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  1. #11
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jstraw View Post
    I'd be interested in performing a similar experiment with my meter and someone that claims they can do what HCB claimed he could do. I'm not going to argue over anecdotes and I'm not going to call anyone a liar. I'm a skeptic and I would enjoy being proven wrong through empirical, rather than anecdotal evidence, that's all.
    OK, Next sunny day take your meter and meter an outdoor average frontlit scene or meter the cloudless northern sky 45 degrees up. I'd wager you'll get 1/ISO @ f/16 +/- half-stop. The "sunny-16 rule" y'know? Should hold in Kansas though maybe a bit different in Colorado.

    For years people without meters have used exposure tables printed in film boxes, photoguides, and more recently on the internet to estimate proper exposure. It's simply a matter of perceiving the difference between a sunny and overcast day, distinct vs. soft shadows, a bright room vs. a dim one, the edge of a forest or the deep shade within, etc.

    St. Ansel also reports he used this sort of experiential "guess" based on his learned experience of the luminance of the full moon in his famous Moonrise, Hernadez New Mexico image.

    You can prove this "argument" to yourself easily if you take the time to attend to the situations you normally photograph in.

    It's very weird but since I started doing wetplate I find I'm usually very close on initial exposures even though they may run into the tens of seconds. Another anecdote, but myself and other wetheads also report being able to almost physically feel the exposures needed as the exposure is in progress. You sense enough light has hit the plate sometimes sooner or in excess of the original guesstimate.

    If only I could effectively apply this sense to the lottery... :rolleyes:

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by snegron View Post
    P.S. I am almost motivated to sell all my Nikon equipment and buy a Leica M6 or M7 with a couple of lenses in the hopes of minimalizing and focusing on image making instead of equipment fussing!
    Seems to me you'd be a bit hypocritical having a built in meter.

    Those times preceeded the great SLR revolution which was to be brought about by the Nikkon F, otherwise you'd see more F's in use.

    Learning exposure via the Sunny 16 and experience route is a learned talent that is not all that difficult. And keep in mind that many of those images spent long hours in the darkroom with a dodge or burn tool or other printing technique.

    There is nothing new under the sun.

  3. #13
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smieglitz View Post
    OK, Next sunny day take your meter and meter an outdoor average frontlit scene or meter the cloudless northern sky 45 degrees up. I'd wager you'll get 1/ISO @ f/16 +/- half-stop. The "sunny-16 rule" y'know? Should hold in Kansas though maybe a bit different in Colorado.

    For years people without meters have used exposure tables printed in film boxes, photoguides, and more recently on the internet to estimate proper exposure. It's simply a matter of perceiving the difference between a sunny and overcast day, distinct vs. soft shadows, a bright room vs. a dim one, the edge of a forest or the deep shade within, etc.

    St. Ansel also reports he used this sort of experiential "guess" based on his learned experience of the luminance of the full moon in his famous Moonrise, Hernadez New Mexico image.

    You can prove this "argument" to yourself easily if you take the time to attend to the situations you normally photograph in.

    It's very weird but since I started doing wetplate I find I'm usually very close on initial exposures even though they may run into the tens of seconds. Another anecdote, but myself and other wetheads also report being able to almost physically feel the exposures needed as the exposure is in progress. You sense enough light has hit the plate sometimes sooner or in excess of the original guesstimate.

    If only I could effectively apply this sense to the lottery... :rolleyes:

    1/ISO? like 1/100 for ISO 100, 1/400 for ISO 400?
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. In velit arcu, consequat at, interdum sit amet, consequat in, quam.

  4. #14

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    Check the film box. Many still include an exposure chart that is simplified sunny 16.

    If the meter disagrees with me out doors I question the meter.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ehparis View Post
    Seems to me you'd be a bit hypocritical having a built in meter.

    Those times preceeded the great SLR revolution which was to be brought about by the Nikkon F, otherwise you'd see more F's in use.

    Learning exposure via the Sunny 16 and experience route is a learned talent that is not all that difficult. And keep in mind that many of those images spent long hours in the darkroom with a dodge or burn tool or other printing technique.

    There is nothing new under the sun.

    Being the obssessive compulsive person that I am, I'm sure I would end up buying extra gadgets for my Leica system and end up fussing over equipment (faster lenses, back up body, motor winder or no motor winder?, etc) just as I am with my current emarrassingly excessive Nikon system.

    I might solve this if I go really retro and get a Leica M3 single stroke. Of course, what would I do if it breaks down? I'm sure I would need a backup body! And so the obssession continues...!


