Dawn sky in Beverly Hills

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 Post subject: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:30 pm 
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Taking my car in for service, I noticed a vivid morning sky to the east as I was driving through Beverly Hills. I pulled over, backed up, rolled down my window and took the shot with my M-9 and Summicron-M 35mm ASPH. ISO was 800, WB on auto, manual exposure was f4 at 1/125 (as I recall). Because of the wide field of view, I had to crop a substantial amount. I increased the saturation to approximate the sense I had of the vivid sky "popping" out of the darkness and into my peripheral vision.


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 Post subject: Re: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:01 pm 
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It appears that maybe you were also just coming out from under a marine layer of clouds that helped to entrap the colors in the intense morning sunrise. Looks like you got all of the digital zones in one image!


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 Post subject: Re: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 3:42 pm 
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As you know, the Los Angeles basin frequently has a morning marine layer, so I'm sure you're correct about the reason for the brilliant sky colors. The M9 uses center-weighted average metering, based on about 60% of the frame, so I metered on the sky and guessed the proportion of sky to shadow and decided I wouldn't need to make any exposure compensation when shooting. I must have guessed correctly, because I didn't need to adjust the exposure in LR, just the saturation.


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 Post subject: Re: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:03 pm 
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From what I understand, the metering on the M9 is the same as the classic mode for the M 240, but the latter has an option to use spot metering also (don't know if that option is on the M9). I have attempted to use spot a few times in strong back or side lighting but the results have not been very good. So I think I am going to stick to the 60/40 method & do as you suggest with either bracketing or using exposure compensation. But your image really turned out well for you to capture all of those colors without clipping or blown highlights or shadows.


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 Post subject: Re: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:41 pm 
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The M9 does not have a spot metering mode, as far as I can tell. Now and then I think spot metering is helpful, particularly when I can't approach the subject and there are multiple light sources and/or a complex mix of highlights and deep shadow. For example, back in the 70s when I was assisting a fashion photographer here in LA, I used a Pentax 1-degree spotmeter a great deal to make sure we nailed the exposure on whatever was really important: facial skin tone, garment detail, etc. I also used the spot meter when shooting concerts with a telephoto lens (typically, 200mm). For example, when Peter, Paul & Mary were at Hollywood Bowl, and I was shooting high speed Ektachrome, I would have been in trouble without the spotmeter.

On the other hand, when shooting portraits in close proximity or candids, and the light is relatively well distributed in the frame, I much prefer to take an incident reading. I used to use a SpectraCine professional incident meter, but the metal slides annoyed me. Great, great meter, but really designed for motion picture, not still, applications.

I find the Leica M9 TTL meter is very reliable, as long as I just take a second to reflect (no pun intended) on the qualities of the light and shadow in the frame. But then, that's one reason I (and many of us LVLrs) like the Leica M: it encourages more thoughtful shooting.

By the way, I still have a Gossen Luna-Pro SBC meter (with the Zone VI scale) which I use (always in incident mode) now and then, when I really want to be sure of the exposure.


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 Post subject: Re: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:21 pm 
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It really is quite amazing how accurate the TTL metering systems have become, particularly in the Leica. And I hate to admit it, but I no longer carry a light meter in my bag, but rather rely on the "Pocket Light Meter" app in my iPhone. This can also be adapted to use as an incident meter. I've read a number of online articles where in tests with the top of the line Sekonic & other meters, this iPhone app is either reading the same or within a 1/2 stop or less. I always have the phone with me so I never have to worry about carrying a separate meter. (Also there are apps for DOF/HyperZone calculations as well.) But you are to be commended for your professionalism & serious attention to one of the most important details in photography.

And I quite agree with you about the benefits conferred on Leica users who, with mostly only prime lenses on our cameras, are required to put much more concentration & deliberation into our photography. No zooming, auto-focussing, then followed by spray & pray.

I only know of the Gossen Luna meter by its reputation as a fine German instrument, & assume that it is not digital, only analog needles & manual dials. Now I am impressed!


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 Post subject: Re: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:07 pm 
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Quote:
Spray and pray...

I love it! :D
Yes, the Luna-Pro SBC is an analog meter.


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 Post subject: Re: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 11:53 pm 
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I really only carry a light meter if I'm shooting color reversal film, or if I'm using studio strobes. Once you get used to the center-weighted meter in the M's, it becomes pretty predictable, and I prefer it to multi-zone metering. Plus the even the M9 has a lot of exposure latitude compared to reversal film. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:59 pm 
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You're right DEZ: the M9's exposure latitude has helped me break the habit of checking each photo after shooting. It's freeing to turn off the "auto-review" and shoot with deliberation and confidence.


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 Post subject: Re: Dawn sky in Beverly Hills
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:39 pm 
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James Lehrer wrote:
You're right DEZ: the M9's exposure latitude has helped me break the habit of checking each photo after shooting. It's freeing to turn off the "auto-review" and shoot with deliberation and confidence.


I haven't used "auto-review" in yeeaaarrrs, I find it so annoying! Plus it drains the battery.

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