The pho­tog­ra­pher’s dozen

There are only 12 key ex­po­sure sit­u­a­tions, and only six that need more care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion

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As al­ready men­tioned in the in­tro­duc­tion, the rea­son there are any ex­po­sure is­sues at all is that even the best, most sen­si­tive Even more than in the three ‘Just Fits’ sce­nar­ios op­po­site, where there is a full range of tones, you can – and should – choose how bright or dark to ren­der your scene when the range of tones fits well the range of your Nikon’s sen­sor. Again, the decision re­ally comes down to whether you want the over­all ex­po­sure to be mostly mid-toned, bright (high-key) or dark (low-key). sen­sors have lim­i­ta­tions in the range of tones that they can cap­ture, from the deep­est shad­ows to the very bright­est high­lights. Some­times When the range of bright­ness in the scene you’ve framed is greater than the cam­era’s sen­sor is able to record, this is when some­thing has to give and you need to take spe­cial care in think­ing about the ex­po­sure. In cases like this, the sub­ject, rather than the back­ground, usu­ally pro­vides the key tone. your sen­sor sim­ply won’t be able to cap­ture ev­ery­thing in the scene you’re try­ing to pho­to­graph. Here are the three groups of ex­po­sure In light­ing sit­u­a­tions like those shown here, in bright (but not harsh) sun­light,

the dy­namic range of the scene more or less matches that of the sen­sor, and there should be no prob­lems achiev­ing a good ex­po­sure. It still, though, means de­cid­ing whether you want the over­all ex­po­sure to be mid­toned, bright or dark. With dark sub­jects against very light back­grounds, the key tone is typ­i­cally (though not nec­es­sar­ily) pro­vided by the lighter back­ground. Ex­pos­ing for this key tone keeps colour in the back­ground, while ren­der­ing the

sub­ject as a graphic sil­hou­ette.

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