27 Measuring Exposure

This exercise asked for 4-6 images deliberately under or over the metered value, then describing why the deviation from the metered exposure. The next part then asks for 5-6 bracketed images making five exposures for each in half stops from -1 EV to +1 EV and commenting on which is preferred and why.

Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 28-300mm lens and others. Nikon NX2 and DXO for image processing with exposure compensation turned off. These images where taken during a couple of visits to the local beach.

Single exposure compensated exposures:

Sunset on the Bay


For this image I shot in RAW mode at -2 EV and then applied the HDR process in DXO on the image to hold the foreground shadow detail whilst trying to maintain as much highlight detail as possible.

Moon setting over the bay


This image was taken at about 5:50am in the morning with the moon sinking into the horizon in front of me and the sunrise coming up behind me. The exposure was spot metered from the moon which equates to a -2EV value from the center weighted reading. The alien colour of the moon is due to the blue being stripped out by the atmosphere.

Fishermen silhouette


Taken very late in the afternoon this heavy on the -3 EV, spot metered again off the sky, to achieve this silhouette of fishermen in the bay.



This image of the bi-plane flying over the beach was shot at -1 EV to better hold the shadow detail under the wing, whilst maintaining the cloud highlight.

Bracketed exposures:

City +1 EV


City +1/2 EV


City metered EV


City -1/2 EV


City -1 EV


This is my preference out of these images, this shows the image as I saw it very late in the day looking over the bay to the city, with the last rays of the sun hitting the buildings as it fell into night.

Clouds +1 EV


Clouds +1/2 EV


Clouds metered EV


Clouds -1/2 EV


This is my preferred image, the half stop under is the closest to my recollection of what I saw and was trying to capture. The slight darkening of the image helps the mood and shows dull morning light as it was, the red accents in the cloud are from the suns deep warm colours as it rose behind me.

Clouds -1 EV


Beach boxes +1 EV


Beach boxes +1/2 EV


This is my proffered image, half stop over exposure just pulling out the detail in the shadow of the beach boxes and holding the sky. This can now of course be achieved better with ‘smart lighting’ software either in camera or processing software.

Beach boxes – metered


Beach boxes -1/2 EV


Beach boxes -1 EV


Mooring post +1 EV


Mooring post +1/2 EV


I could pick any of these images for various reasons, but the lighter image suits my preferences.

Mooring post metered


Mooring post -1/2 EV


Mooring post -1 EV


Photographers +1 EV


Photographers +1/2 EV


The half stop just lifts enough shadow detail in this shot.

Photographers – metered


Photographers -1/2 EV


Photographers -1 EV


Of course there various software elements that can be put into play these days to hold shadow and highlight detail, but doing it manually is a great way to learn and has taught me a lot about my camera and its dynamic range. Plus of course using RAW would give considerably more latitude.


39 Concentrating light

Concentrating light asks us to do exactly that, buy placing a cardboard tube or cone around the flash in my case to focus the light into a smaller area in a single part of the scene. This is to be achieved making a card tube ‘snoot’ around the end of a flashgun to focus the light into a smaller area than normal. This exercise is unclear on the number of images so I have assumed 1-2 shots.

Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 105mm lens, speedlight flash, card tube, white card as a reflector and light stand.


Low flash and camera angle has created the appearance of a long narrow line of light isolating the subject.


Much higher angle this time for both camera and light, with a very small aperture on the snoot to create a small point of light.


Widening the snoot aperture this time and framed so only the foreground is illuminated. On all these shots there is a white card just out of shot reflecting some light back into the shadows of the model.

38 Contrast and shadow fill

This exercise had a specific setup required to take the images. Shooting and lighting level to the subject with the light at three feet away at right angles to the camera view, a first image to be taken without a diffuser, then the next with a diffuser attached. There are then five images to be taken with; 1 with white card placed three feet, on the opposite side of the light, three feet away; 2 with the white card half as close; 3 with the dull side of the foil replacing the card; 4 with the bright side of the foils; 5 with the bright foil crumpled.

Equipment used:  Nikon DSLR, 105mm lens, speedlight flash, light stand, white card and tin foil.

Lighting without diffuser


The highest contrasting image by far of the set.

Lighting with diffuser


The contrast has reduced considerably and the shadows softened, the backdrop has also illuminated more by the diffused light.

Lighting with diffuser and white card at three feet


This has filled the shadows reasonably

Lighting with diffuser and white card at one and a half feet


The shadows are clearly filled with more light and detail at this position.

Lighting with diffuser and dull foil


A reduction in the shadows even further.

