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Raffay
20-Oct-2013, 22:01
Hello,

Some of you know me, I started LF a couple of years back in fact started film/ photography recently. I have come a long way because of this forum without it I would have left it long time ago. I want to learn it properly like in a university, unfortunately here in my country film is gone and there are no courses that i can attend. I want to know if there is an online resource a course or a book that teaches you everything and that i can follow like a course. It would be better if i could learn the basics and then ask specific questions that way I believe I can improve. I want to know the science behind the art first.

I want to improve...

Regards,

Raffay

Randy Moe
20-Oct-2013, 22:57
The book I am liking the most is an old one and there are plenty for sale. It has everything that was current in the 40's and the only thing that has changed is the names of films and papers. I suggest, 'Graphic Graflex Photography, The Master book for the Larger Camera', by Morgan and Lester. look for the newer ones from '44 to '54, I paid $12 for a '44. i plan to buy a '54 10th version for $20 this week. Use Abe books to buy online worldwide.

http://www.abebooks.com/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=11265142206&searchurl=sts%3Dt%26amp%3Btn%3DGraphic%2BGraflex%2BPhotography



Hello,

Some of you know me, I started LF a couple of years back in fact started film/ photography recently. I have come a long way because of this forum without it I would have left it long time ago. I want to learn it properly like in a university, unfortunately here in my country film is gone and there are no courses that i can attend. I want to know if there is an online resource a course or a book that teaches you everything and that i can follow like a course. It would be better if i could learn the basics and then ask specific questions that way I believe I can improve. I want to know the science behind the art first.

I want to improve...

Regards,

Raffay

Raffay
20-Oct-2013, 22:58
Thank you Randy, I will try and find it and lets see who ships to Pakistan.

Raffay
21-Oct-2013, 02:03
I checked the website, great that it ships to Pakistan, however, before ordering I would like to see at-least the contents. Or since you have it can you briefly share what all it teaches.

Cheers

Raffay

Leigh
21-Oct-2013, 02:55
Hi Raffay,

There are enough photography "how to" books available to fill your house and spill out into the yard.

Surprisingly, a few of them are actually worth your time and money.

I would suggest the three-volume series written by Ansel Adams, often available as a set, comprising:
The Camera
The Negative
The Print

This is a very good tutorial on large-format photography, written by one of the masters of the art.
The books are rather small, about 200 pages each, so you won't die of old age reading them. ;-)

There were many follow-on books, trying to make money by implying a connection to Adams.
One that comes to mind is Beyond the Zone System. I don't recall the author.
Some of these are actually of interest, but most are just self-serving revenue sources.

One such that is actually OK is Fred Picker's Zone VI Workshop. I have two copies of it.
If you want one for free, PM me your address and I'll send one.

If you shoot black & white, I suggest Way Beyond Monochrome by Ralph Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse.
I have the first and second editions. There may be more. Very good book.

An excellent large-format tutorial is Leslie Stroebel's View Camera Technique, available in several editions.
I have the fifth edition from 1986. There may be later ones, but things haven't changed much.

By far the best text about lighting is Light: Science and Magic by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver, and Paul Fuqua.
It tells you everything you could ever need about lighting techniques.

- Leigh

IanG
21-Oct-2013, 03:34
A couple of general books worth buying are:

Basic Photography, Micheal Langford, Focal Press

Advanced Photography, Michael Langford, Focal Press

These two books are essentially text books used for college courses and are extremely well written. The 1970's/80's editions are going to be all film based so probably the best.

Ian

Andrew O'Neill
21-Oct-2013, 08:35
One that comes to mind is Beyond the Zone System. I don't recall the author.

Phil Davis.

There is also John Shaefer's book:

The Ansel Adams Guide: Basic Techniques of Photography, Book 2 (Ansel Adams Guide to the Basic Techniques of Photography, #2)

This is an update (from about 10 years ago) of a similar book he published in '92.


Andrew

Andrew O'Neill
21-Oct-2013, 08:38
Another good book is Bruce Barnbaum's, The Art of Photography: An Approach to Personal Expression.

