Photographing blues dancers, exposure

Larry Colen lrc at
Thu Oct 1 15:42:23 EDT 2009

On Thu, Oct 01, 2009 at 03:11:42PM -0400, Igor Roshchin wrote:
> Larry,
> Some comments and corrections.
> > I am constantly talking about how you should shoot for the raw data,
> > and correct everything in post processing. If that is the case, then
> > setting the color balance at the time you shoot should not make any
> > difference. 
> It was discussed earlier here on the list (probably about a year ago)
> mostly between Godfrey and myself that the way exponometry works
> or to be exact, - programmed  
> (at least in some cameras, - for sure in *ist DS and Godfrey was
> mentioning either K10D or K20D at that point), 
> is that in some combination of the WB and the actual light, the 
> photographs can be underexposed. This happens, e.g. when you shoot
> with the daylight WB in the room with tungsten lights: uncorrected
> images are underexposed (after WB corrected).

This makes sense, and is good to know.

> The mechanism responsible for that is similar to what you describe
> in your writeup in the situation of colored lights:
> one channel dominates, and the other two are underexposed.
> So, it is nice to have the right ball-park setting for WB.

That's another good reason for it.

Although, as I mention, the only thing that I've found to really work
when shooting available light is to manually set the exposure, because
it's too easy to fool the camera, especially in dark rooms with one or
two bright lights.

> Having it precise might be an overkill in case you are not trying to
> get just 1-2-3 shots, but a bunch of them at different parts of the
> dance floor. The variance of the light throughout the room may prove
> your efforts to be unreasonable, especially if you are going to
> correct WB in post-processing anyway.
> Also, - if you try to write a universal guide, - keep in mind that
> your reference to the green button makes it very narrow-oriented.
> It's Pentax-centric, and even with Pentax not applicable to all cameras.


This is the first draft, and I'm just working at getting all of my
thoughts down.

Maybe I can convince Pentax that they need to hire me to write
tutorials on how to use pentax gear. We all know that the fastest way
to improve the quality of pictures that a camera takes is usually to
upgrade the "meat bipod".

In my experience the Pentax manuals are written for people who don't
know there aperture from a hole in the ground. Their tendency to dumb
things down to the point that they make Archie and Veronica look like
Shakespeare, renders them close to useless.

What I think that they should do is write a high quality manual that
explains, for reasonably intelligent, competent, people how to use all
of the various features and pieces of gear. Print them all in one book
and it would serve as a combination tutorial, user's manual and
advertising brochure by showing the really cool things that you need
this particular piece of kit for. 

> Igor
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The first step is learning to take great photos, 
the second step is learning to throw away ones that are merely good.
Larry Colen             lrc at  

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