Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Toledo, adventures in light, or what I did with a hand-held meter

Let's begin with a little technical note about my meter. It's nothing fancy, but it's quite reliable: a Sekonic L-86. It was made for about 15 years, and it was only replaced by a less reliable (I speak from experience) but fancier looking: the L-158, a battery dependent thing.

Thus, armed with my M2 and my Zeiss 35mm lens, I proceeded to wander in the Toledo streets, and capture images like the one below. 

As any astute reader will imagine, I metered on the wall (or a similar light-reflecting surface) in order to make the light stand out.  I cannot remember the exact exposure, but I do recall using a lot of small apertures (I was shooting at 1/125th), so it's very likely that I used f5.6-f8 here.  A similar situation came up here.

All for the sake of emphasizing the beautiful Toledo light, I metered on the walls. If I remember well, this is a view of the same street above, which leads to the beautiful Calle Santo Tomé. Now, the street pictured below is behind the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, which is where my students were staying and taking some classes. The man you can see coming up was patient enough to greet me when he reached the corner from which I photographed him.

Since I had been standing at this corner for a while, I managed to take a quick reading on the wall to my left (which isn't a lot brighter than the ground).  This image still needed a bit of correction in Photoshop (levels only), but not a large slide of the indicator.  The figure in the distance gives the photograph an old air, as if this shot had been made decades ago. 

These, now, were a lot easier to meter.

Just the steps did the trick.

A quick read of the light reflected from the ground. 

Customary 1/60 at f2, but since I was using ISO 100 I lowered the speed to 1/30. 

With the sunny 16 I shot this landscape at f11 (or perhaps at an even smaller aperture); I was hoping for a darker sky, but a yellow filter cannot perform miracles.

Lately I've been using my M5 with other types of 35mm lenses (one f2.8 and an f1.4), and despite their being metered bodies, or perhaps because of their meters, it takes me longer to shoot.  The meter in both cameras is a bit distracting, and when metering is added to the whole operation (compose and focus) it definitely adds time and substracts fun. However, as soon as I get the results of my last experiment I'll try to post them here to see what it is to shoot with a Leica metered camera. But it'll take time because I'm not really good at developing. Before I do all of this, I can always offer the results of another trip with my black M5 or my silver M5. Both are decent cameras and I really like using them...

Despite their built-in meters.

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