Exposure Settings

On September 26, 2010, in New Mexico, Photography Tips, by admin

White Grasshopper, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

During classes at the Washington School of Photography we spent quite a bit of time discussing proper exposure.  Because your digital camera will try to make the average color value in your image a mid-tone gray, there are scenes in which your camera will struggle to get the correct exposure.  Two classic cases in which your camera will struggle is the polar bear on a snowy surface and a black cat in a coal bin.  Since the camera will try to make the  average color value mid-tome gray, both the white polar bear and the black cat will appear gray.  Not very pleasing!

On a trip to the White Sands National Monument I found another scene where my camera struggled to achieve the proper exposure.  A white grasshopper on the white sands!  During a sunset tour of the park with one of the rangers we ran across this guy (almost stepped on him before the ranger pointed him out).

I varied my exposure compensation but just could not achieve a good exposure (from what I could tell using the small display on the back of my camera and using the histogram).   I finally let the camera set the exposure and then adjusted the image in Photoshop when I got home.  Since this was a difficult exposure, I did not feel it was “cheating” to use Photoshop to correct the image.

By the way, I also saw one of the local ranchers riding a camel through the dunes.  Now THAT was an unexpected sight!  The park ranger said that the rancher brought the camel to the park every evening for exercise (for the camel, not the rancher).