Picture This!“Only With A Spot (Meter, That Is)”

Our Picture This! assignment this month covered one of the metering patterns, spot metering. Spot is a great choice when you want to saturate a distinct color, or when you want to get the bright white highlight right, with compensation. Readers sent in a variety of images, some with color in mind, others when they wanted to open up shadow details that would become too dark using evaluative (matrix). So next time you want to meter for a very select area of the frame, try spot!

Darwin’s Finch
In order to get every detail in the feathers and texture of this bird, Irwin H. Segel placed the spot directly on the animal’s body. He worked with a Nikon D300 with a Nikkor 70-300mm VR lens with an exposure of f/8 at 1⁄500 sec at ISO 400.
© 2010, Irwin H. Segel, All Rights Reserved

Backyard View
To fully saturate this dazzling rainbow, and remove the influence of the darker background, Robert Maher placed the spot on the bright area to the left of the rainbow. Exposure with a Sony A700 at ISO 400 was f/8 at 1⁄60 sec.
© 2010, Robert Maher, All Rights Reserved

Spot is the pattern of choice when you photograph a bright subject with a large, dark area surrounding it. That’s what Linda Witteveen did using a Nikon D90 with a Tamron 18-270mm lens. Exposure at ISO 640 was f/4.2 at 1⁄30 sec.
© 2010, Linda Witteveen, All Rights Reserved

Backlit Fall Leaves
When you want to isolate brightness and saturate color spot’s the pattern to use, as did Emilio Fernandez with a Canon EOS 50D set at ISO 400 with an exposure of f/22 at 1⁄30 sec.
© 2010, Emilio Fernandez, All Rights Reserved

Brown Bear
To get good detail on this brown bear in the water in Alaska’s Katmai National Park, Richard Worthley used spot with an exposure of f/5.6 at 1⁄750 sec. He exposed on Ektachrome 200 slide film with a Nikon N90S SLR with a Nikkor 300mm lens with a 1.4x tele-converter.
© 2010, Richard Worthley, All Rights Reserved

Upper Antelope Canyon
Light playing like this requires careful reading. Jeff Dye used his spot meter on the upper left area of bright sandstone to make the shot. He worked with a Nikon D300 and an 18-200mm lens. Exposure was f/22 at 1.6 seconds. A Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod and a Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head provided the steadiness for that long exposure.
© 2010, Jeff Dye, All Rights Reserved

St. Louis Arch, Sunset
David Wagner used spot metering to isolate the reflections of the famous arch in this dark sky. He photographed with a Nikon D70 with an exposure of f/4.5 at 1⁄640 sec at ISO 1000.
© 2010, David Wagner, All Rights Reserved

For this dramatic photo of a duckling in water Attila Kovacs used spot metering on an Olympus E-410. Exposure at ISO 400 was f/5.6 at 1⁄1600 sec.
© 2010, Attila Kovacs, All Rights Reserved

Bird Silhouette
The best bet for getting a great silhouette is to spot meter off the brighter background. That’s what John Lelekis did for this photo of a red-shouldered hawk taken in the late afternoon light. Exposure with a Nikon D80 and a Nikkor 70-300mm VR lens was f/8 at 1⁄200 sec at ISO 200.
© 2010, John Lelekis, All Rights Reserved

Kentucky Flower
To saturate color and get a textured highlight Robert K. Bailey used a spot on the center of the flower. Exposure with a Canon EOS 50D and an 18-200mm lens was f/6.7 at 1⁄350 sec at ISO 400.
© 2010, Robert K. Bailey, All Rights Reserved

Neon Light
Ryan Houston wrote, “I tried shooting with full metering, but the words on the sign were washed out. Spot metering worked much better.” He exposed with a Nikon D200 and a Promaster 70-300mm lens.
© 2010, Ryan Houston, All Rights Reserved

Fall Reflections
Autumn and spot metering seem to go hand in hand for deep, rich colors. Case in point is this photo by Daniel Hawkins, exposed at f/4 at 1⁄180 sec at ISO 400.
© 2010, Daniel Hawkins, All Rights Reserved