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.


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