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Spot metering:
The ultimate exposure technique

1.17 The Federal Express (FedEx) Story

The Federal Express Company (FedEx) is the world’s largest express transportation company and carries more than two million packages daily. Many of these packages are delivered overnight to hundreds of destinations in the USA. For many years, until the volume became overwhelming, all packages from different cities, regardless of their final destination, were flown to Memphis, Tennessee to the FedEx base. From there the packages were sorted and placed on a plane and flown to their appropriate destinations (except all packages whose final destination were Memphis!) The two diagrams (1.17.1 and 1.17.2) illustrate similarities between your spotmeter's operation and that of the FedEx original operations.

1.17.1 Let’s relate the FedEx’s process to the function of your spotmeter

When sending a package from one city to another, the package always ended up in Memphis before it was shipped to its final destination. For many years Memphis was the base for the FedEx operations in the same way that the 18% gray image tone is the base for your spotmeter's operation. When you point the spotmeter in your camera at any simple subject and the meter in your camera shows a normal exposure, it is simply creating an 18% gray image tone. For the original FedEx, Memphis was considered to be the city where all packages had to change planes to reach their final destination. For your camera, 18% gray base can be considered as a point through which all simple image tones must pass before reaching their final destination. The only difference is that your camera does not know where these tones are coming from and where they are going. The final destination of any gray tone at the gray base must be determined by you, the photographer. Photographers, having the knowledge of spotmeter applications, know what the original tone looks like. They use this "normal exposure" as the base to determine the subjects "correct exposure.

Section 1.17 Summary:

During their early days, the Federal Express Company (FedEx) used a centralized method of package distribution. Using this method, all packages from anywhere in the US regardless of their final destination, were flown to Memphis every night before they were flown to their city of destination.

Your spotmeter uses a similar centralized technique. This means that the image tone of any normally exposed simple subject will always go to the 18% gray image base before it is sent to the correct destination tone by the skilled photographer.

Please remember: The 18% gray image tone to a meter is what Memphis was to the Federal Express operation.


Section 1.17Full page Illustrations

Ch1-1701.jpg (72687 bytes)


Ch1-1702.jpg (152577 bytes)



Warning: Do not try this without wearing about 17EVs (stops reduction) Neutral Density sunglasses (staple 5 layers of sunglasses you use after your doctor dilates your eyes together). 
It can cause blindness.