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  1. #31

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    Charles. I think you're exaggerating my point of view. I'm not uninterested in understanding the nuances of highlight and shadow, and if you watched me work you'd realise that I'm very careful about exposure. I choose to get my information in a different way- using multiple readings from a one degree spotmeter - in a process that allows me to think about what different parts of my scene will look like if I expose in a certain way.

    But the point is that I prefer to measure these variations not try to guess them. You don't learn more about image-making by doing it without a meter in my view, and you don't learn it easier. All you do is get equivalent inputs a different way. And I guess I'd argue that the interpretation of Sunny 16 seems kind of variable depending on conditions so isn't it better to measure than to judge? The fact that I use a meter doesn't force me to blindly use whatever it tells me but at least I can have confidence in the start-points for my exposure assessments.

    To my mind the biggest factor behind the photographs I prefer to make is imagination. It is far more important than being supremely technically skilled and if I could pay for an extra dose of something then it would be imagination every time. So as you might expect I'm a lot less damning of "artists" who photograph without a full technical appreciation or historical perspective than you might be- if their work is imaginative. If I'm clumsy on exposures (which as I say, I'm not), the price I pay is bracketing. If I'm short on imagination, the price I pay is mediocrity.

    Interestingly there's a guy I photograph with quite a bit who uses the matrix metering/automatic setting of his Pentax 645n for colour landscapes. He thinks I'm a bit slow and anal with my spotmeter and mental calculations. Nearly all the time his exposures look just like mine. Its about as far from Sunny 16 as you can get, but it works.

  2. #32
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    The "Sunny 16 Rule" is a pretty good rule of thumb - that is surprisingly accurate, most - or some - of the time. You can test this by placing an incident sphere on a decent exposure meter and taking readings over time.

    Is "Sunny 16" accurate and stable enough to be used as a standard for photometer - exposure meter calibration? No. Simply, no.
    There are many factors that will affect the amount of light, even from a clear sky at noon and at 40 degrees North Latitude... The amount of dust and moisture in the air, the air temperature (colder air will be more dense and absorb more light) ... the time of year - the angle of the sun with be of interest...

    In re-reading this ... the idea of taking incident readings of light, at different times of the day, at different times of the year, and in different weather conditions can be a useful learning tool.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  3. #33

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    I suppose my answer doesn't really count since I don't develop my own prints, but regardless I seem to get better results working off the sunny 16 rule. Mind you, I have done a lot of reading and have put considerable thought and experimentation into the process. I can't walk out the door and get a perfect exposure using sunny 16, but then again, I can't walk out the door and get perfect exposure using a meter either, but I do get more satisfying results in my trials with sunny 16. I imagine though, that in time and with further use, using sunny 16 will come more naturally and I will get increasingly better results.

  4. #34

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    Not reading the whole thread, my question would be, what subject matter were you shooting?

    Last week when in Sedona AZ I was using my Minolta spot meter to get a reading off a clear north sky at high noon and got a reading of F4.8 @ 125th for a 100 ISO setting. I didn't have my gray card with me, but when I got home I checked the meter and it read fine. Of course I didn't believe it and shot what I thought it should be. I haven't gotten the prints back but I'm sure I exposed correctly. I did some test after getting home, with a 1-2 o'clock sun taking the gray card and metering with it face up, face towards the camera at various angles and in front of various subject matter and then compared the subject matter reading to the gray card reading for a reminder of the reflectance of various subject matter. Essentially I feel that you have to use your brain as much or even more then relying on a meter as they can just be flat out wrong, and it may just be that their cold, hot, need batteries or there's too wide of a light range for the film and you make a mistake. A little work with a gray card, your developer (if b&w) and different sun conditions, as well as exploring various angles to the sun goes a long way to educating one to what to expect. My attitude is to spend a roll on testing every once in awhile both by using a meter and an educated guess and remind yourself what different subject matter reflects for your E.I. Familiarity breeds better exposures. Especially for me when I think but can't remember what I ate for dinner two nights ago.

  5. #35
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    I think 127 has hit the point of this “rule”. If you haven’t got an exposure meter, or it’s broke, you can still take pictures if you understand the rule. No knowledge equals no pictures in such a situation. We seem to be getting a little heated over an unnecessary level of accuracy. I didn’t own an exposure meter until 10 years into this hobby when I brought a Pentax Spotmatic, which happened to have one built in. It took quite a while before I learned to trust it more than the table inside the film box!!
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  6. #36

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    Not that this means much, but no one has mentioned that the info on the film box normally dictates f:16 for sand/water and snow in bright sun. Thus, the sunny 11 rule would seem logical. I have a bunch of old folders to try out. I want to just focus and shoot, without bothering with my spot meter, etc. I will use the sunny xx rule and see what happens. I can screw things up just as well with a meter, so what's to lose?

  7. #37

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    Check the speed for that beach shot. Fuji does that but they double the speed. So one stop opened on the aperture and one stop faster on the shutter.

  8. #38
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynecrider
    Last week when in Sedona AZ I was using my Minolta spot meter to get a reading off a clear north sky at high noon and got a reading of F4.8 @ 125th for a 100 ISO setting.
    I'm curious ... just how did you "meter off a clear north sky" with a spot meter?
    Where did you point the meter?
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  9. #39
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    David, I do not feel that I have exagerated any thing, if you are offended by my remarks and comments I am sorry. I pretty much repeated your own words. Nothing I have written was intended to cause any one discomfort or to say what they are now or have been doing is wrong. Having spent much time in class rooms and in the field with todays students I believe I gave a fair assessment of many of and perhaps the majority of them. No where in my comments doe's the word guess appear. I didn't even say educated guess, I said read, judge, interpret etc. I am sorry (second time I have said this) that my support of another way to do something, has so inflamed you.
    My only guess is that my comments hit a sore spot with you somehow and you are striking at the messenger instead of understand or trying to understanding the message.

    I would be a bit concerned however if my exposures made with a spot metering matched exactly a friends exposures made with an in camera meter! Food for thought?

    This is my last entry/comment on what has become in the last few years the "Sunny f16, F11 or even f8 rule". Back up your good exposures by putting them in the gallery! Anybody else offended by my remarks I apologize to you too.

  10. #40

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    The Sunny 16 rule is definitely a joke. No serious landscape photographer would be shooting in the middle of the day, which is the only time the rule works well.

    Sunny 16 is for fairweather photographers! Real Photographers wouldn't be caught dead in anything brighter than EV10.

    Whenever the light is at its best (most dramatic), its hard to get a better exposure than by interpreting a well calibrated meter's reading.

    Cheers,
    Graeme
    Graeme Hird
    www.scenebyhird.com

    Failure is NOT an option! It comes bundled with your software ....

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