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View Full Version : If you had no batteries, would you stay home?



Heroique
24-Feb-2015, 14:11
Let's say all your batteries are shot. :(

Suddenly, you have no meter, no cell phone, no smartphone apps, no GPS unit, not even the MP3 device or transistor radio for those times when you're waiting for the wind or rain to subside.

Would you stay home (or go home) until you got your electricity back? If yes, tell us which items you'd need before getting back to work.

Or would you be brave enough to hit the field anyway? If so, which battery-operated item – if any – would you miss the most? Would you use a strategy to cover the loss?

djdister
24-Feb-2015, 14:13
Some meters don't require batteries... so no problem.

Jac@stafford.net
24-Feb-2015, 14:13
The only battery I need is the one that starts my truck.
None whatsoever needed in the field.
.

Randy Moe
24-Feb-2015, 14:58
I shoot 35 mm, 120 and 4x5 all the time by Sunny 16, just as I have for 57 years. 35 mm film used to come with instructions. I used them. Same Pentax H3 for most of the time. I never knew what a meter was until the 90's. Never hung out with other photographers. Didn't hang out in camera stores or read the magazines. I was and still am ignorant of a lot of things.

To check myself, I will shoot a roll of 35mm in many different lighting and apertures and look to see where I screw up.

When outside I listen intently and look at everything. The wilds of Chicago and USA are no place to be distracted by music or machine.

No I'm not a zone guy and I do shoot crap all the time. But coming from 40 shots on a roll of 35mm, I only expect one 'good' image per roll. Maybe.

Usually I have my exposure fine, but maybe I don't like the content.

I use a Sekonic L758DR in studio, but then I'm home. Bigger than 4x5 gets a meter.

DannL
24-Feb-2015, 15:10
Don't need batteries for anything. When in doubt . . . bracket. I have two built-in light meters. One under each eyebrow. Neither needs a battery. And all my shutters are mechanical. We're good to go.

Peter Lewin
24-Feb-2015, 15:21
Other than the car starting, as someone else posted, I would probably wait until I got a spare battery for my light meter. I know I could use the "sunny 16" rule, but I think I would be happier with the control of the light meter. Actually, since I make a point of always having a spare meter battery, it really comes down to the car.

Jim Jones
24-Feb-2015, 16:09
I've never had to change a battery in a Weston Master II or GE DW-68 meter. Some things just aren't made the way they used to be.

BarryS
24-Feb-2015, 16:50
Since I've been shooting wet plate, I've felt much more comfortable shooting film without a meter. I can't think of anything battery-powered that would keep me from shooting.

Moopheus
24-Feb-2015, 16:51
I've got a dynamo hub on my bike that could be used to charge batteries (I admit I don't have the plug-in charger thingy, but they are out there). Otherwise, I suppose I could make do without a meter. Maybe have to bracket more, but I learned without one as kid, could do it again. None of my film cameras need a battery to shoot.

Nigel Smith
24-Feb-2015, 17:09
I could bump start the wifes car (a stick for your Americains... manual for the rest of the world!) down the drive but would have to remember to park on a hill to get going again after photo gathering.

StoneNYC
24-Feb-2015, 17:13
This is a silly thread, besides the obvious non-battery meters, I'm still not sure why lack of batteries would stop anyone from shooting of the scene were really great, even risking a mess up is worth it, even up to 8x10 I would say, maybe not 20x24 sheet film.

I use my version of sunny 16 when I forget my meter or when using my 2.25x3.25 because it's fun to "wing it" and I stand develop that size anyway (as I haven't found any other holder that takes it besides my FR tank).

Silly question.

Heroique
24-Feb-2015, 18:20
It just occurred to me that no batteries means no flashlight or headlamp.

This would curtail many of my outings – especially those when I work into the dusk, then head back on a rocky trail as night falls.

So I might not stay home, but I'd probably get home a lot earlier!

Moreover, a flashlight is one of the so-called "10 essentials" for hiking, and for many good reasons...

David Lobato
24-Feb-2015, 18:53
My field notes can tell me what settings to use, deja vu all over again. My notebook is a treasure trove of exposure data.

Luis-F-S
24-Feb-2015, 19:07
Let's say all your batteries are shot. :(

Would you stay home (or go home) until you got your electricity back? If yes, tell us which items you'd need before getting back to work.


