moi du toi photography, Pet photographer South Africa, Cat photography, pets

Jellicle Cats and Histograms

Jellicle Cats are black and white,
Jellicle Cats (as I said) are small;
If it happens to be a stormy night
They will practise a caper or two in the hall.
If it happens the sun is shining bright
You would say they had nothing to do at all:
They are resting and saving themselves to be right
For the Jellicle Moon and the Jellicle Ball.

T S Eliot – The Song of the Jellicles

My eyesight is not as good as it was and so I need glasses to see what my LCD screen is showing me, I find this so flippin’ annoying, on and off with the specs the whole time I’m shooting.  For the last year or so I have been shooting exclusively in manual and to overcome the aforementioned specs problem I have been teaching myself to nail exposure by reading my cameras histogram, not so easy ( histograms explained here).

I mean it fairly does my head in sometimes trying to get it right, oh yes I won’t dispute the fact that Lightroom is a wonderful tool and can help you save an image you would otherwise have had to toss in the recycle bin but I strive to get the image right in camera first, it saves tons of time messing about with too much post processing.

Tuxedo cat sitting on wall

My Jellicle friend

85% of the time I get it right but now and then a challenge comes along.  Case in point, this gorgeous tuxedo kitty we happened upon a couple of mornings ago while out walking the furry hooligans.  He really was a cute cat, even though he gave me a little warning slap when my method of scratching behind his ears was not quite to his liking, little brat!

I metered off a greyish wall and even though my histogram looked fairly balanced with no clipping, I was about 2/3rds of a stop underexposed.  The properly exposed image for a black cat against a bright sky will throw out a very confusing histogram with a lot of black pixels gathered on the extreme left hand side and a lot of white pixels bunched up on the right hand side and not much happening in the middle.

I know this stuff, the information is in my head, I’ve read it a hundred times but there is nothing like actually taking the shot and experiencing the problem first hand to cement the lesson in my brain.  You can read all the photography blogs you want, look at hundreds of images but there is no substitute for getting out there and shooting.  Practice, practice, practice – it’s the best way to learn!

Tuxedo cat with white whiskers

All my love

moi ♥

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