Jon Shiu
21-Oct-2013, 08:45
I suggest Henry Horenstein's books:
Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual
Beyond Basic Photography: A Technical Manual
Very clearly written and often used as texts for photography courses.

Jon

ROL
21-Oct-2013, 09:14
It isn't clear to me from your post whether you want to learn B/W film photography, use of "LF" equipment, or both.

The Adams series is both the bible of classical film photography and infamously difficult to learn from for some, particularly without previous background. IMO, although you should read and reference (and cherish;)) them as you learn, you would be better off beginning with other introductory classical film photography tomes, mentioned in previous posts. There is plenty of help as you encounter difficulties from knowledgeable veterans in the film based forums on this and other forums. I dare say that APUG (http://www.apug.org/forums/home.php) might be more useful in that regard, as it specializes in classical film technique, whereas this forum in general seems to lean more towards the use of LF equipment. Many members here also check in (for better or worse) regularly over there as well.

If only interested in the use of large format photographic tools, then I think this is the right place. Members here love to talk about there equipment. But really, once you understand film, LF is simply another tool for a photographer, no more difficult to learn than any other camera, once the physics of light and camera movements is appreciated. In many ways, LF tools are the simplest, or at least most basic of cameras to operate.

In either case, I have not yet come across any on–line courses for the complete education of classical photography techniques. However, many experienced and accomplished people here and on other forums are eager to help newbies, really to the point of tutoring. Many of us (including me) have learning articles on our personal sites or blogs, and posted YouTube videos to disseminate what has become arcane technique. These forums are, and have become, de facto, schools of learning what has now become alternative photography. Your challenge will be to distinguish who among the many weighing in on your questions has standing with respect to your particular needs. In that regard, I would suggest checking the personal websites of posters to decide for yourself whose work parallels your interests, and who has committed themselves authentically to the general education of photographic techniques.

Regular Rod
21-Oct-2013, 09:33
This might be helpful to you. http://www.rps.org/ there is an "Education" tab. At the bottom is a section called Learning Zone, which requires no fees... This site is also a good place to learn some basic things http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/4x5.htm

The forum has http://www.largeformatphotography.info/how-to-operate.html which is probably going to help you a lot too, especially the links...

The most valuable thing you can do is go out and make some photographs. To save you from wasting too much film I would suggest that even if you have not done all the tests and fully understood the Zone System yet, meter the areas in your subjects where you want the shadow textures (as opposed to shadow details) to show in your photograph and position that as Zone III (2 stops more exposure than the meter first indicates if you have not fitted your meter with a Zone scale) and then use a compensating developer with a semi-stand regime, such as OBSIDIAN AQUA 1:500 for around 12 minutes total and with agitation for the first full minute and then 10 seconds or even less every 2 minutes thereafter. A pre-soak with water is a good way to avoid air bubbles spoiling your negatives...

Make photographs as often as you can afford. You will learn a great deal from so doing.

RR

Raffay
21-Oct-2013, 09:45
Thanks ROL, I guess to start with I want to learn black and white film photography. I am based in Pakistan where equipment, chemistry and film are not available, hence it is a much bigger challenge but I will not back out. I have realised that I have been doing film for the last two years but I feel that I am not learning the way I should my approach is very and hoc. I read from here and there then experiment and I keep going in circles. Hence I wanted to take a more methodical approach so that I know I have covered a certain area and now it is time to move to the next thing.

I believe I need tutoring, someone who can guide on how to take on the process of learning. I have a basic camera it's called the Razzle 900, fixed 127mm Rodenstock lens, no movements and a pretty ordinary ground glass. It is fitted with a rangefinder but it does not work now. But I guess it will get the job done, on my wish list is Deardorff 4x5 and a Sinar P... But it is a wish list. Friends and family who are coming from abroad bring me film. I have a very basic light meter and the only chemical I can make at home is D23 and plain hypo fix. Recently I made TF3. I develop in try's in my closet. I saw your website, you have an amazing setup one I guess I would never be able to setup here. I am not sure with this limited capacity how far I can go.

