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Geekybiker
12-10-2007, 07:16 PM
Back when I was learning to shoot photos in school I had to make do with some pretty primitive tools compared to what we have today. I learning on an old Canon AE-1 that all I had for metering was the built in center weighted light meter. Its a useful tool, but being there was alot of manual controls I had to set for each shot, I found I needed to be able to set some stuff before hand to capture action shots.

This is when I learned about BDE or basic daylight exposure. I think it really helped my understanding of exactly how light affects your exposure, and it allowed me to master old equipment.

BDE is basically the rule that you base your exposure from f/16 in sunlight. You take you the ISO speed of your film and take the reciprocal of it to get your exposure length for sunlight. So a ISO 200 setting you would shoot at 1/200 (normally rounded to 1/250) at f/16. Keep in mind the shutter speed you need to hand held shooting and you can adjust the shutter speed up as you open up the lens. Say you needed to use a 1/500 speed for your monster lens with iso 200 film. Your settings would the be 1/500@f/11.

BDE has a list of common settings with a number of stops you need to compensate. You can do this either through aperture or shutter speed.

Scene: Exposure:
Sunlight with a normal subject in the sunlight. Basic Dayight Exposure (f/16 rule)
Sunlight with a dramatic effect or silhouette effect shooting directly into the sun. Basic Dayight Exposure minus two f/stops
Sunlight with bright snow or sand. Basic Dayight Exposure minus one f/stop
Sunlight, backlit subject, exposing for the shadows Basic Dayight Exposure plus two f/stops
Overcast with weak, hazy light, soft shadows Basic Dayight Exposure plus one f/stops
Overcast with normal, cloudy bright light Basic Dayight Exposure plus two f/stops
Overcast in heavy or open shade Basic Dayight Exposure plus three f/stops
When shooting the Moon for a lunar exposure Basic Dayight Exposure (f/16 rule), open 1/3 stop for 2/3 moon, 1/2 stop for 1/2 moon, 2/3 stop for 1/3 moon
When shooting skylines at a distance at night Basic Dayight Exposure plus thirteen f/stops
When shooting Neon signs or lighted signs Basic Dayight Exposure plus five f/stops
When shooting stage shows with bright light Basic Dayight Exposure plus five f/stops
When shooting stage shows with average light Basic Dayight Exposure plus seven f/stops
When shooting Ice shows lit by floodlights Basic Dayight Exposure plus six f/stops
When shooting circus shows lit by floodlights Basic Dayight Exposure plus seven f/stops
When shooting areas like Las Vegas, Times Square, etc. Basic Dayight Exposure plus six f/stops
When shooting fireworks displayed on the ground Basic Dayight Exposure plus six f/stops
When shooting buildings lit by floodlights, fountains, monuments, etc. Basic Dayight Exposure plus eleven f/stops
When shooting Indoor/Outdoor Christmas Lighting at Night Basic Dayight Exposure plus ten f/stops
When shooting Churchs, Tungsten lights Basic Dayight Exposure plus nine f/stops
When shooting plays on school stages and auditoriums Basic Dayight Exposure plus nine f/stops
When shooting store windows at night Basic Dayight Exposure plus six f/stops
When shooting candle-lit close-ups Basic Dayight Exposure plus ten & 1/2 f/stops
When shooting home interiors at night, brightly lit Basic Dayight Exposure plus eight f/stops
When shooting home interiors at night, average light Basic Dayight Exposure plus nine & 1/3 f/stops
When shooting swimming pools, indoors, tungesten lit, above water Basic Dayight Exposure plus eight f/stops
When shooting fairs and amusement parks at night Basic Dayight Exposure plus eight f/stops
When shooting baseball, hockey, bowling, etc. Basic Dayight Exposure plus seven f/stops
When shooting football, baseball, races, etc., at night Basic Dayight Exposure plus six f/stops

jacobsen1
12-10-2007, 07:52 PM
ah yes, the good old days with sunny 16. My Bronica has no meter, so I've had to use this before. Although I just knew sunny 16 and had to punt for the over under. It's a great thing to learn anyway though so you'll have some clue how much light you're looking at. Picking up a cheap photo light meter isn't a bad idea as it will teach you a ton.