Not surprisingly, lots of flowers and cobwebs this month, but also the astonishing steelwork from Sheffield, insects, trees and even seafood!
Picture of the month goes to Dave, who took this flower picture using flash. This gives great definition and droplets, but is harder than it sounds as flowers are designed reflect light and can end up very glary. So the flash has to be very weak (lots of negative flash exposure compensation, which most cameras have even if it’s at the back end of a menu!) Flash can also ruin the white balance, but not here – bravo Dave!!
Delicate, gossamer subjects can be tricky, as the camera is designed to measure reflected light, and quite often the light is transmitted through the subject instead. Not a problem, it just means that you have to be careful with the exposure compensation and the metering generally. As always, a bit of underexposure is far better than a bit of overexposure, as the blown bits can be hard to reclaim even in the best software. Once you realise that the camera is essentially doing something a bit weird when you point it at this kind of subject, then shooting at -2 exposure compensation, using fill flash, spot metering, focusing here while exposing there etc. seems a bit more reasonable. Delicate flowers and fabrics, cobwebs, stained glass windows and any number of filmy, flimsy subjects require the same treatment.
Equally, if you’re photographing super-light-absorbent subjects – stealth bombers, wood burning stoves, black cats etc it’s worth recognising that from a photography point of view these are strange objects.
Back in the old days, using a hand-held light meter held next to the subject and measuring the light falling on the subject meant that the refectivity of the subject, and the transmission of light was much less important. But now, as our cameras measure the light bouncing off subjects, how reflective they are becomes important. This is why the +/- button is so prominent on your camera.