How to shoot this picture


TPF Noob!
Jun 10, 2003
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I have a black wall with inscription and carvings Everything is in black.
The wall is lit by bright sunlight.

How do I take the picture of this wall showing the details of the inscriptions and the carvings.

1. Should I apply the sunny 16 rule and come up with a perfect exposure.
2. Should I meter the incident sunlight and determine my exposure
3. Should I meter the reflected light from the wall and underexpose by 1 stop
as black has the reflectance of 9% and my meter is based on 18% grey tone.
my guess would be...

just take the friggin picture!

just kidding.


...i agree with alan - bracket - but would use option #2

Option #3 would probably need 2 (maybe 2.5) stops underexposure

Excellent advice from the Mod: we can often spend too much time anguishing about technical details when all that's required is simply shoot


I think bracketing a little on either side of an incident reading would be the best. Black does not reflect light near as much as a more neutral shade or color.
I agree w/ just take the freakin picture. I mean sure its great to ponder the most effective technique and get hte perfect shot. But on the other hand, film is cheap, just try all three of your ideas and see waht comes out the best.
If possible wait until the wall & carvings are illuminated by side lighting, this will have the effect of lifting the carvings. As far as exposure is concerned, I wouldn't expect to get the ideal photo with just one shot. Take several, if the photograph is worth going after in the first place then a few spoiled frames is of no importance. Go with the advice in previous posts & BRACKET.
Remember film is the cheapest thing you will buy for photography, so why skimp?
meter on your open hand in the same light as your subject, and should end up with a shot close to what your eye sees.

ps. Bracketing is taking multiple exposures of the same 1 shot at metered exposure...1 shot 1 stop over and 1 stop under...or more if you are not sure and in the dark ages using film :lol: :lol:
What about diffusing the sunlight?? Or you can meter different areas and come up with an 'average' exposure of sorts.

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