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Back lit subjects

decisivemoment
Contributor

I use a Canon 1100D.

I would like to know what is the most suitable metering mode to photograph a back lit subject in natural light such as a bird pearched on a twig overhanging on a water body in setting sun and why ?

7 REPLIES 7

ebiggs1
Legend

Manual or Av.

Overexpose the subject and bracket your settings.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


@decisivemoment wrote:

I use a Canon 1100D.

I would like to know what is the most suitable metering mode to photograph a back lit subject in natural light such as a bird pearched on a twig overhanging on a water body in setting sun and why ?


If the bird is near the center of the frame (and not actually in line with the sun), I'd use centerweighted averaging. That will keep the background from dominating and leaving the bird as a silhouette. It will blow out the sky, of course, but it's probably the best you can do in natural light. If you're willing to scare away the bird with your first shot, you could try fill flash. Then you might use evaluative metering to decrease the brightness of the sky.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Metering mode doesn't matter, the camera can never decide how you want your image in a situation like this.  As Biggs said, manual or Av (with exposure compensation).  The rest is up to you.  Some would say to over expose so you can see the bird.  Others would develop the sky and leave the bird and twig in a silhouette.  Some would use flash, and still, others would shoot an HDR.  There's little right and wrong in photography, and this is certainly an example of 'Photographer's Choice".  The only thing that I would say is certain in this situation, is that leaving it up to your camera is little more than a craps shoot.


@Skirball wrote:

Metering mode doesn't matter, the camera can never decide how you want your image in a situation like this.  As Biggs said, manual or Av (with exposure compensation).  The rest is up to you.  Some would say to over expose so you can see the bird.  Others would develop the sky and leave the bird and twig in a silhouette.  Some would use flash, and still, others would shoot an HDR.  There's little right and wrong in photography, and this is certainly an example of 'Photographer's Choice".  The only thing that I would say is certain in this situation, is that leaving it up to your camera is little more than a craps shoot.


How does metering mode not matter? Giving preference to the part of the frame that you want to have most properly lit is precisely what it's for.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA


@RobertTheFat wrote:

@Skirball wrote:

Metering mode doesn't matter, the camera can never decide how you want your image in a situation like this.  As Biggs said, manual or Av (with exposure compensation).  The rest is up to you.  Some would say to over expose so you can see the bird.  Others would develop the sky and leave the bird and twig in a silhouette.  Some would use flash, and still, others would shoot an HDR.  There's little right and wrong in photography, and this is certainly an example of 'Photographer's Choice".  The only thing that I would say is certain in this situation, is that leaving it up to your camera is little more than a craps shoot.


How does metering mode not matter? Giving preference to the part of the frame that you want to have most properly lit is precisely what it's for.


Because where the camera chooses proper exposure is irrelevant.  Why does it matter if the camera decides to meter the bird if you choose to expose for the background, or vice versa.  If you're in manual mode, obviouslly it has no impact (other than the 'suggestion' indicator).  And even in Av mode I'm going to be using exposure compensation to fine tune the exposure for my taste, regardless of where the camera chooses to meter.

hsbn
Whiz
For me, I use spot meter, then measure the area that I want to exposure properly.
You can read more of that method here: http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/how-to/shooting/the-digital-zone-system.html
Like others said, in cases of high contrast (like birds against the setting sun), you'll have to make judgement on what to do.
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Weekend Travelers Blog | Eastern Sierra Fall Color Guide

"... you'll have to make judgement on what to do."

 

Otherwise 'bracket'!

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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