Whole house generator. I'd just charge the batteries...............L

jnanian
24-Feb-2015, 19:45
my photographic endeavors require no batteries.
i haven't used a meter for maybe a decade or more and, i don't use a phone to make photographs
( or hardly ever otherwise ) and i don't need any electricity.

if the power went out ( or i had no car ?) where i live for days on end the only thing
i wouldn't be able to do is go on the internet. i'd have no trouble photographing,
finding something to eat or processing film.

Jac@stafford.net
24-Feb-2015, 20:25
It just occurred to me that no batteries means no flashlight or headlamp.

Carbide lamp (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbide_lamp#mediaviewer/File:Carbide_lamp_lit.jpg), ya nubee. :)
.

Randy Moe
24-Feb-2015, 21:07
my photographic endeavors require no batteries.
i haven't used a meter for maybe a decade or more and, i don't use a phone to make photographs
( or hardly ever otherwise ) and i don't need any electricity.

if the power went out ( or i had no car ?) where i live for days on end the only thing
i wouldn't be able to do is go on the internet. i'd have no trouble photographing,
finding something to eat or processing film.

+1.

mdarnton
24-Feb-2015, 21:14
Thanks for the reminder: I need to find my meter. It's around somewhere. Probably I should find it before the battery starts to leak, right?

Michael Graves
24-Feb-2015, 21:43
No. But I once wished I'd stayed home when I got to my first shot and discovered that I'd left home the quick release plate that holds the 8x10 onto the tripod. I'd borrowed it for my 5x7. You ever tried to hand-hold a Toyo 8x10M?

John Kasaian
24-Feb-2015, 23:15
No batteries--no problem. My Weston works fine and I am not above setting an f/stop with a SWAG. I might have to;push the car home though.

Heespharm
24-Feb-2015, 23:20
I could bump start the wifes car (a stick for your Americains... manual for the rest of the world!) down the drive but would have to remember to park on a hill to get going again after photo gathering.

We call it manual here too... Stick is just a slang term ;-)

Heroique
25-Feb-2015, 00:08
No batteries, no watch.

I like using my analog wrist watch for certain longer exposures.

I'd miss the second hand for these shots, but I think I'd survive.

"One-thousand one, one-thousand two, one-thousand three..."

IanG
25-Feb-2015, 02:07
I don't own a watch I just count out long exposures and carry a spare meter, a selenium cell Russian Leningrad 4, as well as spare batteries for my spotmeter.

Ian

ic-racer
25-Feb-2015, 06:04
I don't know of any large format camera that takes batteries. I still have a few selenium cell meters that still work.

DrTang
25-Feb-2015, 08:23
wait it out


I'm done w/o my flashmeter

John Kasaian
25-Feb-2015, 08:53
It just occurred to me that no batteries means no flashlight or headlamp.

This would curtail many of my outings especially those when I work into the dusk, then head back on a rocky trail as night falls.

So I might not stay home, but I'd probably get home a lot earlier!

Moreover, a flashlight is one of the so-called "10 essentials" for hiking, and for many good reasons...
People traveled in the wilds long before there were flashlights. Of course flashlights are important, but depending on conditions like ambient light, ground cover & terrain, canopy, etc... it is still possible to navigate at night although usually not a good idea.
FWIW, there are also acetylene headlamps.

Greg Miller
25-Feb-2015, 09:03
Ansel shot Moonlight with no meter. Anybody who has been shooting a while and is paying attention know about what shutter speed and aperture are correct for common scenes.

I generally prefer to hike at night with no headlamp. Navigating by moon/starlight generally works (the exception being on heavily clouded nights under a thick canopy and no moon) pretty well even on rocky trails, and has the benefit of preserving peripheral vision. Hiking with a headlamp causes tunnel vision which has its own drawbacks.

Randy Moe
25-Feb-2015, 10:54
I agree, usually a flashlight is very detrimental to night hiking.

However now I always carry a Fenix E05 on my keychain as it's tiny, very powerful and last a strangely long time.

Until you use one of these, you wouldn't believe how well they work and last. I use rechargeable batteries.

RichardRitter
25-Feb-2015, 11:30
About 80 % of the time I do not take a meter with me. During the testing days of the Zone VI meter, I was testing the meter under a lot of different lighting. I taught may self to be the meter. I am 90 % better then the meter and when the meter and I do not agree I take two images one of the meter reading and what I think it is. Most of the time I am right and the meter has a problem.

Today exposure is running from 1/30 @F22 to 1/8 @ f 22 we have a high thin cloud cover very good light for snow and ice and it is not below zero.