    On the other hand, I have been giving this topic some thought and I think I'd like to try an experiment next week. Just for fun, and honoring the memory of the past masters of meterless photography, I am going to load up a couple of rolls of film in my Nikon F, replace the metering head with my standard prism head for a day or two, and shoot images based on the sunny 16 rule or exposure recommendations printed on the film box!

    I just realized that there are no charts printed on my boxes of film (Kodak High Definition ISO 400)! Maybe this is because the boxes hold three rolls instead of one?
    Last edited by snegron; 04-22-2007 at 12:43 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: New info

  6. #16
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    I've bought a Kiev 4a recently, and the first roll I shot was a roll of slide film (E200). It has no built-in light meter. I decided to go outside to take some pictures, so I took ONE light reading outside to make sure that my sunny f/11 (yep, it's f/11 for me in Montréal) rule was working.

    After that I just walked around town, and given that the light didn't change, why would I bother taking yet another and another light reading? If a subject is in shade, open one to two stops depending on how deep in the shadows it is.

    This shot: http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphot...=23667&cat=502 was taken without having any other measurement than the initial sunny reading. It's not that hard.

    I went to Boston the other weekend, and carried my Kiev around. On slide film, I never even used a meter, and I must have missed maybe three shots on a roll, where the light was more tricky than my experience. On negative film, these shots would have been salvageable.

    Thinking in terms of incident light rather than reflected light is actually a very good shortcut to calculate exposure without a meter.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  7. #17
    Curt's Avatar
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    Ansel didn't guess, he knew that the moon was 250 ft candles from previous measurements and calculated from there. The experts are guessing, an educated and fairly accurate guess sometimes but a guess none the less. Non experts who have success just got lucky. The back of my hand says it time for a cup of coffee, with cream and sugar. And it's never wrong, almost never.
    Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand

  8. #18
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smieglitz View Post

    It's very weird but since I started doing wetplate I find I'm usually very close on initial exposures even though they may run into the tens of seconds. Another anecdote, but myself and other wetheads also report being able to almost physically feel the exposures needed as the exposure is in progress. You sense enough light has hit the plate sometimes sooner or in excess of the original guesstimate.
    I've had a similar impression on the few occasions I was taking night shots. I haven't made enough night photography so I'm not at the point at which this gut feeling works, but it was exactly like that!
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  9. #19

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    I've been using sunny 16 quite a bit recently, or just metering once and then leaving the meter in the bag and adjusting exposure on the fly. I'm not great at it yet, but I seem to be getting usable results most of the time.

    I have a Zorki 2c and took it out last week with a roll of Pan-F in it. Using sunny-16 (or really sunny-11) and no meter. I scanned the negs, all of them produced usable images and some were taken in quite deep shade and others in bright sunshine.

    I'd say I was as much as a stop out a fair number of times on that roll, but nothing was so over-exposed or under-exposed that I couldn't have produced a print.

  10. #20
    KenS's Avatar
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    [QUOTE
    For years people without meters have used exposure tables printed in film boxes, photoguides, and more recently on the internet to estimate proper exposure. [/QUOTE]

    Well.....
    When I started, my mentor's (heavy) wood tripod and 'pack' containing the Ilford glass plates were not the only thing I had to humph from home, then scene to scene. I was alway responsible for making sure "I" had my copy of the "Ilford (film) Exposure Guide... an item then referred to as "our" meter.

    I was soon given the responsibility of "finding" the correct exposure. The Ilford 'meter' was a printed and folded sheet, from which the photographer had to make choices from 'options' such as latitude/longtitude, (country) month of the year, time of day within an hour or so.... direction (If I remember correctly) then film speed. Numbers, or rather numeric values from each 'section' were totalled to provide the photgrapher with a "value"... then at the end, f-stop and shutter speed choices from the 'calculated' value.. similar to EV numbers that some of to-day's meters provide the user.

    A few of the lenses had Waterhouse stops.. and only one lens had a mechanical shutter. The remaining lenses had their timed exposure given by removing the lenscap after the black, velvet lined bowler hat covering the front of the lens, the bowler "swung away..and back" before the lenscap was replaced.

    Due to my mentor's experience, I was never hesitant to accept his last minute "gut-feeling" modification of my calculated exposure.

    I still have an Ilford "Film Exposure Guide" in one of my boxes of "files and crap not-to-be thrown away until I'm blinded or burnded".

    Was this calculated 'value' always correct?.... no, but it brought someone like me, with a limited knowlege, to within spitting distance.... where one made final decisions with local application of "windage".

    After about a year, I was more than thrilled... I was PROUD... when I developed my first plate, to find that "my" first exposure, chosen all mybyself was well within the usual spitting distance.

    Ken
    Quando omni flunkus moritati (R. Green)

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