Light Meters

I’m thinking of things I can write as I lay on the couch , hoping for this fever to subside. I am on day 3 and it’s not possible for a person to ingest this much soup and orange juice. So while I lay here being dramatic and wondering when I’m going to die, I find things to write about and keep my mind off intermittent coughs that follow each other 10 seconds apart and feel like barbed wire in my throat. Today’s topic is the light meter and why I don’t use it.

Sometimes people ask if I do a reading before I shoot. To some degree that’s a yes, but not the way we’ve been trained. I do not believe in the light meter much, and the reasons are simple. I work as a photographer because my eye/mind see something that no one else can. Every photographer and artist has that trait. Paint is available to everyone, yet each sketch is different. Everyone has the same cameras, microphones, and computers but our work come worlds apart because it’s not the tool. It is how we interpret life through our eye and give it back to the world.

So for every shoot that I do, I eye-ball it. I look at my lens, I see it on the computer, I look at the back screen and make a judgement. You look for the amount of light YOU WANT and the amount of shadows that make the picture perfect. Had I used a light meter in some of my shots, I’d never get some of the moody images in my portfolio or even some of the “angelic” types you can see on my website. So instead I rely on my eye. I rely on my instincts and at that moment, what I feel will best represent the product or person.

I think leaving that to a little device takes the fun of photography away. I feel that I am letting go of the controls and letting an automatic system dictate how I should photograph. Perhaps for the same reason, I do not drive automatic cars. What is the fun in that? You just sit and press the peddle, that’s it. That’s not the way to live. I want to have control over every part of my art and make it the best that it can be. That’s why they hire me over the next guy. They don’t want a machine’s opinion, they want me to make their subject the best it can be.

So have some faith in your eye and your mind. Have some trust in your instincts. If it’s too dark and your meter is going crazy, turn it off and shoot anyways. If you want everything blown out, then shoot it that way. It’s one of the best ways to develop your own style, by just doing it and trusting your gut.

Ok enough of my soapbox. I am going back for another nap to bring this fever down.

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