Although it is modest and subtle (for neon), the sign in the window of the local Chinese buffet has always been a personal favorite. Its design has a heraldic quality, as if it is filled with obscure symbolic meaning.It looked particularly good in the grey overcast of last Sunday afternoon, but I was disappointed by my first attempt to photograph it with the New Phone Camera. Washed out colors are generally blah. Verdict: overexposed. As often happens, I had a difference of opinion with my camera’s light meter. Of course, I have exposure compensation, so I win.
Exposure compensation (EV), for the uninitiated, is the mechanism that allows the photographer to overrule the camera’s meter settings. To punch up the colors, I wanted to let in a bit less light, so it was time to dial in a little -EV.
There. That’s much better. The colors look great. But it may have gone too far the other way–the image is now distinctly underexposed. Of course, this is a phone camera running a basic app, and it only offers exposure compensation in full stops. -1 EV is just too much in this situation. If I’d had one of my real cameras with exposure compensation calibrated in thirds of a stop, I could have tried -.3 EV and -.7 EV and one of them would have been just right.
But then I think about how amazing it is that I have a camera like this in my pocket at all.