Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera
Perhaps I should start by saying that I thought this book was about something that it is not. I thought it was about exposure, as in light and balancing lightness, darkness and colours. But the exposure referred to in the title is, simply, the picture. And there are a lot of pictures in the book. Great pictures – that Peterson explains how he has done. The book goes through some basic picture taking principles and also some more advanced ideas. It talks about how to think about exposure (as in getting the picture not too dark or too bright), about aperture, about shutter speed and lots of other things. Some basic stuff and some very useful ideas. But in the end I was a little bit disappointed. It is not quite a book for beginners, and it is not a book for people who understand the photographic fundamentals, but somewhere in between. (And perhaps it’s the perfect book for you if you’re somewhere in between.) It reads a bit like a collection of articles from a photo magazine (maybe that’s what it is?). And perhaps that’s how you should read it – in chunks, when your not looking for too heavy reading but looking for a little bit of inspiration. And you can get a lot of inspiration. There is, as I mentioned, a lot of good pictures in the book.
This is what Amazon says about it: “More than 100 vivid, graphic comparison pictures illustrate every point in this classic and can help any photographer maximize the creative impact of his or her exposure decisions. Peterson stresses the importance of metering the subject for a starting exposure and then explains how to use various exposure meters and different kinds of lighting. The book contains lessons on each element of the triangle and how it relates to the other two in terms of depth of field, freezing and blurring action, and shooting in low light or at night. A section on special techniques explores such options as deliberate under-and over-exposures, how to produce double exposures, bracketing, shooting the moon, and the use of filters. Understanding Exposure demonstrates that there are always creative choices about how to expose a picture – and that the decision is up to the photographer, not the camera”. It was highly recommended by some photographer friends.