Wednesday, June 27, 2012


ISO 800, f/14, 1.6seconds, 19mm
    One of the main things I learned at Richard Bernabe's North Carolina Waterfalls Workshop is how to use the camera's histogram and to get proper exposure in my shots. By learning to properly expose my images, I have started taking smaller amounts of pictures and instead taking properly exposed pictures.
  I am not going to delve into trying to explain proper exposure and the histogram. If you want to learn how to use the histogram and get good exposure, buy and download the ebook EXPOSURE by Michael Frye. His ebook gives the simplest and easiest description of how to use and apply the histogram and get proper exposure.
ISO 800, f/14, 1.6 seconds, 35mm
   The two images in my post today are perfect examples of using the histogram to get proper exposure. Each of these shots is of the same small waterfall on The Roaring Fork Motor & Nature Trail in the great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  When I approached the waterfall, and each shot, I composed the shot and then took a meter reading on a portion of the water, preferably the whitest part, using Aperture Priority settings. I then switch to Manual and use the settings that I got previously. I use Live View on the camera so that I can see a live histogram and so I can set my focal point at anywhere in the frame I want instead of the 7 points through the viewfinder.
  I set my focal point and then check out the histogram. If the histogram is pushed to far to the left, I then adjust my setting accordingly to push it back out to the right. I then take a shot and look at the histogram of the image. If there are "blinky's" or over exposed spots in the shot I will then adjust my settings again to eliminate them and take another shot. Usually, this process only takes a couple of shots to accomplish and when I'm done, I have a nicely exposed shot.
  Now there are cases when you can't get everything exposed properly throughout the entire shot. This is usually when you are shooting a high contrasting scene like bright white water with an extremely dark forest background. This is usually the case with waterfalls. I will either auto bracket when I get my desired exposure for the water and then use the +2 EV image and layer in the forest background or I will take an additional shot with the correct exposure for the forest and layer it in. I have also lately begun to use HDR to get the dynamic range of light blended  with all three shots.
  With today's two images, I was able to get proper exposure throughout the entire shot because the light was fairly even all through the frame. Another great thing about getting good exposure is that you don't have to spend as much time editing the image. These two only had some slight saturation and sharpening adjustments and that was it.


  1. Fantastic images Jerry.

  2. Wonderful photos, Jerry. I've been playing a lot with exposure myself lately, so your post and thoughts here are rather timely for me. Love your work, my friend!

  3. Thanks Edith.

    Toad when I bought Michael Frye's Exposure ebook it really opened my eyes. Then Richard Bernabe not only reinforced that learning, he got into more detail about the histogram so that I understand what it is telling me. It has made a world of difference in the way I approach a photograph. Thanks for all the support and kind comments Toad.