Veronica is cleaning the ship's hold with a powerful water hose.
I thought this could potentially provide some good photo options. Water, light, a lot of dark areas and some real life action, what more can you want.
Measuring the light was a challenge.
If you expose for the overall scene the way your light meter will suggest, where the meter wants to create detail in the shadow areas, you end up with blown unrecoverable highlights. The contrast is just too big. In other words, automatic exposure is out of the question.
As you might know I use a Leica M10, which uses a center-weighted light meter. That helps a bit in these circumstances because it will allow me to select my metered subject as opposed to multi-field exposure systems where the camera's electronics decide on what to meter and how to expose.
A spot meter would be the technically preferred option, because with that I could meter the exact dynamic range of the scene, but with the changing positions of Veronica and the water sprays that would be very impractical. Technically better, but aesthetically not an option.
I decided to mount the Visoflex EVF (electronic viewfinder) which gives me an eye-level electronic view of the scene I photograph, including the result of my exposure, showing me immediately how my exposure choices will work out in the photograph, just like any modern mirrorless camera will do. In a complex lighting situation like this that is a life saver.
You just look through the electronic viewfinder, change the aperture or shutter speed and you see the result immediately.
Even with the manual light metering I ended up with RAW files with some blown highlights and very dark shadows. This was inevitable with the contrast in the scenes.
The M10 files allow you to recover shadows remarkably well so I concentrated on the highlights, the lightest parts of the scenes. Never the less some parts are blown out a little, like the openings in the hatches on top of the hold.
You can also focus with the EVF, even using focus-peaking where the sharp part of the picture gets a coloured contour. This works reasonably ok, but I find that I can focus much faster and much more precise using the Leica's rangefinder.
So I checked the exposure from time to time (when the scene changed) using the EVF and focused using the rangefinder. I sometimes did use the electronic viewfinder for my composition, although I don't like the blackout when I take the actual picture.
I tried to find compositions where I would have the light coming through the waterspray but I did some other scenes as well.
The camera did get wet from time to time, inevitable in such a situation, but it is reasonably water sealed and the lenses don't have electronics in them, so no worries there.
'Weather sealing' as this is called is much overrated in my opinion, it will not be a problem in your normal photographic situations unless you are in a constant wet situation like a hurricane, but I never photographed in such conditions and I don't think I ever will.
The RAW files came out very nice but I did do a fair amount of post processing in Photoshop to emphasise the light and to correct some colours and contrasts, just to recreate the scene the way I saw it when I photographed it. What we see with our eyes is not the same as what the camera sensor (or film) will record, you need to re-adjust the file to create the photograph that you saw when you took the picture. That is what was done in the darkroom in the silver days and that is what we do in our digital darkroom today.
The M camera has no autofocus, which is one of the reasons that I use it. Focussing is no problem, but as with all manual focussing systems sometimes your sharpness will be a little 'off'.
I find autofocus a real hit-or-miss affaire, either it is in focus or completely out of focus without any real control by the photographer. With manual focus the result will be close enough for a decent result. If your focus is not too much off you can fix it a little in Photoshop anyway, one of these photographs is actually a bit off focus but I challenge you to find the one. You can click on the pictures to see a bigger version.
For me a good photograph has nothing to do with sharpness. Sharpness is just one of my many creative tools in photography.