StoneNYC
25-Feb-2015, 12:01
About 80 % of the time I do not take a meter with me. During the testing days of the Zone VI meter, I was testing the meter under a lot of different lighting. I taught may self to be the meter. I am 90 % better then the meter and when the meter and I do not agree I take two images one of the meter reading and what I think it is. Most of the time I am right and the meter has a problem.

Today exposure is running from 1/30 @F22 to 1/8 @ f 22 we have a high thin cloud cover very good light for snow and ice and it is not below zero.

How does temperature factor into your metering equation?

Heroique
25-Feb-2015, 12:55
It is still possible to navigate at night [w/o a flashlight] although usually not a good idea.

With a pack of LF gear on back + tripod in hand, especially after a productive, exhausting day of shooting, I’d add stress and say "almost never" a good idea! Worse: not even providing oneself with the option of artificial light.

Whether Washington mountains or Nebraska prairies, full moon or new.

Night-hiking for its own sake – now that's a different story. ;^)

AuditorOne
25-Feb-2015, 13:02
Heck, I would probably do a better job! Instead of being so worried about using my meter to find the best exposure I would likely focus more on framing my shot a bit better.

I shoot sunny 16 very successfully all the time with my smaller cameras, and have for many years. But everytime I bring the 8x10 it seems I suddenly need all kinds of hi-tech backup!

This was a great question! I think I should worry less and shoot more. :)

Vaughn
25-Feb-2015, 13:14
I'd miss my spot meter exposing under the redwoods...you would think after exposing sheet film along the same creek for over 35 years, I would have a clue (along with my notes for every negative exposed) as to what to set the shutter. But the light is not very consistent. Using my notes I could get close, with a higher percentage of un-printable negatives as a result. My development is tied closely to the SBR, so I'd have to get a little more general in the developing, too. Using a battery-less meter would get me in the ballpark, but generally they are not as accurate in the low end where my readings usually are.

Presence and thickness of the fog, time of day/season, height of the redwoods, percentage of crown cover, and all -- too many factors! There is no "Sunny-16" under the redwoods! A bit easier if one has sky around, like in the mountains or desert! My wind-up pocket watch serves to time my exposures -- usually in the minutes. Counting out 30 minutes is a drag.

I have had the opportunity to practice my night navigation without a flashlight many many times...redwoods, mountains and deserts. I try to remember to toss one in the pack.

David A. Goldfarb
25-Feb-2015, 13:16
No problem exposing with sunny 16 and other rules of thumb.

For long exposures, just remember your favorite march. They're usually 120 beats per minute, except for circus marches, which are faster. If you subdivide 16th notes in your head, you'll be more accurate than most old shutters as 1/4 sec or longer, and with practice even at 1/8 sec., if the shutter can go that fast.

No batteries required.

Heroique
25-Feb-2015, 13:21
About 80% of the time I do not take a meter with me.


I know I'm not the only one who wants to hear about the other 20%!

It might even be an unassailable argument for batteries (if the meter requires them).

Maybe as good as Vaughn's statement above: "there is no sunny-16 under the Redwoods."


How does temperature factor into your metering equation?

Just a guess, it's probably a remark about battery efficiency in the cold, and hence the meter's reliability.

Greg Miller
25-Feb-2015, 14:31
With a pack of LF gear on back + tripod in hand, especially after a productive, exhausting day of shooting, I’d add stress and say "almost never" a good idea! Worse: not even providing oneself with the option of artificial light.

Whether Washington mountains or Nebraska prairies, full moon or new.

Night-hiking for its own sake – now that's a different story. ;^)

Have you actually tired it? I almost always carrying a pack with 30+ lbs. and a tripod in hand. Its actually safer than hiking with a head lamp. With a headlamp you are constantly having to change the bean from your feet to up the trail (especially difficult when the trail is climbing because "up the trial" is a lot higher than your feet). If you are using your night vision, your peripheral vision can avoid a lot of this and thus is safer. Plus you gain vision to the side as well. If I'm hiking at night with night vision, and find a condition where I must turn on the headlamp, I find that to be disturbing until I can turn the night off and regain night vision.

Heroique
25-Feb-2015, 14:52
Not sure I can help you, but based on the conditions you've shared, one idea I might suggest is a headlamp designed with a diffuse beam, not a tunnel beam (big difference!). If you're unhappy after trying it out, I'd say stick with your current habits unless you find something better. In the end, it's a call that should always be based on a sound understanding of hiking conditions, gear performance, and personal abilities.

