Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shot Records

Greetings, volks. Welcome to Hohenfels Volks, THE place for our place! The wonderful weather has given rise to many photographic opportunities; I hope you’ve taken advantage of it to create some art.

Today we’re going to discuss the importance if shot records. No… not a transcript of your vaccinations. We’re going to talk about recording information about your shots as a learning tool.

A sample shot record

In the above shot, you have fields for all the important information. If you remember in a previous post, we discussed the exposure formula. If you recall, your shutter speed should be the reciprocal of the luminance in foot-candles, at your key stop. Your key stop is the square root of your ISO, or the nearest stop to it. For ISO 100, it’s f/10, ISO 125 it’s f/11, ISO 400 it’s f/20 and so on. In the sample record, we see that shot 3 was ISO 125, metered at f/11. At our mid-tones, we metered 1/200, which means we have 200 foot-candles in the middle of the scale. Notice that trying to keep the middle values properly exposed, we changed to f/16 at 1/100, which gives us the same exposure, but more DOF.

By tracking your shots with something similar, you can keep track of what levels you want to record at the desired exposures and refer back to it once your images are on the computer. Another nice thing about it is the ability to recall where and when you took a shot.

By recording your meter readings, you know how to move your image areas to the desired exposure, according to your vision. In the same example, we see the shadows read 1/25 at f/11. That would expose for 18% gray, as we all know by now. By stopping down 2 stops, say to 1/100, we keep our texture in the shadow areas of the image, while allowing our gray to move up to 18% +1 stop, giving a brighter overall appearance to our image and creating a bit of glow about our middle values. This is especially true when they are surrounded by slightly darker tones, and an even, soft light.

The simple fact is that shot records help us learn, as we examine our images and review our settings, we see how to improve our exposures. We also see how to create better lighting and impact by changing values. I am often remiss in keeping records of my settings as I take the shot, but have a form that I use taken from Ansel Adams’s book, The Negative. It uses zones and luminance values, and includes details on development and the like.

As we move through the phases on our journey toward crafting and making the perfect photo, we can see where we’ve been, and where we’re headed if we keep records. In today’s digital age, EXIF gives us our ISO, f/stop, shutter speed, and other information. The things it can’t give us are our luminance values, meter readings for other than middle gray, and it certainly can’t tell us the real subject of the shot.

That’s enough for today. I hope everyone has the chance to work on crafting their images and creating their masterpiece! Just remember to record the details. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Don’t forget to post any of your images you’d like to see here at the Hohenfels Volks Facebook page. Of course, commenting on both Facebook and here is always appreciated, too! Don't forget, we're on Google+, too!

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