Sunny 16 and Looney 11 Rules

If you are anything like me and you can’t function until the largest cup of coffee known to man is digesting than you are more than likely heading out to shoot well after the sun is up. There are occasions that I am up for sunrise but honestly it is extremely rare; I am NOT a morning person. So a lot of my photographs are day, evening, and night photos when I find someone who is willing to wander around in the dark with me.

Hay Whatcha doin in the Field

Hay Whatcha doin in the Field photographed by Melissa Fague – Landscape Photography

Both Sunny 16 and Looney 11 are method of estimating the correct exposure of a scene without having to use a light meter. Again this is only a way to estimate your settings, you may need to tweak your setting depending on your subject matter and your creative vision.
The basic rule of sunny 16 is: On a sunny day set the camera’s aperture to f/16 and the shutter speed to the reciprocal valve of the ISO for the subject that is in direct sunlight. This will help insure details are visible in the highlights and shadows with minimum clipping.

For example:

  • On a sunny day and with ISO 100, aperture to f/16 and the shutter speed to 1/100 or 1/125.
  • On a sunny day with ISO 200, aperture to f/16, and set the shutter speed to 1/200 or 1/250.
  • On a sunny day with ISO 400,  aperture at f/16, and set shutter speed to 1/400 or 1/500.

The basic rule of Looney 11 is the same as Sunny 16 but with a different aperture setting. Looney 11 is mostly used for the astronomical photos such as the moons surface or a starry sky so you may have to adjust your setting to capture more ground detail if your shooting landscapes.

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