The sun and any form of lighting always eluded me. I don’t know about you, I use to fib and slide my way in photography. I mean, I use to point and shoot, and have been very lucky with most of my exposures by using the Sunny 16 rule, F8, and ‘auto mode’ etc..
I have taken courses on photography and cinematography where I had to use complex light meters and shoot photographs and moving pictures that have difficult lighting conditions. I have lit gorgeous table top product shots to streets and buildings. And believe it or not, I would pass them with flying colors. But in reality, I learnt about exposure all through my head and not in my heart and soul. That’s why I would forget it all soon after I learnt it.
So when I sent my friend and critic, Mario, some photos I thought looked okay for feedback, he complained about my poor exposure. Which meant the photos were pure trash. Simple as that. It was a wake-up call that hit my core. I realized, if I’m going to be a good street photographer, I will have to really understand light and shade through a camera from the bottom of my soul.
I forced myself to learn exposure from my heart. Embrace and feel it from my gut. O bought me a small light meter, a Sekonic L-308s to help. You know what I found? Freedom. Yes. Freedom from my own limits of not understanding how the camera really functioned in the manual mode. Freedom from that stifling “A” mode which I relied on like a useless crutch.
When I don’t have time to go somewhere to shoot the streets (in Los Angeles, you have to drive several miles to shoot anything that’s remotely ‘street’), then I shoot my family and my dogs. But I shoot to learn and practice “light” manipulation. Practice makes perfect! Suddenly, my Leica was no longer a point and shoot but an extension of me and my eye. How cool is that?!