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#1 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 11:53 AM

I'm shooting some kids cutting a Christmas tree down tomorrow. Here in the midwest there is snow on the ground. I'm using 200T film (mainly because it's what I have in the camera at the moment). My concern is that with the light background (ie the bright white snow and possible the sun reflecting off of it) I might loose the subtlety of the details in their faces.

Is there anything that I should know about what might help bring the details out of the faces (fliter, fstop)? There will be wide shots and close ups.

Thanks,
T
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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 03:23 PM

There's no special trick to it; you simply expose for what's in frame, favoring toward proper exposure on your subject. The only difference that snow will make is that it can help add some fill light, and might give you an extra-hot background when your subjects are backlit. But if you're concerned about detail in the faces then don't worry about the background, just let it blow. If the bright background is too distracting in frame or flaring your lens, then just try to frame it out as best you can.

You'll have different exposures between front-lit full sun and backlit/full shade (assuming there are other trees around), so you might want to take incident readings for both areas and adjust your iris as you and your subjects move to those areas. If it's overcast your life will be much simpler -- take a few incident readings near the tree and call it a day.

As for filters, you'll obviously want an 85 plus some ND, and a polarizer can help hold some detail in overexposed sunlit areas. But thinking practically, if you're shooting this handheld by yourself and you're documenting a real-time event, you're literally going to have your hands full riding your exposure, focus, and re-orienting the polarizer from shot to shot. It might be simpler to eliminate the polarizer from the equation (especially when you have to keep taking your eye from a heavily ND'd viewfinder and squinting in the bright snowy sunlight).
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#3 Chris Gravat

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Posted 17 December 2007 - 06:09 PM

When I shoot in the snow I usually use my spot meter and grey card for the faces Or to find my zone 5, then apply the zone system for the snow and everything in the background. But you will definitely want to expose for your shadow areas if shooting 7217. With all the latitude your snow being in or around zone 8 or 9 should be cool.

If you change angles, just make sure everything is still in the correct zone and you should have matching contrast ratios.

hope that helped,

Chris Gravat
Boston, MA

Edited by Chris Gravat, 17 December 2007 - 06:13 PM.

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#4 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 08:47 AM

Thanks folks. That's very helpful.

Can you explain to me how ND filters are gaged? I have all of my filters, except for an ND one. If there is such a thing as an "all or general purpose" one? I'd like to pick one up.

Thanks again for the help. I'll post something when I get it back.

T
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#5 David Regan

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 10:57 AM

If by gauged you mean identified, commonly in increments of N3, N6, N9, N12 etc..., also can be referred to as .3, .6, etc... Each has a filter factor, as does any filter you use, which refers to the amount of light lost from the filter. An N3 as a filter factor of 2, meaning you lose 1 stop exposure. An N12 has a filter factor of 16, through which you lose 4 stops. I'm not sure about an 'all-purpose' ND, think about how much you want to cut down and go from there. Although I would have a few on hand.
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#6 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 18 December 2007 - 02:55 PM

If by gauged you mean identified, commonly in increments of N3, N6, N9, N12 etc..., also can be referred to as .3, .6, etc... Each has a filter factor, as does any filter you use, which refers to the amount of light lost from the filter. An N3 as a filter factor of 2, meaning you lose 1 stop exposure. An N12 has a filter factor of 16, through which you lose 4 stops.


"Can you explain to me how ND filters are gaged? "

Perhaps easier to remember is that it's a logarithmic scale, thus every .3 is equal to one stop.
As in N9 is 9/3=3 stops.

Is math still taught in high school?
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#7 Tom Hepburn

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Posted 20 December 2007 - 10:08 PM

Thanks much folks. I appreciate your responses.

T
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