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Thread: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

  1. #1

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    Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    Hey guys,

    I want to take my Interpid 4XD out into my city during nighttime.
    I have a Sekonic L478.


    But how do I best meter the scene, with have a extra piece to do spotmetering?



    Thanks guys,..

  2. #2

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    Re: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    The 5-degree attachment can only read as low as EV3. Just use the incident meter normally, or start at EV2 and bracket away.

  3. #3
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    Take a white board and meter off of that -- then add the approbriate amount of stops for the proper exposure. The white provides more light for the meter to read in low light.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  4. #4

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    Re: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    In order to make the night photo look like night, reverse the normal metering method. Meter the important highlight , place it on ZOne VII or VIII, and let the shadows fall where they wish.

  5. #5

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    Re: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Noel View Post
    In order to make the night photo look like night, reverse the normal metering method. Meter the important highlight , place it on ZOne VII or VIII, and let the shadows fall where they wish.
    Good advice, Jim.

  6. #6

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    Re: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    Another way is to try a few exposures at varying times/aperture settings. Keep careful notes and let experience be your guide after making prints from the negatives. Depending on the film reciprocity may play a part in exposure planning.
    I tend to procrastinate on stuff. One of these days I'll do something about it.

  7. #7

    Cool Re: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    How about doing test shots with a digital camera? Cheaper than Polaroid!
    https://www.dmihelarakis.com/

  8. #8

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    Re: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    Do the settings translate well to large format? Do you find reciprocity issues crop up translating from digital settings?
    Bill
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

  9. #9

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    Re: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    Quote Originally Posted by dmihelarakis View Post
    How about doing test shots with a digital camera? Cheaper than Polaroid!
    No, there is no reciprocity failure on digital... This has to be factored in for film...

    Most good meters go down to EV 0 or 1, but in a night scene, this is about a brighter spot (about a brighter non-direct light), so in the upper exposure region... Now imagine that EV 0, EV-1, EV-2, and EV-3 are your typical night ranges that are not read, but you can eyeball this, as an area that is barely visible is -3, weak dark areas are -2, and dim lit areas are -1, so you can measure bright and highlight areas, place zone 5 at the bottom of your reading scale (EV 0) and ask yourself about how dark do you want your shadows (with detail) depending on the visual scale above... Then factor in reciprocity figures based on your inital reading...

    If you film test this (and take notes), you will find this does not stray far from this...

    But the problem will be how bright the artificial lights in the frame will be, and if you can balance them with the shadow areas...

    A spot meter is good to find out how bright are the areas under the lights...

    Steve K

  10. #10
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    Re: Lightmetering night city scape (no spot)

    If you can get a spot meter, it will help a lot.
    In the example below, I spot-metered the pools of light nearest the camera, then took 4 bracketed shots overexposed by 1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5 stops. I knew these areas should fall around Zone VI or VII, although one was brighter than the other. I'll probably burn-in the brighter spot when I print this again. I just didn't want to expose too much where I lost the detail of the leaves. This was on Fuji Acros, so no reciprocity compensation up to 3 mins.
    I also spot-metered the wall on the left nearest the camera, which fell at around Zone IV or V at the exposures I was using. I just let the shadows fall wherever they did, as I was looking for a "dark" mood to the shot.

    You'll get better as you experiment more and learn how film "sees" the scene.

    Click image for larger version. 

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