None of the books people have mentioned here are available here in Pakistan so I guess google is the only resource, hence a tutor is all the more required. I want someone to tKe me through the steps, tell me if I have to get developers like Rodinal etc to learn. Give me some exercises so that I learn properly. I guess it is too much to ask, but I am hopeful that with constant effort I might figure out a little about this beautiful form of photography.

Cheers

Raffay

Regular Rod
21-Oct-2013, 11:26
Raffay you can make your own developers like OBSIDIAN AQUA for very little money. Read this blogpost. This was the inventor Jay DeFehr helping me before I tried it and I must say it has proved a great success for me. http://hypercatacutancedeveloper.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/obsidian-aqua.html If you have trouble buying the right ingredients I can suggest a very helpful business in Poland for you to try. If you PM me I will let you have the email address.

RR

Andrew O'Neill
21-Oct-2013, 12:22
None of the books people have mentioned here are available here in Pakistan

None of them were available in Japan when I lived there... and there was no internet yet. You can order them through amazon dot com.

Andrew

Ari
21-Oct-2013, 18:04
Not a book, but if you can spend time on YouTube, there is a lot of good, practical help there as well.
I learned by assisting and reading, maybe assisting is a possibility?
There must be some old hand in Islamabad who can spend a few hours a week with you covering the basics and finer points.

Michael W
22-Oct-2013, 00:44
I suggest Henry Horenstein's books:
Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual
Beyond Basic Photography: A Technical Manual
Very clearly written and often used as texts for photography courses.

Jon
I agree - start with the two Horenstein books. They are easy to follow and are quite in-depth.

tgtaylor
22-Oct-2013, 17:45
Raffay,

Reach out to the local artists community: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-133447-Work-of-leading-Pakistani-artists-to-be-showcased-tomorrow I'm sure that they can hook you up with local photographers and surely there is at least one in Islamabad that still shoots film and/or has used a LF camera in the past.

Thomas

Daniel Stone
22-Oct-2013, 22:24
do you WANT to get "technical" or do you want to make pictures, and not worry about "the tech" once you find something that works for you and your intended purposes?

I mean.... If you don't care to "dabble in this, then try that, "Oh, that's a swell deal, I'll give that a shot"..." FOCUS on what you want to do with your photography, and then, once targeted, seek out help if needed.
But the most important thing you can do to REALLY learn photography, and to SEE PHOTOGRAPHICALLY, is to SHOOT. Shoot and make mistakes(not necessarily intentionally). Ruin negatives by overdeveloping. Learn by making mistakes. Learn to identify what works, and what doesn't.
You can read a million books on photography, getting to "know the tech". Ya, being a tech-head is cool and all, but if the rubber can't meet the road, and you're not getting stuff done, then what's the point? Even if you're only doing this to have fun, I don't think anyone enjoys wasting time...

Photography is a wonderful hobby, and for some, a wonderful career. But letting the "tech" bog you down to the point of not knowing which way to go when you want to photograph, it can be maddening. Simplify your equipment and materials, and I'm sure you'll have a clearer, more concise vision without being getting convoluted with choices...

If you want to make mural enlargements with ultra-fine detail, then I recommend you engage books/literature/online info relating to that nature.
If you want to contact print(so a bigger negative makes a larger sized print, no enlarging of the film), then there is piles of info about relating to that too.
If you want to make platinum prints, carbon prints, photogravures, etc... There are a million "options". Pick one out and go with it :). Yes, some can balance multiple processes, but from what I've seen, the most successful photographers generally have one type of print that they use as their 'default'. That's their standard, their bedrock process, so to speak.

