……..And there’s nothing much to write home about at ground level, zero in on the big show in the sky! That was the case this past week in the farm fields of Eastern North Carolina. The crops are in the ground but they’re months away from showing their stuff. The soothing green foliage provides a nice foreground base but it doesn’t make for a very interesting picture. I always go to spot metering in situations like this. When this mode is selected, the camera meters a circle 3.5 mm (.14 in.) or approximately 2.5% of the frame with the circle centered on the focus point. This makes it possible to meter off center subjects ensuring that the focal point will be exposed correctly even when the background is much darker or much brighter. The result can be spectacular.
The trick is to remember to re-meter as the sky changes which, of course, it is constantly doing. When the sun enters the equation (when it rises above the horizon) be sure to take your meter point away from it. This will ensure a proper exposure.
You’ll probably need to do a little work in post, particularly if you shoot in RAW as I always do. It allows me to change white balance and other aspects of the data to suit me. As one who always under-exposes, I often have to boost shadows and tweak color curves. Be careful with the clarity button in Camera Raw though. Boosting it too much will result in a halo at the horizon. Sharpen the frame and you’re in business. A final tip. Photoshop (Elements etc..) offers a haze reduction button in the editing mode which often works quite well. It’s worth a try. Like so many things, I find digital DSLR’s and processing software at first to be overly complicated to the point of being obtuse but then spend every day thereafter being amazed at what they can do. Have a good week ahead. See you next time.