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Day 214-215/365: Getting Technical with Metering Modes

I read this nice Click it up a Notch article on metering modes yesterday (day 214) and I thought that it might be fun to do a little experiment of my own. I shoot in spot metering mode pretty much all the time now and it was reassuring to see that lots of other people do too. It can be a bit hit and miss, especially when there is nothing obvious to meter off of. All of these articles talk about metering off skin but sometimes there is no skin in the frame. This is where I tend to struggle. I used to get frustrated looking for something that was "middle grey" coloured to meter off of. (Of course if I had my grey card with me then that would be perfect). But then I figured that I needed to be looking for tones rather than colour. My camera actually "sees" in black and white anyway. I am still grappling with this concept.

Anyway, it is my husband's birthday this weekend and I have been researching birthday cakes for him. I used my pile of baking books as a willing subject. These are all SOOC. Of course, you get the best out of spot metering when you have strong back lighting, which I didn't have here.

Evaluative - a bit underexposed?

Centre Weighted - Better exposure?

Spot: Apples for Jam Book - bit underexposed?

Spot: bake book - Good exposure I think.

Spot: Hummingbird (brown) - overexposed?

Spot: Cake Days - very slightly underexposed?

Spot: How to be a domestic godess - underexposed?

Spot: Cake - Good exposure?

Spot: 1001 Cupcakes, cookies..... - Good exposure?

As you can probably see, I find the results difficult to interpret. I am pretty confident that evaluative gave a slightly underexposed image. This has often been my experience of it. Centre weighted was better. Then things get tricky. Spot gives slightly different results depending on what you meter off of, and I am not always sure what is best. In this case I think that they all gave similar results but the dark coloured Hummingbird bakery book gave a more overexposed image and the light coloured Nigella book came out slightly underexposed. If I can't meter off skin I look for sky blues, green grass or a mid red. Failing that I go for anything mid-tone in the image. If the subject is very white or black and I want to preserve the detail, then I meter off that I dial up a couple of notches from the extremes on the meter. I do feel that although it is a bit more effort and can be a bit hit and miss, I am getting better results than with evaluative.
Jasmine would like to report that she thinks I am crazy!


Tonight (day 215) was a much more straightforward affair with a couple of bedtime pictures.