Night Cap – 310/365

I read a really interesting article yesterday by Nasim Mansurov about ETTR – Expose to the right. You can read it to, its here : The Myth of “Exposing to The Left”

It really interested me, becase I am aware of exposing to the right, which is basically where you set your exposure to be as bright as possible, without blowing the highlights out. The theory is sound, what you are doing is capturing as much dynamic range as possible, and so more detail. Then, in post processing you can manipulate the image to bring that detail out.

What interested me was that I kind of do the opposite, and generally slighlty under expose my images. The reason is I like the big flat shadows, and I like to make the highights emerge gently from those shadows. However, long term followers of my journey will know this has led me to battle when trying to capture highly detailed scenes. My flat shadows and soft highlights cancel out some of the detail in the image.

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I put the conflict to bed some time ago, letting my creative side win the battle over technical perfection. After all, photography is an art form, and I’m hyper concisous I am still developing my style, and I don’t want to be influenced by rules, other people or even whats socially acceptable – I want my style to trully be, my style!

So, I began to read the aticle with some trepidation; I was full of intrigue, but also some reservation that I may end up influenced by what I was reading. Again, my sytle is still maturing, and I’m enjoying the warm tones in the highlights, the cool tones in my flat shadows and the soft edged sharpness. Things “emerge” in my images, and I really like that, and I don’t want to lose it by being influenced or conforming to rules.

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So after reading the article, which is a really well written and a balanced view of ETTR and ETTL, and how you can employ it and whether it might work for you; for that I am really grateful as it didn’t influence me, it informed me, which is the sign of a great atricle in my opinion! I used it to inspire todays photograph, and I did a little experiment of photographing something that fits my style, but I experimented with various exposures.

These three images were captured with the following exposure settings:

  • f/8 – 18mm – 8sec – ISO100 (todays main photograph)
  • f/8 – 27mm – 13sec – ISO100
  • f/8 – 27mm – 8sec – ISO100

So if you look at the two images in the main body of the text here, the first one was exposed more to the right than the second image with a slower shutter speed – and I would say its the sharper of the two.

However, when picking the “one” for todays photograph, I chose the one exposed as I normally would, with a more intriguing composition, with the background more faded and again more intriguing – you can just see that its a bed side table becasue of the clock and the corner of the bed, but its not instantly obvious. So its not technically the “best”, but it is the one that appeals to me the most as an image because it’s not super sharp and detailed all over, just where it needs to be.

Learnings – again, I am hyper aware that I’m at a stage in my development where I am very suseptible to influences, and that it may threaten to completely change my perspective, and so my style. Whilst I welcome knowledge and understanding, I do want to continue to protect and develop my own style. The experiment was useful, but I will continue to expose my images how I feel they should be exposed for the effect I’m trying to achieve.


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