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Balance the Natural Light

As we climbed the dark and narrow stairs to the top of Notre Dame, I was stuck by the worn steps of marble, and the contrast of the light / dark, circular stairs / rectangular window. Normally this can be a tough situation for an automatic exposure setting. The dark stairs would make the flash want to fire, so I forced it off and the bright sunlight from the window might make the lens stop down too much and then the stairs would be too dark. In this situation, I was sure to balance the subject between the light and dark to make the camera behave the way I wanted it to, This would be easier with a camera set on manual, where you can choose the depth of field and the shutter, but on a point and shoot camera, you only have so many options. You have to learn how to “fool” the camera. Even with the bright window light, the camera fired at 1/10th of a second (which exposed the stairs correctly), so I still had to hold steady.

stair notre dame natural light
© 2008 Kathy Tarantola, Boston DPA Instructor


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