Exercise 4.1

I enjoyed this more technical task and find the whole Reciprocity Law very interesting if a little difficult (my brain doesn’t work too well with numbers unfortunately!). There are lots of websites (this and this were quite nice), as well as books to look at on the subject (although, in fairness, you need quite a serious technical book to really go into it – beginner books (rightly so) tend to just cover exposure and each parameter quite generally – at least that’s how it seems to me).

In part one of the brief here, it talks about using (observing) the camera’s light meter while shooting, having used manual mode for a couple of years I am familiar with its importance and always use it to create the exposure (mood) that I want (I tend to underexpose – I prefer not to “blow out/wash out” my highlights as a general rule!).
Still, I’ve been using it with a purely intuitive approach, and what with my love of old manual lenses and that glorious click/clunk of the aperture ring I have become quite accustomed to having control of the aperture (and the shutter speed through the use of one of the programmable wheels/dails on my Olympus).
Come to think of it, it has always been part of my photography as I have used it with my film cameras over the years

In part two , the brief speaks about reciprocity (or rather, disactivating it!); the course folder has some really good notes on it (above) which I found interesting. I was aware of the semi-automatic modes and how, by adjusting one parameter, the camera would counterbalance the other factors to keep correct exposure, but I had never heard of the so-called Exposure Equation, or F-Stop Formula which I came across while trying to read up more on the subject of reciprocity.
In the excellent chapter 2 of Photography: The New Basics (Diprose and Robins, 2012, pp47-68) they start off by pointing out that: “…you need to master your camer’s Manual mode so that all the settings become instinctive.”, and how: “Just like a brilliant jazz pianist who never looks at the keyboard, you need to reach a point where the technical aspects of the camera have become second nature…”. They then go on to say that: “With practice, once you understand f-stop numbers, you are halfway to being able to use your camera’s manual settings to make exciting and creative pictures.”
Having read through the chapter and also some pages from Inglewood’s Photography
(Ingledew and Gullachsen, 2013, pp196-200), I still feel a little insecure regarding the equations/numbers – I just really don’t have a mathematical mind!


I’m also thinking, thanks to what I’ve read up on for this exercise (Diprose and Robins, 2012, pp126-7, and from the course notes above as well), about investing in an ‘incident light meter’. Enlightening to learn how that type of handheld meter picks up the incident light falling onto the subject(s) as opposed to the camera’s in-built meter which picks up the refracted (reflected?) light coming off of the subject(s) – fascinating!
I think this kind of meter would be useful for my general photography but also for homemade studio projects etc to help with the varying lights sources where the incident light meter (with some kind of diffuser called a invercone), according to Diprose and Robins, “…is useful for balancing different lights illuminating your subject.” (Diprose and Robins, 2012, p127).
Again, very useful to know! Probably need to invest in a good one eventually!

Anyway, the brief asked us to take some shots and to observe the histogram (and also to sketch it) while playing around in semi-auto modes so here we are:


Picturecorrect.com. (2016). Understanding Reciprocity in Photography – PictureCorrect. [online] Available at: http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/understanding-reciprocity-in-photography/ [Accessed 10 Sep. 2016].

Photography Life. (2015). What is Reciprocal Rule in Photography?. [online] Available at: https://photographylife.com/what-is-reciprocal-rule-in-photography [Accessed 10 Sep. 2016].

Ingledew, J. and Gullachsen, L. (2013). Photography. London: Laurence King Publishing. (pp196-200)

Diprose, G. and Robins, J. (2012). Photography : the new basics. London: Thames & Hudson.


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