It’s Technical! Zero Exposure

It’s Technical! Zero Exposure. Revisiting the fundamentals of light in photography through exposure and exposure values. With ManButur Suantara.

Why Exposure?

This is not a common question today, why?

Today is a digital age, the camera functions extremely intelligently. It does much of the work to make an image exceptionally optimal. Technology already makes it easier for us to express ourselves through images. The issue of exposure is no longer a hot topic. It’s seldom talked about. People will concern themselves more often with the sharpness of an image, or perhaps the Bokeh effect in the background of the image. These things we hear more often in the field.

About Exposure

However, exposure is a fundamental aspect of all the things you do technically in photography. All the results of the technical application of your tool (that is your camera) in one way or another are dependent on your exposure. When you are creating your image, you have to think about how you would like the final image to appear to the world. Is it in low light? is it in high key?

Sawidji Studio Photography Blog Its TechnicalSawidji Studio Photography Blog Its Technical
Pengempon Beach Lombok, by ManButur Suantara. Image left: EV 0, Image right: EV +1

This is all dependent on your exposure. Why is exposure the key factor? because photography is about light? Exposure is about how much light you allow into your camera. If your image is too dark and you’ve lost details in the shadows, you are underexposing. You have not provided enough light. If you have washed out your image and you’ve lost those details in the highlights,.. you’ve let too much light in. It’s overexposed.

People recognise the word exposure, but they may not take the time to think about what it means anymore.

What is EV and how does it affect your style development?

EV is Exposure Value. It essentially is the number that defines your exposure level as interpreted by your sensor.

Exposure Triangle

Exposure value (EV) in photography is a number that combines aperture and shutter speed (ref, photography life) This is a term that describes how your camera sensor receives the light to create the data for the image.

Some photographers like their images dark, with a sombre, perhaps gothic mood. Others love to create dreamy images to clean and bright. Some artists have preferred colour palettes that they apply in post-processing. Perhaps a favourite preset. Every preset also determines a standard of exposure. This is because the initial exposure applied will affect the overall mood and tone of your image.

Sawidji Studio Its Technical Photography Blog Zero ExposureSawidji Studio Its Technical Photography Blog Zero Exposure
Paksebali Klungkung, by ManButur Suantara. Image left: EV: 0, Image right: EV: +2

How does Exposure Value relate to photography today

In the old camera system, you would not be able to see the EV as readily and easily. The exposure value for that image. Now, this function is something made available in today’s cameras. This significantly impacts photographers, as it allows much more control over the exposure levels and how to adjust them at the time of taking the image.

Flashback.. the indulgence of digital freedom

Before the dawn of the digital camera.. life was not so easy. Getting your exposure within the right range of the correct EV, to get a good set of negatives required a general knowledge of your film ISO, the conditions of your environment, your shutter speed and aperture. If you were a photographer who developed your film in black and white, even the processing, the development of your film would require some adjustments to make sure you got the right results.

You can lose a whole day of work if any of these steps were miscalculated. So photography back then required a lot more scientific and mathematical involvement from the photographer. The camera didn’t tell you if you didn’t have enough or too much exposure. Today, the camera does all of that for you. And saves a lot of expense in doing so. You can imagine how much it would cost for film and paper and chemicals, just to experiment.

Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur SuantaraIts Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur Suantara
Songan Kintamani, by ManButur Suantara. Image left: EV: 0, Image right: EV: +1

In the time when still Analog Era ( that is what I call when still using the Film Roll ), you got to know what you doing to be a photography expert.

So in the analog era, that’s what I say for pre-digital, you have to know a lot more about the theory of photography to know what you are doing.

It’s Technical.. Exposure.. Now and then..

Now, the frequency of new cameras being released with upgrades and new functions are increasing. As with all things in techological development, it is a competitive market and brands race to outperform each other. This benefits the customer. We get many functions we do not need in a very smart camera.

Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur
Mahagiri Rendang, by ManButur Suantara. Image left: EV: -2, Image right: EV: 0

The digital camera system offer you many choices of how to shoot your image, including the automatic exposure function. you can choose for the camera tocontrol the exporure levels automatically. The caera will read the light in the environment and choose what it thinks is the best exposure evels for your image. A person just needs to press the shutter release button.

There are less and less people talking about the EV. How many stops up or many stops down they need to adjust.

Does it make for better photography?

Essentially? does it make for better photography? people enjoy photography for many different reasons. There are those who are hobbyists,. they like it as a recreational pastime. Some are avid travel photographers. Some are employed professionally in the industry and even then,. this industry is vast and has many branches.

Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButurIts Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur
Yeh Malet Karangasem by ManButur Suantara. Image Left: EV: 0, Image right: EV: +1.5

When we ask ‘does it make for better photography?’ there is probably alot more than just exposure in photography. First as mentioned above,. in what area of photography it relates to. However in the end, if photography is something you love and enjoy.. understanding its fundamentals.. such as that of exposure and its relationship to your images, is going to be beneficial.

Whether we are in the digital age or analog age,. this aspect of photography is at the heart of the art in photography. Because exposure is the first instance where light enters your camera and that light is what paints your image. Without that.. it is not photography.

  • Learn Photography Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur Suantara
  • Learn Photography Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur Suantara
  • Learn Photography Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur Suantara
  • Sawidji Studio Zero Exposure Photography Blog
  • Sawidji Studio Photography Blog Its Technical
  • Sawidji Studio Photography Blog Its Technical
  • Learn Photography Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur Suantara
  • Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur
  • Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur
  • Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by Its Technical Zero Exposure Sawidji Studio Photography by ManButur

About ManButur Suantara

From many years of experience, ManButur Suantara has an extensive professional portfolio that shows a diverse mastery of many photographic genres. Learn more about the artist.

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Jung says:

    sangat keren dengan detail yang mengagumkan. hasil2 fotonya estetik dan bercerita.

  2. Susan says:

    I thought this was a very good article and I loved seeing the difference in the photographs using different exposures. Thank you!

    1. Thanks Susan for your feedback! If there are other things you’d like to learn about photography, let us know and it can be a topic in our next Technical issue.

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