years ago i bought a graflarger back from a guy in vancouver washington ..
he made these extended exposure guides ...
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You might want to give the 'Ultimate Exposure Computer' a shot...
The guidelines you've been given are all good, but obviously, nothing can guarantee consistency except either experience or a meter (otherwise meters wouldn't exist).
Armed with the information you already have, practice, erring always on the side of overexposure, as this does far less harm than underexposure: in fact, I'd advocate 'sunny 11' rather than 'sunny 16'.
Or buy a cheap meter; practice guessing; and compare your guess with the meter. You can do this anytime, even when you are not carrying a meter.
On the bright side, it's astonishing how fast you can acquire the ability to guess well.
For What it is worth:
Wheweee, Does this date me! When I began to learn to see light, the friendly exposure meter had not yet been invented. To make good negative exposures one had to learn how to read. see. or interpret the light. I had never heard of the "sunny 16 rule" until about 20 years ago. We used techniques similar, but did not give them cutsy names.
The instruction sheet packed with the film always used the reciprocal of ASA and f16. Heck it wasn't a big thing to work without a meter. It did save some time I guess when meters finally made their appearance, but they were then and in my opinion still are very unecessary if one simply learns to see the light and all of it's various indicators. I don't believe there is a quick and easy way to do this, but practice. practice and more practice. It is great fun the set up your box, compose and focus then take out your meter and check it against the setting you have already determined and set the camera to and find it to be dead on. When you really have learned to see light, there are very few surprises. You can practice "seeing" light indoors as well, but I find that it does not vary as much as some believe. Today few practice what has become my way doing things, but even though I ocassionally do check with a meter, I find I am exremely close on my exposures. I am not guessing, I look into the shadow to see what is there or perhaps not there then the highlight or brightest point in the composition then I adjust everything based on the knowledge I have accumulated over the years. It works for me! And has for thousands of others.
I do not expect anyone to throw away their meters and learn to actually see the light but it is a gratifying way of doing things the original way.. 18% reflectance gray is 18% reflectance gray with or with out a meter.
One of the things that can make 'guessing' easy or harder is the film & developer you're using.
For instance, HC110 tends to encourage a film response that makes shadows darker, and highlights brighter, than a 'straight line' response. XTOL, on the other hand, tend toward a straight line. If you are using Tri X with HC110, a little error can result in big problems. With XTOL, even a big error is seldom trouble.
So, if you're working with HP5, you can develop in Xtol, DDX, or D76 and get generous shadows and long smooth highlights which will ameliorate any 'errors'.
Keep a log of exposures. You'll probably discover that the pictures you make are usually in one or two conditions, and you'll only need to know a couple exposure settings anyhow !
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
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It's been a couple of years (just over two, in fact), but the last time I bought one of Kodak's pocket photo guides, they were still including an exposure calculator.
Roger - Good point about Sunny 11. Sunny 16 works fine for me in Virginia, but both you and he are a bit farther north. The exposure tables people used to use before meters came along adjusted for such things - have a set somewhere....
I did that a few years back. I carried it in my car and used to do the estimating exercises whenever I was stopped in traffic.
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
In about a week I was consistently within an f/stop of my meter. I still do it every now and then, just to make sure I still have my chops.
Maybe a general exposure but for finer control and detail you really can't without a lot of waste.
Your comment is very very wrong! How did we get the images that required finer control and detail before the invention of the light meter? I guarantee I knew no photographers who could afford to waste anything. A news paper editor would send us out with one film holder and a Speed and two #22 bulbs.
Originally Posted by flash19901
If you did not come back with two different printable detailed prints, your rear
was on the carpet before you left work. Getting the finer control and detail became rather easy, once you learned the necessary skills and actually knew what you were doing. The exposure meter for most camera persons is a necessary crutch, but it doesn't have to be!
I agree with Charles 100% When I started 35mm with an Argus brick, a friend had a camera with a meter. We started with me asking him for exposure settings. He was nice enough to make me guess every single time. It was only a few weeks when the guessing was close enough that I stopped asking him. And for odd lighting situations we used items like the Jiffy Calc, avaiable here:
Scroll down to the bottom to find the PDF file of it, print it out, cut out the windows and fold...