Metering and Compensating in Mykonos

The island of Mykonos has got to be one of the loveliest places to visit.  It is so picturesque, everything is painted white and you have the blazing sun.  Hmmm sounds like a real challenge to photograph and capture any detail.  Almost exactly like shooting in snow, the bright white can overwhelm your camera so there are few tricks to remember.  We also can take huge advantage of shooting in digital and camera Raw which would be impossible in film. First, change the metering mode of your camera from the Matrix or Center-weighted modes to Spot metering.   In Matrix mode your camera is looking at the entire scene and setting your shutter and/or aperture based on the overall light in the image.  If the majority of the picture is bright white, any details in the shadows will be lost.  By setting the mode to Spot and then focusing on the shadows you will have plenty of details.  I focused on the edge of the bell for this shot.

Second, exposure compensation is your friend.  Unless I am shooting fast action or moving water I always shoot in Aperture Priority mode.  I want to control the depth of field and choose how much of my pictures will be in sharp focus and where the soft background will begin.  With these bright scenes and even with the camera in spot focus mode, the images were still overexposed.   So I took advantage of my ability to override the camera’s settings with exposure compensation.   For most of the daylight shots here, I had -1/3 f stop set in.  As the afternoon came on, I cranked it up to -2/3.  In effect I was telling the camera to let in a little less light than it thought it needed.    Oh, be aware that the settings you apply remain there until you reset them.   A good habit is to restore all your settings after a session.

Lastly and slightly more technical, we can take advantage of the editing capability in Camera Raw.  That funny little histogram on the back of the camera show the range from pure black (0) on the far left to pure white (255) on the right.  We measure how many pixels fall in each of the 256 bins in our photographs.  In fact, the ability of the camera to capture that information is not even. Your camera can capture significantly more detail in the range from mid-grey to pure white than it can in the shadows.  If you shoot in RAW and you overexpose your pictures some, you are much better off.  You can process the pictures and by reducing your exposure as much as a full -1--1.5 stops, pull out all the details without adding much visible noise.   Of course it is better to get it right in the camera.  However, that doesn’t always happen.  I don’t lose a lot of sleep over it, if the photo comes out the way I saw it with my eyes and my mind.  If you are thinking of visiting I can highly recommend the Rhenia bungalows. http://www.rhenia-bungalows.com/   The accomodations were incredible,

the staff made you feel like family and they had the coolest pets. 

 More blogs to come on Greece, including Shooting sunsets even when the sun doesn’t cooperate, and Panoramamania!