Photo Challenge #1: Using A Gray Card

In addition to the new Writing Prompt Series I introduced last Thursday, I also want to start a new series about Photography. Each week I will post a Photo Challenge. Some of the challenges will be from some of my favorite books, others will be challenges from Pinterest.

For the first challenge I wanted to start with a challenge from a great book by David duChemin called The Visual ToolBox. It’s 60 lessons in Photography that each focus on a different aspect or technique. Here I am going to post my photos as I go through each lesson. I won’t be covering the actual lesson, but I will always include a link to where you can either read the lesson yourself or get a copy of the book. For todays lesson – if you want to follow along, you can pick up your own copy of David’s book by clicking on the image below.


The Visual Toolbox: 60 Lessons for Stronger Photographs (Voices That Matter)

Photo Challenge #1: Using A Gray Card

The first couple of challenges in the book cover learning about your camera, studying photographs – that kind of thing. I’m skipping those lessons because I’m not that new to photography. I am however new to this idea of using a Gray Card. Basically a gray card is a standard way of exposing for photos. I found this pretty interesting in theory, but pretty useless in application. It’s pretty difficult to actually take out a gray card and expose off that before then making adjustments for your photograph, but I can see how this would be pretty helpful for those just learning about exposure and how to get the correct exposure.

I used the gray card to take the image below. I exposed for the gray card and immediately took the shot. I felt like this was a pretty standard scene that would need a pretty average exposure.

Gray-Card-Photo-Challenge

1/100 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

I was a little concerned about the exposure of the sky with this one, so I also took a photo with a slightly faster shutter speed to bring the exposure down a little bit.

Gray-Card-Photo-Challenge

1/200 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

These photos are straight out of the camera. I wish the sprinklers hadn’t been on during this shot – but I was running out of time and I had to take photos of something. Here are the same two photos after editing.

Gray Card Photo Challenge

Gray Card Photo Challenge

 

Overall I think the sky turned out fine in both photos. It wasn’t a particularly dramatic sky day. I personally think the unexposed photo has a lot more details in the darker areas of the photo, but the barn doesn’t look as detailed as in the photo I took at the gray card exposure.

Using the gray card is intended to help you learn how you camera is metering so that you can better expose for the scene and get the shot that you wanted. It’s a good tool to have in your belt and a good lesson in how exposure works. I encourage you to pick one up and start using it to see if it helps you get better photos.

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