My default metering setting on all of my cameras is "pattern." Depending on the brand, this setting can be called evaluative, matrix, multi-segment, or some other label. What it means is that the camera is evaluating various parts of a scene, then analyzing the information to create an exposure. And most of the time, this works great.
But there are those scenes that require human intervention. For me, it's usually when there's an illuminated area, such as a band on light reflecting off this bed of nasturtium.
I love it when I find these situations. Unfortunately, most of the time that bright area will be overexposed with pattern metering, as shown below.
Fortunately, the adjustment is simple. I switched to spot metering on my Canon 5D Mark II, then exposed for the brightest area. These two shots, with no exposure editing, show the differences in this metering approach.
If you like "getting it right" in the camera, keep this technique in your back pocket. It feels good to see the image on the LCD the way you pictured it in your mind.
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