Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It Confused Me

I am the first to admit that I really did not understand these and therefore avoided them by never turning this option on. I still do not claim to be an expert on the subject but maybe this discussion will get a few more of us looking at it. After all it is a nice tool in your exposure arsenal.

So what is it that I ignored all this time? A little feature called the Histogram. It is on virtually every digital camera be it your pocket point and shoot or a top of the line DSLR. That's nice but what does it do?

In short it is a graph that shows all the light levels of the photo from the darkest on the left to the brightest on the right. The overall scale across the bottom represents about 5 f/stops. This tends to be the maximum f/range that most digital cameras can record.  Any peaks on the extreme left indicate areas that are black and peaks on the extreme right show areas of light that are in effect blown out. Think of the middle as the average exposure. One that you would make if you photographed a gray card using a light meter. This in fact is the average most cameras are trying to obtain.

As you can see in the histogram below almost all the exposed areas are in the mid-range. Once you start using it and begin to understand the relationship between the Histogram and the photo you have taken you begin to understand ways you might be able to correct any exposure problems you have.  I have started keeping this feature turned on all the time. As I said when I started I am in no way an expert but every time I look at it I begin to understand a little more ways it can help me improve my photographs.

Are you ready to take the plunge and begin looking at your Histograms?

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