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Wednesday, 26 November 2008


Sorta of unrelated question (it relates to the paper towel test):

Assuming the K10D in the example, and the "expose to the right" rationale, to get the "best" exposure from any scene one should spot meter the brightest object in the scene and then increasing exposure by 3 stops (the stated maximum recoverable overexposure)?

Mike, this is probably not suitable for posting 'cause it's really promoting me, but...

Like Carl (and Jens Bekman and anyone else trying to distribute low cost real physical photography objects), I've started a project to distribute some of my work. The result is a photography "zine" of sorts. The quality is... well, the best you can manage at a consumer printing outfit like Kinko's. I distribute them for free in the Madison, Wisconsin area at coffee shops and some retail places. I ship them around the country and world for a small fee.

If you come to Madison much I can give you one or tell you where to find one. Heck, if you send me your address I'll mail you one for free.

I did this because I had a strong need to show my work and the internet just wasn't cutting it for me. I wanted something people can hold. You can see the entire contents (albeit in a small size) at




Thiago, you've got the idea right. In practice, since it's a bit awkward, I would reserve the spot meter and 3 (or 2.7) stops up technique for very contrasty situations that will obviously strain the sensor's ability. Most of the time I keep the camera in aperture priority, use over-ride a lot, and frequently use the camera's digital preview feature that shows a histogram without recording a file.

I just visited Carl's website and he certainly has some very fine work on there. I also agree with his point about small vs. large prints: when I've printed my photos for sale in the past, people enouraged me to go as big as possible. But sometimes smaller prints can be more accessible and relaxing to look at.

Thanks, Carl. I'll go for a walk on the weekend and put the concept to practice. Let's see how much I can optimize those gray skies!

Clearly the paper towel manufacturers have taken Carl's Paper Towel Test seriously, since many are now offering towels in an almost perfect 16:9 aspect ratio, agreeing with that of a number of new cameras.

Example: Viva towel sections measure 28 cm x 15.9 cm.


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