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tank picture: overexposed upper leaves

Roger - the ultimate problem here is the lighting, not
 the exposure.  you can try metering for the most
 brightly lit leaves and you'll get them at the correct
 exposure but everything else will be too dark.  or you
 could take a lot of readings and try to strike the best
 balance - which a lot of the better dedicated light
 meters do anyway.  no matter what there's just a big 
disparity in lighting.  the best way  i know to handle
 this sort of thing is to use a gradient filter - cokin 
makes them i believe.  its basically a square  piece of
 plastic thats shaded neutral grey on one side and fades
 to clear on the other - its the sort of thing people
 use to take pictures of sunsets to get both the sky and
 the foreground correctly exposed, and maybe to make the
 sky all orange or purple while they're at it.  you need
 to buy a whole adapter unit to fit the filters onto 
 your camera.  its not terribly expensive but i'm not sure its worth it either, imho