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General Photography Tips

Sunny 16 Rule -- Light Readings Without a Light Meterby Laurie McArthur


ver get caught without a light meter? Stuck on an important photographic expedition without a way of determining your exposure settings? Well I have, and it worked out ok, thanks to the Sunny 16 Rule and careful consideration of years of experience. Here's the story surrounding this event and how it worked out.

High Investment Trip

For over 12 months I'd planned and prepared for this wilderness landscape photography trip to outback South Australia. I'd driven about a third of the way across the continent to get to my home base at Roxby Downs, a mining town in the arid desert. I'd driven on pastoral station roads for 82 km to Bosworth Station Homestead where I left the car and trailer. I'd ridden on my ATV (that's a four wheel motorbike) for two hours over the roughest and rockiest ground you could imagine and set up a base camp on Andamooka Island.

Light Meter Lost

I camped the first night and went photographing just on daylight. At the start of my afternoon photo session my light meter was missing. It must have fallen out of my coat pocket while I was riding. If you could see the million, trillion rocks strewn over the desert and where I'd been on the bike, you'd understand that it just wasn't worth looking for the meter. Five days of photographing in front of me and no way of getting accurate light readings.

Page 1 of 2. (To continue this article, go to Applying the Sunny 16 Rule)
About the Author Laurie McArthur is a wilderness landscape photographer, based on the New South Wales Far South Coast, Australia. Laurie's images may be viewed at