EYV 4 Exercise 4.1

The brief

Set your camera to any of the auto or semi-auto modes. Photograph a dark tone, a mid-tone and a light tone, making sure that the tone fills the viewfinder frame. Add the shots to your learning log with quick sketches of the histograms and your observations. Repeat the exercise in manual mode, this time adjusting either your aperture or shutter to place the dark, mid and light tones at their correct positions on the histogram.

Auto mode shots

White sheet of paper

Mid-grey carpet

Black slate

Manual mode shots

White sheet of paper

Mid-grey carpet

Black slate

Comments

I have previously made adjustments to compensate for the camera’s propensity to generate mid-grey images when shooting scenes that are predominantly dark or light by using partial or spot metering and/or exposure compensation, but have never thought of consulting the histogram during live shooting, so this was a very interesting exercise as it gave a much more precise way of obtaining the adjustment needed to make the image show white paper and black slate correctly. I had to use manual focus as the camera was struggling to find a focal point on the paper and slate, and the thought that shooting raw in manual mode with manual focus represents (in the words of the exercise brief) “an intuitive kind of photography that isn’t controlled in any way by the camera” put an interesting and empowering slant on the task.