Sarah Scott

OCA Expressing Your Vision Notes & Learning Log

Exercise 4.1

Part of Project 1, Exposure

Part 1

Photograph a dark-tone, mid-tone and light-tone; add shots to learning log with histograms and observations.

Ice White mounting board:

Grey card:

Black paper:

The obvious observation is that they’ve all been represented as the same colour by the camera. Everything is mid-grey. The grey card has the most even histogram though. So, as I found out in the snow a few weeks ago, cameras like to make colours grey.

Part 2

Set your camera to manual mode and repeat, adjusting aperture or shutter speed to place the dark, mid and light tones at their correct positions on the histogram.

Ice White mounting board manual mode:

Ice White mounting board 2nd manual attempt:

Grey card manual mode:

Black paper manual mode:

Black paper 2nd manual attempt:


I tried the white and black a couple of times; I couldn’t work out how to display the histogram while taking the image – at least, not making it large enough to see. I was mainly using the exposure meter at the side of the viewfinder, varying the ISO when needed, but mainly the aperture and shutter speed, and working out what combinations were giving me a truer representation of what I was seeing. I did this in the afternoon using daylight but I also had a lamp in the room; the white card wasn’t actually showing up as pure white when I looked at it. If I had overexposed by 1 stop then I would have managed to get pure white, but it wasn’t what I was seeing. I think overexposing by about 2/3 of a stop was closer to the colour I could see.

I did the same thing with the black; I underexposed to get black but it was much darker than the actual black paper was. I’ve found it hard to get black in lots of circumstances because there are always highlights in black fabric and paper that show up as blue or purple or grey. The second attempt was closer to the true colour of the paper. Again, underexposing by 1 stop was too far, it was about 2/3 of a stop and I had to do that using the aperture rather than the shutter speed.

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