Courses are great, for VERY FEW. Photography is an art that HAS to be learned by DOING. That means MAKING PICTURES. Bad ones and good ones. You learn from your mistakes.
We're all different, and trying to wrap YOUR head around someone else's methodology can drive one INSANE(speaking from experience here!). Workshops CAN be wonderful experiences, again for SOME. Same arguments IMO.
If a photographer you admire and respect delivers an end product(a print) that mirrors what YOU want to see in YOUR photographs, ask questions. Most people will be happy to share their "secrets" ;).

All the best to you and your quest.
A simple piece of advice: choose one film and (1) developer right off the bat. Learn them until you know the limitations of that combo inside and out, backwards and forwards. Something even as simple as Tri-X and HC-110. Ya, it's a "basic" combo, but hell; it worked for ANSEL ADAMS, and I don't hear very many photographers poo-pooing his prints... Well I've heard some, but most of them haven't spent upwards of 1% time-wise of what he did to perfect his craft during his lifetime.
IF you can't seem to get what you want after using that combo for a year or so(taking pictures regularly, I'm talking 200+ negatives), feel free to look at other films or developers/processes. Have fun, but stay diligent, and DO NOT BE AFRAID TO TEST THE LIMITATIONS of your materials. Tri-X+HC-110 has delivered many a good negative for me over the past few years, and it's a DEAD-SIMPLE combo. If for some reason you can't get Tri-X easily in Pakistan, give Ilford Delta 100 a try. Great film too. Slower yes, but very nice all-round.

BE A LEADER IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY, NOT A FOLLOWER

cheers,
Dan

Raffay
22-Oct-2013, 22:37
do you WANT to get "technical" or do you want to make pictures, and not worry about "the tech" once you find something that works for you and your intended purposes?

I mean.... If you don't care to "dabble in this, then try that, "Oh, that's a swell deal, I'll give that a shot"..." FOCUS on what you want to do with your photography, and then, once targeted, seek out help if needed.
But the most important thing you can do to REALLY learn photography, and to SEE PHOTOGRAPHICALLY, is to SHOOT. Shoot and make mistakes(not necessarily intentionally). Ruin negatives by overdeveloping. Learn by making mistakes. Learn to identify what works, and what doesn't.
You can read a million books on photography, getting to "know the tech". Ya, being a tech-head is cool and all, but if the rubber can't meet the road, and you're not getting stuff done, then what's the point? Even if you're only doing this to have fun, I don't think anyone enjoys wasting time...

Photography is a wonderful hobby, and for some, a wonderful career. But letting the "tech" bog you down to the point of not knowing which way to go when you want to photograph, it can be maddening. Simplify your equipment and materials, and I'm sure you'll have a clearer, more concise vision without being getting convoluted with choices...

If you want to make mural enlargements with ultra-fine detail, then I recommend you engage books/literature/online info relating to that nature.
If you want to contact print(so a bigger negative makes a larger sized print, no enlarging of the film), then there is piles of info about relating to that too.
If you want to make platinum prints, carbon prints, photogravures, etc... There are a million "options". Pick one out and go with it :). Yes, some can balance multiple processes, but from what I've seen, the most successful photographers generally have one type of print that they use as their 'default'. That's their standard, their bedrock process, so to speak.

Courses are great, for VERY FEW. Photography is an art that HAS to be learned by DOING. That means MAKING PICTURES. Bad ones and good ones. You learn from your mistakes.
We're all different, and trying to wrap YOUR head around someone else's methodology can drive one INSANE(speaking from experience here!). Workshops CAN be wonderful experiences, again for SOME. Same arguments IMO.
If a photographer you admire and respect delivers an end product(a print) that mirrors what YOU want to see in YOUR photographs, ask questions. Most people will be happy to share their "secrets" ;).

