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Metering with NDGrad Filters

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    1 May 2007 - 5:17 PM

    I have just purchased a set of NDGrad filters and after spending most of my working day searching for info on the web, I am totally confused.

    So, what is the best way to meter using NDGrad filters. Some say meter for the f/g using difference in stops from sky reading. Some say just meter with filters in place.

    Help please!

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    admiles  8241 forum posts United Kingdom
    1 May 2007 - 5:27 PM

    As I'm about to take the "Lee" plunge I'd be interested to know too.

    Sorry to hijack!!


    strawman  1022006 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
    1 May 2007 - 5:37 PM

    The following is my technique, evolved after going on a Northscape course. Like everything there is more than one way of doing it.

    First I use the difference in stops between sky and land to indicate the strength of grad. Then I meter with the filter in place. Then I use the levels display to check/adjust as I want to meter to not blow the clouds out.

    Oh and on a 300D it is best to use Manual mode as it switches to Centre Weight. Evaluative can be a pain in this type of photo I find.

    Big Bri
    Big Bri  1315566 forum posts England
    1 May 2007 - 5:39 PM

    how did we manage before histograms eh ?


    CathyT e2 Member 87276 forum postsCathyT vcard United Kingdom18 Constructive Critique Points
    1 May 2007 - 5:40 PM

    Or as life is short use Aperture mode, slide a .9 grad in and take the shot........

    mattw  105189 forum posts United Kingdom10 Constructive Critique Points
    1 May 2007 - 5:41 PM

    I have never found a problem with Evaluative metering and Grads.

    I also take the metering with the grad in place - seems to work well.

    strawman  1022006 forum posts United Kingdom16 Constructive Critique Points
    1 May 2007 - 5:42 PM

    Well Bri I sort of gave up photography with film so I guess I did not.

    For these types of photo I tend to start with a metering of about 1 stop under, and if I have the correct grad it is often not too far out.

    Also squinting helps. If you squint and the land looks only slightly darker than the sky then no or 1 stop grad. If the land looks very dull 2 stops, if the land is black then 3 stops.

    Last Modified By Dave at 1 May 2007 - 5:48 PM
    mattw  105189 forum posts United Kingdom10 Constructive Critique Points
    1 May 2007 - 5:42 PM

    Quote: How did we manage before histograms eh ?

    We used bracketing... and exposed a lot of film

    JJGEE  96291 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
    1 May 2007 - 5:45 PM

    My understanding, and the approach I use is to use the ND Grad to reduce the EV difference between bright & dark in order that the film's latitude can cope !

    So I meter both areas within the frame and make a judgement on the ND's strength as appropriate.
    However, I do not attempt to make the EV difference 0, usually about 1 / 2 stops is OK for me.

    So I meter without the filter.

    1 May 2007 - 11:07 PM

    Some very useful tips. Thanks to you all.
    Can't wait for the weekend, hopefully some good weather to put them to the test.

    ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014795 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
    1 May 2007 - 11:19 PM

    assuming you don't want anything to burn out (usually the sky) I put the grads fully over the spot on my camera's spot meter, point the spot and the brightest bit of the sky (that will be in shot) and take a reading in "M" mode

    I keep the spot there and dial a shutter speed that takes the meter to about +1 2/3 on the meter scale.

    Then I just frame the shot and put the grad on the horizon.

    dead easy and works for me

    but there will be 1000 other ways to do it, inlcuding the one where you stand on your left foot and sing "Kum-By-Ya" backwards

    Last Modified By Dave at 2 May 2007 - 12:03 AM
    keithh e2 Member 1022925 forum postskeithh vcard Wallis and Futuna33 Constructive Critique Points
    2 May 2007 - 7:22 AM

    pick up camera. set meter to spot or centre weighted. point it at something that is a mid-ish tone,,,grass, grey stone, back of hand etc and note the reading. now point it at a mid section of the sky...not the brightest part as this will result in you over-gradding...take a note of the reading.

    The difference between the two in whole stops is the amount of grad that you will need to use.

    It doesn't get any more technical than that at first. Once you've got your technique nailed down you can expand your metering skills but the above will serve you.

    but before you get bogged down in long winded methods, remember that you have, or most people have, three grads. One.Two. Three. For the most part you'll be using a two on it's own, a three on it's own or a three with an additional one.

    Now deciding which one to use isn't all that difficult.

    Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
    tomcat e2 Member 85912 forum poststomcat vcard United Kingdom15 Constructive Critique Points
    4 May 2007 - 6:27 AM

    Quote: Pick up camera. set meter to spot or centre weighted.


    By far the most simplest and straightforward explanation to the subject in hand
    Thankyou Keith


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