Understanding Exposure - Bryan Peterson


If you want to go beyond point and shoot photography and automatic mode on your camera then this is a great book. Its the book I've wanted to read ever since we got our SLR. I thought I had a pretty good grip on how exposure worked but I learned quite a bit about the basics in this book.

There are a lot of really beautiful photos in this book. They illustrate the concepts in the book very well and the author makes it seem quite possible that I could achieve similar results. The section on aperture, shutter speed and ISO was very good. But the section where I learned the most was the section on metering. I knew almost nothing about this before starting.

After reading the book I can't wait to go out and try some nighttime photography. And of course I have a list of new things to buy, but not so many things. Really just a few filters.

I wish there was a section on using a flash in this book. I'm going to have to look elsewhere for that. I'm sure the author is right when he says its much better to find ways to use available light to capture your subject. But flash pictures are consistently my worst and I'd like to improve them.

Most interesting things learned? Camera light meters automatically set exposure as if the scene is grey (18% grey its called). I guess the majority of scenes are composed of things at about that tone so the camera will adjust to achieve that tone for the photo. This works fine unless the subject is not that tone. In short, to take a photo of something black you need to underexpose by one stop if you want it to be black and not grey or if the subject is white overexpose by one stop. I think cameras that use something called matrix metering probably don't suffer from this and thats why we have always got better results in snow when using my point and shoot.