Greg Miller
25-Feb-2015, 15:05
Not sure I can help you, but based on the conditions you've shared, one idea I might suggest is a headlamp designed with a diffuse beam, not a tunnel beam (big difference!). If you're unhappy after trying it out, I'd say stick with your current habits unless you find something better. In the end, it's a call that should always be based on a sound understanding of hiking conditions, gear performance, and personal abilities.

I was actually asking if you have tried hiking by moon/starlight.

I have hiked with a variety of headlamps and lighting patterns. The problems are 1) you have to physically move your head up and down constantly to see the terrain at your feet and the trail ahead. You never see both at once. 2) You;re eyes adjust to the brightness of the headlamp, so you cannot see to the side, and when you move your head up to see the trail ahead you can no longer see the terrain at your feet (and vice versa).

When hiking with nightvision you can look midway down the trail and see the trail ahead and the terrain at your feet at the same time. This is actually much safer. Its easy to observe if you watch people in both situations. The people hiking with headlamps will stumble quite a bit more often than those hiking with nightvision.

andre
25-Feb-2015, 15:37
In Belgium, 6 out of 7 days, the afternoon sky is uniformly grey at EV8.
No worries at all.

Heroique
25-Feb-2015, 15:41
I have hiked with a variety of headlamps and lighting patterns...

If your gear choices and hiking habits are working well for you, I say keep with it!

I'll only alert you that the woods can get darker than human vision can adapt to. :cool:

And repeat the importance of coordinating hiking conditions, gear performance, and personal abilities.


In Belgium, 6 out of 7 days, the afternoon sky is uniformly grey at EV8. No worries at all.

Add a healthy dose of rain and mist, and it sounds like Seattle this time of year.

Randy Moe
25-Feb-2015, 15:49
In Belgium, 6 out of 7 days, the afternoon sky is uniformly grey at EV8.
No worries at all.

Exactly! Sunny 16 does not require Sun. It is adaptable to all conditions.

Greg Miller
25-Feb-2015, 15:52
If your gear choices and hiking habits are working well for you, I say keep with it!

I'll only alert you that the woods can get darker than human vision can adapt to. :cool:

And repeat the importance of coordinating hiking conditions, gear performance, and personal abilities.



Add a healthy dose of rain and mist, and it sounds like Seattle this time of year.

No need to worry. I have done this more times and miles than I can count. I'm pretty aware of how dark the woods can get at night.

Gary Tarbert
25-Mar-2015, 05:33
No because have had a light meter battery fail on a shoot , Shot a further 15 sheets after the failure and all 1/2 stop under to spot on , It was a cloud cover day too so not just the one light , The exposures inside the film box many years ago are pretty accurate . cheers gary

Vaughn
25-Mar-2015, 10:47
Or have a guide like this on your camera...

Drew Wiley
25-Mar-2015, 11:05
I certainly don't like being without my spotmeter. But I have successfully done it, even with fussy chrome film a couple of times, when I was stupid enough to drop
my meter in high country creeks. Sometimes my fuzzy memory does kick into gear if there's an emergency like that! But many years of experience lay behind
that approach to estimating light.

Heroique
25-Mar-2015, 11:27
Or have a guide like this on your camera...

Fantastic! Fun pictures instead of complicated meters and batteries!

I like the top middle picture, a great help for the "no-battery" LFer in the landscape.

I bet that tall, photogenic tree is a Douglas Fir, and I agree with the exposure recommendation.

Andrew O'Neill
25-Mar-2015, 12:49
8x10 film is pretty expensive for me not to be without my metre. The battery in it died once in the field (very snowy, foggy, cold day in Kamloops, BC area) which left me guessing the exposures. I ended up with way overexposed negatives. Printable but only with effort. I always make sure I have fresh batteries with me now.

Rayt
21-Apr-2015, 05:51
A few years ago I was shooting in Las Vegas NM at an old hotel next to a very quaint RR station. I understand the hotel was supposed to be haunted but when I got there at 7am and had my 4x5 all set up, focused and ready to shoot I found my spot meter dead. I checked the night before and it was ok. I then took out my back up incident meter and again that was dead even though I checked all my gear the night before. Ok I will use the meter app on the iPhone. Rats I left it in my room. Oh well I ended up guessing all the shots they turned out all fine. After that I made sure I carry spare batteries in my pack and the phone. It is really hard at least for me to do sunny 16 at 7am. I just lucked out that one time.

