The Weekly Margs by

O is for Overexposed

Too bright!


If you’ve ever looked at my Instagram, you might notice that I take a lot of pictures of sunsets. Anyways, this week’s newsletter has some more!

In photography, exposure is the measure of how much light you capture. Digital sensors have a maximum number they can measure, so if too many pixels hit that limit, the photo is considered overexposed. Usually when a lot of pixels have that max value, there’s likely some lost detail in that area, so we typically want to avoid overexposure to be able to see details, because humans like details and interesting things.

Most iPhones do a lot of really smart stuff with exposure, and new ones automatically bracket exposures and create HDR photos with no user input. My standalone camera can do exposure bracketing, but it doesn’t combine the photos, so this leads to a lot of overexposed photos. The nice thing is that the Leica does indicate when parts of a photo are overexposed, so there is some good feedback to adjust the exposure as needed.

However, sometimes I’m just happy enough to let the overexposed photos be, and enjoy the sunlight. This week, we’re looking at a few of those. A lot of these photos have a hazy vibe, so maybe this week is kind of like the sequel to H is for Hazy.

May 2020. The Marina (San Francisco, CA)

This shot was from a sunset walk in May. The bright sun kind of blows out the center of the frame, with the light bleeding into the trees in the background a bit, but I kind of like it. I love the hazy mountains on the right side, and I like how the all the masts kind of make a little forest out of the harbor.

December 2020. The Presidio (San Francisco, CA)

I biked to Marin to go on a hike in Muir Woods with my friend Vanessa, and on the way back, just after I came across the Golden Gate Bridge, I looked up and saw the sun in this amazing light and slight haze and had to stop to try to get a picture of it. The vertical streak of light across the water is probably overexposed, as is the sun itself, but I still am happy with how this photo captured that “wow” moment.

Coincidentally, Vanessa had just bought a Leica Q like mine, but hers came with a UV filter. As we walked around Muir Woods, we took similar photos, and it was clear that her UV filter made a difference and helped keep shots less overexposed, so I looked up the filter she had and ordered one for myself.

December 2020. Alta Plaza Park (San Francisco, CA)

I had a small distanced picnic in the Alta Plaza Park and we went for a little bit of a walk afterwards. As we rounded the path behind one of the hills, we passed this tennis court and the sun was right there. Again, this photo is a tad overexposed, the sun was right in our faces, but I love the coloring and the long shadows, and the light coming through the fence.

In the time since I’ve taken these photos, my UV filter has arrived, so hopefully I’ll be able to take slightly fewer overexposed photos in the future.

See you next time!