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Exposure

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I chose to look more closely at exposure because I know it’s something that I have the option of playing with on all my pictures both when taking and editing them, but I had no idea what it really meant. It turns out that exposure is how much light falls on each unit of the scenery/object/setting being photographed. This definition made sense to me because I can think of how “exposed” something is – for example, my dad always reminds me to make sure my skin isn’t exposed when I go out into the sun because I’ll fry and turn red like a tomato. So thinking of exposure, it’s the same thing – how much light is going to be hitting the subject in the photo.

Photos have the possibility of being underexposed and overexposed. Overexposed means the image is basically washed out, and underexposed means the image has a loss of shadow detail. By adjusting exposure, photographers can either remove details of a photograph in order to make it look the way they want. I have done this before (on accident, not on purpose) for many pictures. In my own experience, the only thing that has ever made my picture look better is underexposing, to remove shadow detail. Just from trying it, overexposure only seems to help when I’m going for some weird effect. I used overexposure on this photo of my dog to make the photo look as it was intended. It was taken on a sunny day at the beach, but the photo looked as if it had been taken on a cloudy day because of the shadows. By overexposing it, I’ve made it look brighter and closer to what I envisioned when I took it.

I also found that you have to be careful distinguishing between exposure and an exposure. An exposure is what photographers use to describe shutter cycles, when the camera shutter closes and opens and how many times. A single shutter cycle is just that, single, so it only happens once. A multiple shutter cycle means that there are several really fast shutter cycles occurring, and the resulting picture is actually not just one image but a composition of the multiple images that resulted from the multiple shutter cycles. So though they use the same word, they have different meanings in photography!

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