Excuse Me Spock, But Is That A Tricorder In Your Pocket?

I can finally measure light! Now I just need to figure out what all of these numbers mean. I picked up a Sekonic L758DR light meter today so that I could take my Hasselblad film camera to Germany and be certain that I was accurately taking the right exposures. It seems like a step forward in quality and twenty steps back in reality, but if I am ever going to really, truly understand how to capture light, then I need to be forced into taking measurements and learning about exposure the old fashioned way. Yes, I know that my digital camera “does all that stuff for you automatically”, but that does not do much for the old learning curve.

I think that after an hour of trying to figure out how it works I can honestly say that I love it and I hate it simultaneously. As far as taking the normal measurements (which is what I will be doing while traveling), it is wonderfully accurate and easy to use. I can either use the viewfinder spotmeter or the round lumisphere for an incident reading based on what kind of photo I want to take with the Hasselblad. As you can see in the images of the lightmeter, itself, the readings are spot on for f2.8.

Why hate it? I am pretty sure that it will take me a long time to figure out how to interpret the readings I get when I am trying to use the Profoto lights. The main draw of a high end unit like this is that it should drastically improve my speed when finding exposures for the product photography in the studio. Instead of guessing and going by the lcd/histogram on the Canon camera, I should be able to take a reading with the Sekonic meter and immediately find the correct exposure. At the moment, I am getting a messy jumble of numbers that do not really give me what I am wanting. The shot below of the leather chair is pretty accurate, but I am not totally content with it, nor do I fully understand what I am getting. The numbers were within 1/10th increments (whatever that means), so I still need to sit down over the next few nights to learn what to look for; it is the learning process and I do actually enjoy such things – I just hope that I end up with a new tool that will make the photos cleaner and closer to my vision.

Chasing light should be easier with a meter that can interpret first and teach my eyes to see what it sees second. Tomorrow night I will take the Hasselblad down to an eerie memorial outside of the building to finish off the Chicago roll, and I hope to have something to post from that camera early next week. Maybe even Dr. Spock or Bones McCoy would be envious…maybe not.

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