Jim Noel
21-Apr-2015, 08:27
My LF cameras do not require a battery. Also, I always carry a Weston Master II as a backup meter, no battery required. The only battery I require in the field is the one to start the car since they no longer come with a crank like my first one did.

jbenedict
21-Apr-2015, 08:43
If the camera will fire without batteries, sure. Get on out there. To get consistent results without a meter, it takes more than a little bit of experience. However, as Randy says, "Sunny 16" and the chart inside the box work pretty well.

Color wise, I'm not sure I'd use transparency film without an accurate way to measure the light. Too easy to mess it up. However, 'consumer grade' Kodak Gold in ASA 200 for general use, ASA 100 if you know it is going to be a bright day and ASA 400 if you know it is going to be a dark or overcast works very well and is forgiving. And you might be able to get it processed at a place in a large town or send it off.

Some variation of desired exposure (notice I didn't say 'correct') can be allowed for with B&W through the use of different paper grades and developers. These days, this generally means multi contrast filters and different dilutions of Dektol but a bad picture can frequently be made a good picture in the darkroom.

Randy Moe
21-Apr-2015, 11:36
My LF cameras do not require a battery. Also, I always carry a Weston Master II as a backup meter, no battery required. The only battery I require in the field is the one to start the car since they no longer come with a crank like my first one did.

LOL, I agree. Motorcycles also eliminated the kickstarter some time ago and I really miss the backup plan.

I prefer stick shift cars as even a computer car can be push started if you have 9 volts left in the battery, just enough to get the fuel pump running and the computer to compute.

Tracy Storer
21-Apr-2015, 11:46
I usually use a meter, but would give up shooting if I found my battery and the spare I always keep in the case died. For looong exposures I usually use the stopwatch in my phone, but again, I might open the lens a bit to get to a time I felt I could reliably count out. I don't bother with music, radio, or anything else when I'm shooting outdoors.
The studio is different, strobes, hotlights, music, meters, radio slaves, maybe even get crazy and take a couple frames with a digital camera.......the whole 9 yards.

mmerig
21-Apr-2015, 12:13
As others have said, I do not use anything with a battery (except my car). I have a Gossen Pilot selenium-based meter (had it since late 60's and still accurate to 1/3 stop), and it is very light and small for those long-distance trips.

Leszek Vogt
21-Apr-2015, 12:21
Although my meter needs no battery, it's worth to get out there just for *nature* + memories.

Les

AuditorOne
21-Apr-2015, 12:23
LOL, I agree. Motorcycles also eliminated the kickstarter some time ago and I really miss the backup plan...



It was really tough to look cool at Sturgis when we couldn't kickstart our Harleys anymore. :D

Luis-F-S
21-Apr-2015, 13:51
I'd go out with my Rollie TLR 2.8 white face with a selenium meter, or my SWC/M and eyeball all the exposures like I did for 20 + years........................

David R Munson
22-Apr-2015, 07:22
My legs need only a handful of calories to carry me, my Hasselblad wouldn't know what to do with a battery. If all batteries ceased to exist/work, I'd be even more likely to get out and about.

Michael Rosenberg
22-Apr-2015, 16:49
It would be almost impossible for me to do without batteries. It would through me medically back 35 years! I need batteries for my insulin pump and my blood glucose meter. I could do without, but it would nearly kill me. I have been T1 diabetic for over 50 yrs now!

Mike

Tracy Storer
24-Apr-2015, 16:08
I usually use a meter, but would give up shooting if I found my battery and the spare I always keep in the case died. For looong exposures I usually use the stopwatch in my phone, but again, I might open the lens a bit to get to a time I felt I could reliably count out. I don't bother with music, radio, or anything else when I'm shooting outdoors.
The studio is different, strobes, hotlights, music, meters, radio slaves, maybe even get crazy and take a couple frames with a digital camera.......the whole 9 yards.

AGGG, I wuold NOT give up shooting is what I meant to type.

Randy Moe
24-Apr-2015, 16:17
It was really tough to look cool at Sturgis when we couldn't kickstart our Harleys anymore. :D

I was small and had many bikes I couldn't start, so I would park on a hill or get the bar crowd to push start me. Lightweight rider is much faster than a heavy one.

Drew Wiley
24-Apr-2015, 16:29
Gosh. I grew up happy with no phone or TV at all. The only thing I have with a battery in it when I head out is the light meter. Generally I don't even carry a watch. And after dunking the light meter in a creek, I've still bagged my exposures based upon memory of analogous lighting. I thought the whole point in getting
out was to get away from all the obnoxious electronic gadgets, along with all the Zombies glued to them.

Randy Moe
24-Apr-2015, 16:45
It is. Hopefully I can big sleep there.