Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me!

River Otter (Lutra canadensis) - Minnesota
Canon 7D + 300mm f2.8L IS
I’m the guy who preaches, “get it right in camera!” 
I tell my students and friends to practice exposure theory, “know what the meter says,” and “add light to white.” Yet, when faced with a critical moment, fear of loss consumes my process and I find faith in technology.

I’m not a faith type of guy, so why does a logician suddenly find religion when knowledge and experience should suffice? Call it fear of failure, chicken shit or misplaced confidence, but when the chips are down, I tend to trust the meter. 
River Otter Pair (Lutra canadensis) - Minnesota
Canon 7D + 300mm f2.8L IS
Fool Me Twice, Shame on ME! Last week I blew a fleeting moment when I underexposed  a great-gray owl in twilight. I knew the meter would get it wrong, but I had faith... I was wrong! 
This morning I was at it again. As the sun slowly spilled over the horizon a pair river otters (Lutra canadensis) emerged from an ephemeral hole in the ice. Knowing their intolerance for people, I had less than five minutes to work. Should I trust the meter? Hell NO! Snow-covered lake ice will never be exposed correctly by a camera that interprets its world at 18% gray. Yet, the little voice in my head kept saying... “in five minutes they’ll be gone, trust your meter.” I shrugged off the doubt added light to white and overexposed the suggested “correct” exposure. Trepidation and fear of failure lost this round, while logic and experience ruled the day. 

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