Photograph #53 Pure Prairie Sky

July 22nd, 2010

Pure Prairie Sky

A sky so blue, a land so rich

Here’s why the exposure details are worthless

To any other photographer but the one making the exposure. The ‘exposure value’ of the clouds here is ’16′. I’m shooting an nominal ISO of 100, focused at infinity. I could be shooting at f11, f16, or f22 with my 50mm lens, depending on the shutter speed.

Which was it? Can you tell?

The most important thing a photographer can learn is the proper level of exposure. This is given by the ‘exposure value’ or absolute level of light reflected from the brightest object in the frame, exclusive of specular highlights, as from waves or chrome. This value, in conjunction with the ISO of the medium, then determines the range of shutter speed/aperture settings that will expose the medium properly.

A light meter, whether internal to the camera or hand-held, reads the EV and does the math for you. The photographer then makes subjective judgments about depth of field or the degree of motion smear, or the higher or lower tonal values desired.

The actual lens/shutter settings will therefore vary from one person to another, from one situation to another, and will be specific to the moment and situation. There are times the photographer ignores the ‘right’ EV and exposes higher or lower in order to make a good photograph. In this particular case, I followed my light meter.

Rating 3.50 out of 5


  1. George Says:

    Good job, as usual, Walter!

  2. Pam Belding Says:

    I don’t know a thing about cameras but I do know that picture is gorgeous!

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