Analog Exposure Meter

You may recall my post on the Sunny Sixteen Rule a while back.

Now I would like to take this a step further and share with you an Analog Exposure Meter that you can use to get a range of exposure settings you can use when deciding how to compose a shot.

The Analog Exposure Meter was created by a guy named Mathew Cole from Minnesota. There is an excellent description on the PDF on how to use it and why Matt Created it. I highly suggest reading it and using it to help you to learn exposure better.

Link to PDF

Here is mine after getting in laminated with 10mm plastic at Office Depot and drilling a hole for a brass tack to hold them together.

Thanks for reading

Exposure for difficult subjects to Meter.

Sometimes you run into situations in low light that you have a difficult time trying to get the right exposure for your subject.

Here are some settings you can use as a starting point to better your chances at getting the shot exposed correctly. Note that these exposures are based on the assumption your ISO is at 400. If your lens is not fast enough to use the suggested f-stop then use your widest aperture and adjust your shutter speed or ISO.

Also remember to bracket!

Subject Setting
Campfire 1/30 sec @ f/5.6

f/11 at various shutter speeds
ranging from 1/2 second to 4 seconds.
Or keep shutter open long enough to get several bursts
Floodlit building,
monuments, fountains
1/4 sec @ f/5.6

Lighted Christmas tree,
outdoors with snow
1/15 sec @ f/5.6

Lighted Christmas tree,
1/15 sec @ f/5.6


f/11, keeping shutter open until
you capture the strike
1/500 sec @ f/16
1/500 sec @ f/11
1/125 sec @ f/8
Eclipse of Moon
In penumbra
(edge of shadow area)
In umbra
(deep shadow area)
1/125 sec @ f/8

1 second at f/2.8

Moonlit Landscape
(moon not in picture)
60 sec @ f/4

Moonlit Snowscape 30 sec @ f/4
Moving Traffic
(light patterns at night)
10 seconds @ f/16

Skyline 10 minutes
after sunset
1/125 sec @ f/5.6

Skyline at night
with lit windows
1 sec @ f/4

Spotlighted Performances 1/125 sec @ f/5.6
Street scenes,
brightly lit
1/60 sec @ f/4

Thanks for reading

"Sunny Sixteen" Exposure Rule

If you have ever watched photography videos on YouTube you sometimes heard people talk about the “Sunny Sixteen” Rule to determine exposure. This is an old way of determining exposure without the use of an exposure meter or to just verify your meter is working correctly when photography was all done on film.

Now with newer DSLR cameras they have built-in light exposure meters that do the work for you. While this is a great bit of technology it sometimes does not work very well or get it completely correct. This is why you should learn to use this classic rule to help you properly expose your images when you need it.

Here is the rule: In Daylight Your Shutter Speed = 1 / ISO (Read: One over ISO)

On a sunny day, with an exposure of f/16, the correct exposure requires a shutter speed closest to the reciprocal of the ISO. Of course you can use a larger aperture if you adjust your shutter speed accordingly.

To help demonstrate this rule the following exposures are based on using 200 ISO*.

Light Setting
Sunny day on snow or light sand 1/500 sec @ f/16 or 1/200 @ f/22** 
Sunny day with distinct shadows 1/200 sec @ f/16 
Hazy sunlight with soft shadows 1/125 sec @ f/16 or 1/200 sec @ f11 
Cloudy, bright with no shadows 1/60 sec @ f/16   or 1/200 sec @ f/8
Heavy overcast of open shade

1/30 sec @ f/16   or 1/200 sec @ f/5.6***

*Some cameras do not have a shutter speed of 1/200 sec so use 1/250 sec.
** Snow and Light Sand tend to reflect more light back onto the subject to you need a full stop less to compensate for it.
*** You can even open you Aperture to f/4 if very dark, or even f/2.6 if needed.

Thank for reading