Metering For Snow – Free Spot Light Meter Application For The iPhone, Or, Snow In October

I feel so guilty not updating the blog. Have been photographing and developing like a maniac. And, experimenting with “alternative” metering techniques. Here’s a fun one.

I am not good at metering. At all. Hand held, matrix, evaluative, center weighted, you name it. Snow has always been a challenge for photographers. I just am not good at metering for it. I have read that intentionally overexposing, or setting positive exposure compensation, is recommended. Yet, I think this is too broad a generalization. It will not work for all scenes, especially for high contrast ones. From what I can tell, this statement assumes that the photographer is using evaluative or matrix metering.

An early New England snowstorm, which happened this October, inspired me to get out there and practice. So, loaded up the Nikon F with Tri-X, and gave the batteries in the Photomic FTn prism meter a break in the cold weather. This time, I used a fantastic, FREE (banner ad-supported) application for the iPhone 4, called Pocket Light Meter (from Nuwaste Studios, available in the iTunes App Store). It turns the iPhone into a precise, fun to use spot meter, where you can dial in the ISO of your film, f/stop or shutter speed, and move a cursor in the screen to see in real-time what the exposure will look like. You can even do screen saves, which will show you the exposure measurements, and save date, time, GPS latitude and longitude. And it will show you with a superimposed red cursor where you metered.

Using this technique, I was able to take the shots below. I used Tri-X, at box speed, and developed in D-76 at 1:1. Taken at The Old Stone Church, West Boylston, MA, on 10/30/11, a day after about 8 inches of snow. This certainly is a spot worth revisiting.

NOTE: The interface was redesigned for the latest release, which is compatible with iOS5. While now very ugly looking (the fonts are hideous) , the app still works great. And it’s still free.

The Old Stone Church After A Freak October Snowstorm

The Old Stone Church After A Freak October Snowstorm

Come On In! Doorway, Steps Covered With Snow

Come On In! Doorway, Steps Covered With Snow

Some Foliage Sprouts Up From The Snow

Some Foliage Sprouts Up From The Snow

View From The Church, Looking Back Towards The Water

View From The Church, Looking Back Towards The Water

Jumping Over Guard Rail, Into Snow, Resulting In Wet Feet, But A Great Shot

Jumping Over Guard Rail, Into Snow, Resulting In Wet Feet, But A Great Shot

Those Are Birds On The Steeple, Drying Off, Warming Up.

Those Are Birds On The Steeple, Drying Off, Warming Up.

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