Tag Archives: light

The July Challenge is Coming!

as if the sky was about to kiss them
Creative Commons License photo credit: ~ fernando

Trevor is at it again — the July Challenge will be starting up soon. The topic of the month will be LIGHTING FIXTURES. You can shoot street lamps, head lights, tail lights, desk lamps, chandeliers, and whatever else you can find that can be called a lighting fixture.

If you’re new to these Photo Challenges, let me lay it out for you. The idea is to follow a predefined topic set by Trevor. Typically, you push yourself to take a photo every day for the entire month on that topic. When you upload your photos to Flickr or other photo sharing sites, you then tag your photos with the tags that Trevor sets on the project kickoff page. Trevor then highlights some of his favorites each week or at the end of the month.

I’ve participated in a few of these projects, and each time I do I learn a tremendous amount of new things. Focusing on a single topic for an entire month can really get your creative side going and expand your skills. So if you’re looking for a little project or a fun way to challenge yourself, check out the July Challenge.

Visit the July Challenge Official Announcement

Brushing Up on the Sunny 16 Rule

Wait .. Don't go !!
Creative Commons License photo credit: Kuw_Son

With digital cameras today, there’s almost never a need to “guess” or estimate exposure settings. Even so, you may eventually find yourself having to ignore your light meter and take the situation into your own hands. Or perhaps you’ll end up falling for film and buying an old camera without a light meter. Either way, having the ability to set exposure without the assistance of a meter is a good skill to acquire.

USING THE SUNNY 16 RULE

  1. Gauge Your Light
    For the Sunny 16 Rule to work, you’ll first need a sunny day. The rule can also work with other lighting situations such as cloudy and overcast — take a look at the next list for those.
  2. Set Your F-Number
    Set your f-number to f/16. If you don’t have strong sunlight, use the next list to determine your starting f-number.
  3. Set Your Shutter Speed
    Take note of your ISO or film speed (let’s call it “X”). Now set your shutter speed to 1/X. So at ISO 400, you’d use a shutter speed of 1/400 seconds.
  4. Adjust With Reciprocals
    You may want to use different shutter speeds or f-numbers. You can adjust one as long as you adjust the other accordingly. Opening up by one full f-number requires cutting your shutter speed in half (and visa versa).

VARIATIONS ON SUNNY 16

  1. f/16 for Sunny
  2. f/11 for Slight Overcast
  3. f/8 for Overcast
  4. f/5.6 for Heavy Overcast
  5. f/4 for Sunset

F-STOP GUIDE

Since most cameras offer full stops, half stops, and third stops, you’ll need to have a handle on which ones are full stops so you can use the rule of reciprocals to change your f-number and shutter speed. Here’s a list of full f-stops.

f/1 – f/1.4 – f/2 – f/2.8 – f/4 – f/5.6 – f/8 – f/11 – f/16 – f/22 – f/32 – f/45

But you don’t need to memorize these numbers — there’s an easy little trick to them. You actually just need to remember two numbers: 1 and 1.4. These are the first two full stops in the list. Double them and you get the next two in the list. Double those and you get the next two numbers. Check it out:

1.0 – 2.0 – 4.0 – 8.0 – 16 – 32
– 1.4 – 2.8 – 5.6 – 11 – 22 – 45

You’ll notice that twice 5.6 isn’t exactly 11 and twice 22 isn’t 45. This is because the bigger numbers are rounded and the starting number isn’t exactly 1.4 — it’s 1.41421356… or the square root of 2.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources having to do with Sunny 16 Rule and exposure.

The rule really works — if you don’t believe it, go try it out with any camera that has manual controls. I’ve been using the rule with my 1956 Minolta Autocord Twin Lens Reflex (no light meter) and it performs flawlessly.

February Challenge: Day 12 – 22 Lanes

22 Lanes

WEEK 3 = RED

Long exposure of traffic on Interstate 5 where it splits into the 5 and 805. Can you believe that there are 22 lanes at this point and it’s backed up during rush hour every day?

I’ve never done one of these long-exposure traffic shots before. It turns out that the white lights are much brighter than the red ones. Plus there wasn’t much traffic, so it probably could’ve turned out better. Here are a few others from that night as I was messing around with different amounts of focus and shutter speed:

14 Point Star 8 Point Star Octogons Short Exposure Moderate Exposure Long Exposure

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

February Challenge: Day 9 – Pedestrian Crossing

Pedestrian Crossing

WEEK 2 = YELLOW

This photo (and those shown below) came from our recent La Jolla photowalk. I totally overworked the colors on this image and it was completely on purpose, but I like the way it ended up. I’ll be uploading quite a few photos to Flickr over the course of this week, so keep your eyes on my stuff over there if you’re interested in seeing how the day turned out. You can also follow the photos from everybody else, as long as they’re tagged with “photowalking020908“. Honestly, with all this color stuff for the February Challenge, you can expect to see a lot of my photowalk images turning out black & white.

To see the rest of my February Challenge photos, check the “Challenge” category here on the blog or visit my Flickr Set.

Link Roundup 01-12-2008

PROJECTS

  • February Challenge
    PhotoChallenge.org
    The month of February will be dedicated to colors! Pick a color a week and shoot at least three photos of that color during the week.
  • You’ve Got a Project? I’ve Got a Wiki!
    ADIDAP
    Antoine is putting together a photography project wiki to keep track of all the ongoing projects that can be found amongst the local blogs. If you host projects, I’d encourage you to contact him and help build up the structure of the site — it should be a great resource if we get a lot of folks on board.

READING MATERIAL