next. The EV scale is very, very useful when you’re
trying to figure out light ratios. This meter makes it very, very simple, using Delta EV
metering. What that means is; sometimes you want to know the difference between one light
and another, so you can set your light ratios appropriately. If I want to know the difference between this
light and this one, specifically, in the stops; I want to see if this is two stops, or one
stop, or twenty stops different than this one. I can do that with this light meter. Here’s how it works. You take the LumiSphere,
and you want to put that down. Then, point it to the first light you want to meter, usually,
your key light. Then, I’ll take a meter reading. Now once I do that, I will push the memory
button, which is over here, and that stores it in memory. You can tell it’s in memory
because the indicator used to flash. Now it’s a solid. So it’s saying that’s in memory. After I have done that, I can push my Average/Delta
EV button. What that allows me to do is either average my values or see the difference in
those values. And so, I am going to use the second feature which is showing the difference. What I am going to do is, now I am going to
put my lumisphere pointing to the second light. And here’s a very important thing. When I
meter I need to push the meter button and hold it. As ling as I hold it, it’s going
to show me the EV difference, in other words how many stops different it is from this light
to this one. So I’ll push this and hold it and as long as I’m holding it, it’s showing
me that there is negative one point eight stops difference between this light and this
one. Then I can go and I maybe make a change in
my light output. And then I can do that again. I am going to put my hand here so it will
be a much lower value. [ding] As long as I hold that it is showing now negative three
stops. I can do that again. [ding] . It shows me what that difference is. And so I can do
all my adjustments and make sure that my light ratios are perfectly repeatable every single
time. [sound effect] Now this next section is definitely for the
advanced user. What we are doing here in this scene is we have a very high contrast image
where we have absolute black all the way to absolute white and we’re able to do that employing
the zone system. Now if you don’t about the zone system I highly recommend this book.
It’s called “Zone System.” It’s written by Brian Lav. What we are doing here is we have what is
called the calibrated dynamic range scale on the meter. And what that does is I was
able to calibrate my lens and camera body, and to tell exactly what the dynamic range
of that camera was, and then place that inside my light meter. So I can take readings to
see if the scene actually falls within the capabilities of my camera. So that’s really
nice. And I did that using the Sekonic calibration software that comes with this meter. Now what we are going to do here is, we are
going to start using the zone system. So I am going to put my meter in reflective metering
mode by just rotating this dial here. And then I can use spot meter to look through
and take different readings. The first thing I am going to do is I am going
to take a meter reading for zone five which is middle gray. So I have a grey card to make
sure we get this right. Hold that right there, Don. Great. And I am going to take that. [ringing]
And that meter’s right at F5. Now what I am going to do is, I am going to
put that in memory and by doing that I am locking in the middle gray on my meter. Now
what I can do is I can start taking different meter readings and it’ll start plodding that
on my dynamic range scale. So I am going to take a meter reading of the light points,
put it into memory, take a meter reading of a dark point, put it into memory. And you
can see that it will start building that on the scale. And then again, I can see if I
can actually capture the image that I see with my eyes. I am going to go ahead and do that. I am going
to take a meter reading here on the shirt. [beep] Put that in memory. I am going to take
a meter reading on the dress here, put that in memory. OK. And we can see that I’m just
right at the limits of my camera’s dynamic range, which is great. That’s what I want
to do because I want an absolutely high contrast image. Once I do that, I can just repeat that and
take different meter readings on different parts of my scene. I can add flags and reflectors
and things to adjust as necessary. So I can sort of shape the light without even having
to look at my camera. It’s pretty nice. The nice thing is, once you have that you
can adjust the scene to your creative vision by underexposing or overexposing or moving
the middle gray on the scale. So this meter allows you to that at any time. You can take
a reading and say, no, that’s what I want my mid tone to be, zone 5, and it’ll shift
all those readings up or down. So it’s a very, very powerful tool. What I want to do is, we set middle gray or
zone five at 5, now what I want to do is I want to put this back into incident metering
mode. And I’ll take another reading. And this is going to read at… [ringing] Yeah. So
this reads at F8, which is a totally different value. So what I can do now is — I am going
to take a couple of different pictures — I am going to show you the difference between
using the zone system and the advanced reflective metering mode as opposed to the incident metering
mode. And you can see there’s just a big difference of how the image looks. [music] Well there you have it. There are a few of
my favorite techniques for using the Sekonic L-758DR. This is my favorite meter, the one
I use every day. I highly recommend it. Well remember, if you have questions about
photography or photography related gear, you can send those to me at [email protected]
And if you’re watching us on YouTube please subscribe. We’d love to know how many people
are following us and respond to some of your questions. Well that’s it for this week. I’ll see you
next week. [music and sponsor advertisement]

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