Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Evening Creature Feature: Low Key Crab

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Back in Kona, Hawaii there are small, blackish crabs that inhabit the splash zones. These are Thin-shelled Rock Crabs, also known as 'a’ama.

This gives me another example to encourage you to outthink your camera. When I spied this crab, I decided to grab the shot because they are skittish and dash for cover.

As you can see, this is pretty neutral and gray. But since I shoot in RAW, I new that I could fix this in the darkroom when I got home.  However when it came to taking a second shot, I decided to decrease the exposure by 2/3rds of a EV. EV means Exposure Value, for us old timer’s, it’s a fancy name for stop.

If you caught my Shooting Scenes in a Snow Storm post last Sunday, you know what I’m up to. I’m giving you an example from the Dark Side. In last Sunday’s post, I increased the exposure to get whiter snow in my photos. In today’s photos, decreased the exposure to get darker darks. You see, the camera looks at this black lava rock and is going to try to make it gray lava rock. In order to get a correct exposure, I’m going to decrease the time the shutter is open.

Back to the first photo, I pulled the camera out of the bag, focused on the subject and squeezed the shutter release. The result was 1/125th of a second at f5.6, ISO 200. Now I knew what the result would be (gray), however I’m shooting RAW and if I’m off by a EV or three I will probably be able to fix it in the darkroom. If you’re shooting JPG for output, then you really need to understand what I’m up to here because you will not be able to correct over such a large latitude. Thus, you better get it close!

Since I’m was going to get a second shot and I’m sensed that I’ve had time to get closer to an ideal exposure, I set my exposure compensation to –2/3 EV. The result was 1/200th of a second, f5.6, ISO 200. See the difference? Much closer to where I need to be. It still needs tweaking, but you get the idea, right?

 ©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Now for the money shots. Again, I’m shooting at –2/3 EV.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Sometimes the black lava is on the gray side, but this crab is dead on.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Now I’m sorry to tell you this, and I don’t mean to throw stones at your gear, but chances are pretty slim that you’re going to get a shot like this without outfoxing your camera.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

Not the best shot of the series, but I’m driving home a point today. This was the first crab shot from two days earlier. I shot this one at -1.0EV. In the darkroom I still took another 1/3EV off during post processing. Just saying, it’s not the first time I’ve done this.

 ©2012 Steve Borichevsky

That’s the tip, when shooting black cats in coal mines, decrease the shutter speed! Got out and try it. Now. Close the browser and grab your gear.


Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Very informative which reaffirms what I have been working on myself. Today I was in a no sunlight forest photographing mushrooms and fungi. I under exposed 2/3 to a full stop and the pictures are all the better for it. Outfoxing the camera, I like that.

Roy said...

Another great lesson, thanks Steve.

Jessica G. said...

That's really interesting and reading this actually helped me understand my current photography assignment (I still need to complete) better! We have to increase and decrease the exposure by stopping up and down twice, both ways.
After looking at your posts, I can see the difference in adding less and more light!
Your photographs are very nice and I believe I will be checking up on your blog more often! :)

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