Lighting with silvered foil


The shadows now are much fainter on the left of the model. This is the most ‘filled’ image of the set.

Lighting with crumpled silver foil


The fill from the reflected light is a little more random here, with some parts bettered filled than others. With the exception of this last shot, which fits between the dull and the silver foil images, these images are in order of most to least contrast.

30 Judging Colour Temperature 2

Part II of the colour temperature experiment. This exercise asked us to take three photographs of the same subject but this time with auto, daylight and shade white balance settings. One in full midday sun, one in midday shade and the last in last evening sun. Equipment used Nikon DSLR and 28-300mm lens. Image processing in NX2 and DXO (all colour change options switched off)

Full Sun Light

Full midday Sun – auto white balance


Full midday Sun – daylight white balance


It is interesting to note that the auto image is cooler than the daylight white balanced one,  even though taken before 2pm it is clear that either; this is a nature of the cameras software or even in mid spring the colour temperature of the light in Melbourne near 2pm is on the warm side. This slightly warmer image is my preference, as the auto white balance is too cool and the shade white balance too warm..

Full midday Sun – shade white balance


In midday light the shade setting has by its nature has of course created an image that is too warm. So much so that it looks like the shot was taken later in the evening.


Midday shade – auto white balance


Midday shade – daylight white balance


Again this is my preference for exactly the same reasons stated for the sunlit shots above.

Midday shade – shade white balance


The shade white balance has again created a very warm image, too warm fo my liking, for a picture obviously taken in shade this looks wrong.

Late Evening Sunlight

Late evening sun – auto white balance


Here the auto white balance has produced a pleasing warm late in the day looking image and is my preference. The daylight and shade white balances are just too warm.

Late evening sun – daylight white balance


Late evening sun – shade white balance


The shade white balance has created a very orange image here as you would expect and is unusable.

Not quite the results I was expected but I have double checked the white balance settings for each shot. Clearly and effect of camera software or local colour temperature.

40 Shiny surfaces

From having played with a few small shiny objects in previous exercises I knew this would not be easy. It turned out not to be easy to find an object that was not a repeat of what I had already photographed and was small enough to fit inside the tracing paper cone..

The exercise asks for a shiny, reflective subject to be placed on the floor on a black velvet background and photographed from above. First with the light source next to the camera, then the same lighting but with a diffusion cone made out of tracing paper from the lens to surround the subject. After that then free to move the light anywhere.

My object is a large silver yacht, which when trying to lay flat on the floor, it would lay at an obvious angle. So I had place a glass under the bottom of the larger sail to lift it slightly of the black cloth (sorry no velvet) and make it level to the camera. 

Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 28-300mm lens, speedlight flash and tracing paper.

Light next to camera – no tracing paper cone


As you can see the light has reflected straight back at the camera.

Light next to camera – with tracing paper cone in place.


The tracing paper cone has reduced the reflection but not enough, with the light still next to the camera.

Tracing paper set-up with light moved to suitable angle.


With the light moved back onto a stand and to an angle 45 degrees to the side and pointing 45 degrees down, there in no longer any direct reflection back to the camera. However you can now see a reflection of the camera lens in the main sail.

Setup as above – camera moved…


So with everything the same as before but now the camera is not directly above the yacht, it has been moved towards the boat hull and effectively looking up at the subject. Without a shift lens or a technical camera it’s about as good as it gets, if I’d had another flash I could have finished off with better lighting, but this has achieved the objective.


34 Tungsten and fluorescent lighting

This exercise is designed to explore the properties of Tungsten and Fluorescent lighting. The first part of the exercise did not involve a camera, just the human eye, in an experiment to see if we were able to see the colour casts the the camera can.

First towards dusk I stood in the room with the tungsten lights on, standing by the window looking out into the garden for a few minutes, then I turned to look into the room, which now looked yellow. Then in continued to look in the room for a few minutes then turned back to the window and the garden scene now looked blue. The yellow of the tungsten lights is also quite obvious when walking in the dark and observing house lights from afar.

The second part was more typical asking for a photograph showing a tungsten lit interior, with a window visible towards dusk. These were to be taken at daylight, auto and tungsten white balance settings.

The third part was to find two locations using fluorescent lighting and compare images taken at auto and fluoro white balance settings and compare the results. It was also noted that fluorescent light does not produce a full spectrum illumination, as a rule the older/ cheaper lights typically have a strong green cast but these lights have no standard and can vary considerabley.

Equipment used Nikon DSLR, 28-300mm lens and tripod. Image processing Nikon NX2 and DXO.

Tungsten and daylight

Daylight white balance


On daylight white balance setting you can clearly see the heavy yellow cast from the tungsten lighting, but the view through the window has no cast.

