Photographing the Golden Crowned Kinglet and A Quick Exposure Check

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An Uncommon Visitor…the Golden Crowned Kinglet

This is the first identifiable image of a Golden Crowned Kinglet that I have ever photographed. Vary rarely, I see this tiny songbird with a flashy yellow/gold patch on his crown, flitting in and out of the camera’s view, but never long enough to actually get a recognizable shot. Golden Crowned Kinglets behave like Ruby Crowned Kinglets – quick, fluttery and constantly on the move. They rarely sit still long enough (even when eating insects) to give the lens time to lock focus. I felt very lucky to get such a close-up shot.

Photo of Gold Crowned Kinglet
An Uncommon Visitor
The Gold Crowned Kinglet
ISO1000; f/5; 1/400 Second

The Potency of Light

After many years of photographing birds, I know quite a lot about the different lighting scenarios in my yard…. how the intensity and color of light transforms with the seasons and the time of day.  I also know how quickly the potency of light can change during a photo shoot and ruin exposure.

A Quick Exposure Check – the Meter Bar

Modern DSLR cameras are equipped with sophisticated multi-point TTL (through the lens) light meters designed to collect and measure the light coming through the lens. One way photographers can quickly check the exposure reading is by glancing at the meter bar (a bar with regular intervals marked) in the viewfinder. If the needle indicator is in or near the 0 position, at the midpoint of display, then the correct exposure is set. If the needle is leaning to the right, the image will likely be overexposed. If it’s leaning to the left, it will be underexposed. (NOTE: On most DSLR cameras, the meter bar can be set to appear in the viewfinder on a horizontal or vertical display.)

This meter bar is designed to be informational only. It will not change the exposure parameters set in Manual mode by the photographer.

Metering Mode Impacts Meter Bar

Exposure readings that you see on the meter bar in your viewfinder are based on the metering mode you set. The metering mode tells the camera how to read the light. Canon cameras have 4 metering modes: Evaluative, Partial, Center Weighted Average, and Spot Metering.  See this post for more information on metering modes.

A Through-the-Brain Light Meter

A few professional photographers who I follow claim that they use their own eyes as sensors to read the light. They do not rely on battery powered meters which may trick them into faulty exposures during their shoots. They prefer to rely on their imagination and years of serious study and experience to evaluate the intensity and color qualities of light and then set exposure accordingly.  Pretty cool.

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