Light Meter and Zone System

by alexmasonphotography

Today I learnt how to use the light meter and the zone system. Max Light Mid Grey Max Black 10 5 0 Light meter only gives zone 5 Jonathan Worth asked us to get into groups of three and for one of us to be the assistant, one of us to be the photographer and one of us to be the model. He wanted the assistant to direct the photographer. He put each of the groups of three next to one of the lights which he called windows. I thought of them as windows of light and it began to come clear to me as to where the light meter needed to be read in order to get the light in the right place for the desired effect. I started off being the assistant and the first effect Jonathan asked us to do was a silhouette of the model. At first I couldn’t work out where to take the light meter reading from. Then I had a chat with Jonathan and worked out that in order to get the silhouette, I needed to work out where I want the detail. I had to take the light reading off the light to help to deliberately underexpose the subject and create the silhouette effect. I then had to say to the photographer, the f-number and shutter speed. After this I took the camera and played the part of the photographer. We were then told to make it look like the person was falling into a burst of light. We found it difficult because the light meter was telling us to use f1 but we couldn’t get an f number any lower then 4. We had to try and achieve this effect with a ISO of 400 which also made it pretty tough. We had to give in eventually and up the ISO to 800. I took some of the photos for the burst of light shot with a slow shutter speed of an 8th of a second with the ISO of 400. We got a blurred motion and said to Jonathan “yeah it didn’t really work it’s come out blurry” he replied “so what?” and informed us of a photographer called Steve Pyke who always shoots with an 8th of a second. It was an interesting incentive to take on board. I have put the details for each of the test shots including the shutter speed, ISO and aperture as the title for each photo including the silhouette and burst of light photos I spoke about above.

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