Auto white balance


On auto white balance the sensor can clearly see the opposing colour temperatures and has tried to balance the resulting image. But now you have a yellow (less than daylight white balance) in the interior and a blue cast of the exterior, which in this case is probably the worst of both worlds.

Tungsten white balance


On tungsten white balance the interior is now the correct cream colour, but of course the daylight outside now has a heavy blue cast. Assuming this is where the subject is this would be the better setting and avoid the window in the shot or close the curtains. If you need ped to balance the interior and exterior colour balances my preference would be to use flash to light the interior, which is daylight balanced.

Fluorescent only

Scene 1 small CFL lamps – for this shot I replaced my tungsten bulb with a very cheap CFL one.

Auto white balance


Fluoro white balance


Scene 2 older strip lights – real old style fluoro lights in my garage.

Auto white balance


Fluoro white balance


In both the CFL and the old Fluoro tubes the auto white balance of the camera has produced a warm result and the Fluoro setting has attempted to produce a more neutral image. But in both cases has produce a cool blue/green image and the cheap CFL lamp image is clearly lacking in colour.

That all said there are a number of elements that are not clear, the type of lamps used I could not determine, as there appears no standard to these lamps and the more I read, the more I realise that they can produce very mixed results depending on their colour temperature and range, which may not even be continuos.

Plus my camera has many fluorescent options and can also be set to white at almost any colour temperature, so clearly I need to do some more work to understand these options. If I then add the complexity of options if I shoot in RAW these increase again in the image processing options available.

Assignment Three Feedback – Colour

What follows is my tutors feed back, my comments are in blue italics. I am really pleased with the feedback, from my own assessment I know I have some work to do still on other photographers work, the remaining exercises and assignments. But its nice to be on the home straight and getting good constructive feedback.

Overall Comments

Scanning through the submission I can see some strong images. It is always a pleasure to look at a submission which has been created with thought and effort.

Feedback on assignment: Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity 

Colour harmony.

The first image (apart from the colour wheel), is of an orange and blue building. This is well observed and well photographed, with perfect verticals and exposure. This is followed by an image of a green petrol tank against a red door. There are two other red elements and some yellow in the shot and the whole is presented in a well balanced way.

The third photograph shows another orange and blue combination on a sculpture. The close-up image has a strong graphic quality due to the crop. This is a good use of diagonals, and the grouting between the tiles makes for an interesting pattern.

Shot four is well observed and perfectly excuted. You have seen the colour green in the glass, where many would have missed it.

Number five is a simple, yet strong abstract of yellow and red. The helpful supporting image gives it context and shows how you isolated your important elements.

The next shot has more muted colours, but is still a good observation. The ochre and yellow foreground is in harmony with the green background and compositionally the proportions work well.

The image of the waters edge has unusual colours and it’s difficult to see where the yellow colour is coming from, but nevertheless, it is a nice abstract. Without the random red patches in the right side, the image would have been unbalanced and lopsided.

Colour contrast.

The picture of the lady in red walking along the street is the strongest so far and is an example of excellent pre-emptive observation and perseverance. You missed the shot, but made sure you got it on the second attempt.

The vivid red walkway in the next image is another great example of strong graphic abstract shapes and makes for another great colour contrast image.

The blue bikes against the yellow background are well split between the upper and lower parts of the frame, with just a hint of a diagonal. The verticals are a bit out on this one though.

The red lettering spelling out ‘red’ on the yellow background must have seemed like a gift when you found it, and works really well here. Strong shapes and good proportions.

You have another unusual choice in the next image; the yellow circle with blue chairs behind. This is well seen and you have chosen a shallow depth of field which has made the yellow circle stand out against the slightly blurred background. I like it when a photographer spots a picture in a less than obvious place.

Colour accent.

Three very good colour accent pictures here, all working well in their own way. The picture of the shells does have some wonderful examples of yellow ochre’s and slate blues, and there are a multitude of tiny colour accents.


A really good submission showing very clearly that you have developed a good eye and are always on the look out for the right shot. Going down the still life route would have been an easy option and although it would have fulfilled the brief, it would not have helped you see better. A good photographer has to have the attitude of a hunter, actively looking all the time, not expecting the camera to do everything. Too many photographers think that the camera does all the work and it’s only a matter of pointing it somewhere. Your submission shows me that you can see. 

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays Context

Your blog shows that you are busy with your reading and continuing with your exercises. You have put a lot of work in and your commitment is obvious. Some of your exercises have a great number of images and show a thorough working through of ideas.