i would like to get in to this conversation. i was looking for the smarty forum, found that another existed, this one, and then saw the entry about the phptography, then even better, about the bird photography. i am a php app developer, and a seasoned birder/wildlife photographer .
i use my eyes for the meter, because light meters will ALWAYS get the exposure wrong. instead of shooting at only f8, shoot at only 125th, and 250th and use your eyes for the light. Very overcast extending deep shadows=5.6 full sun=16 if shooting high contrast, such as black and white colored subjects, make sure and photograph on overcast days!
i would be glad to elaborate if you guys are still around..