All the best to you and your quest.
A simple piece of advice: choose one film and (1) developer right off the bat. Learn them until you know the limitations of that combo inside and out, backwards and forwards. Something even as simple as Tri-X and HC-110. Ya, it's a "basic" combo, but hell; it worked for ANSEL ADAMS, and I don't hear very many photographers poo-pooing his prints... Well I've heard some, but most of them haven't spent upwards of 1% time-wise of what he did to perfect his craft during his lifetime.
IF you can't seem to get what you want after using that combo for a year or so(taking pictures regularly, I'm talking 200+ negatives), feel free to look at other films or developers/processes. Have fun, but stay diligent, and DO NOT BE AFRAID TO TEST THE LIMITATIONS of your materials. Tri-X+HC-110 has delivered many a good negative for me over the past few years, and it's a DEAD-SIMPLE combo. If for some reason you can't get Tri-X easily in Pakistan, give Ilford Delta 100 a try. Great film too. Slower yes, but very nice all-round.

BE A LEADER IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY, NOT A FOLLOWER

cheers,
Dan

Thank you Dan, very inspirational indeed. Just have a few questions, we don't get any film or developer here so the only option is to mix my own. I almost gave up then I found out about D23 from ken's website, both the chemicals were available hence I got going. Are there any other good developer formulas that I can make using chemicals or you think D23 is good enough to practice for a year. Film is also not available here in Pakistan so I get it from abroad whenever so done is visiting. X-ray film is readily available here in Pakistan and I have shot with it a few times the results were decent (you can check my flickr account: february71 I have a few posted there. A closeup of my beetle, a portrait of my cousin and my daughter sitting on the window - my daughters film was pre-exposed during loading). Will it be a good idea to practice with x-ray film since it is available locally with D23 and TF3 since I can make both of these at home. When I have experience and confident then use the film that I source from abroad.

Cheers

Raffay

Daniel Stone
22-Oct-2013, 22:49
Hey Raffay,

Use what you can. When I first got started in LF a few years ago, I went the "cheap" route. Boy, what a load of rubbish that was. In the past year I've tossed out/given away all my "cheap" films, since I want to make photographs, and not futz with "this and that"... I just want to make pictures. Being in the USA, I have more "options" at my disposal, but frankly, I'd recommend Kodak, Fuji or Ilford for b/w before anyone else. Kodak being MY favorite. Ya, it ain't "cheap" anymore, but neither is food(for the most part), gas, utilities, etc... Everything is more expensive now. MAKE EVERY FRAME COUNT. Use your brain to check yourself/your equipment before tripping that shutter. LF will MAKE YOU MORE METHODICAL!

X-ray film has gained popularity lately, I'm guessing b/c it's cheap to acquire(at least here in the USA). Personally, the "spray and pray" method towards LF photography is the antithesis of it all. Use (1) frame, maybe 2. Wait. Be patient, be ready :). Using more expensive(and probably higher quality) film thats DESIGNED for photographic use first-and-foremost will deliver repeatable, quality results all the time.

I've never used D-23, but I know that "The Negative"(Ansel Adams) references it regulary. DIY developer is fine, but I'd stick with something SIMPLE TO MIX, AND SIMPLE TO USE, at least until you have your feet "soaked"(with experience) :D
Hence my mention of HC-110(or D-76). There are lots of DIY developers you can make that are very simple to use. However, getting the raw materials might prove to be a little bit harder, especially since you're in Pakistan? Just a thought, not sure. You live there, I don't ;)

Anyhow, keep the "K.I.S.S."("Keep-It-Simple-Stupid") method close to heart as you progress :). It doesn't have to be complex to be good. Simple is usually the best way!

-Dan

Raffay
22-Oct-2013, 23:10
Hey Raffay,

Use what you can. When I first got started in LF a few years ago, I went the "cheap" route. Boy, what a load of rubbish that was. In the past year I've tossed out/given away all my "cheap" films, since I want to make photographs, and not futz with "this and that"... I just want to make pictures. Being in the USA, I have more "options" at my disposal, but frankly, I'd recommend Kodak, Fuji or Ilford for b/w before anyone else. Kodak being MY favorite. Ya, it ain't "cheap" anymore, but neither is food(for the most part), gas, utilities, etc... Everything is more expensive now. MAKE EVERY FRAME COUNT. Use your brain to check yourself/your equipment before tripping that shutter. LF will MAKE YOU MORE METHODICAL!

X-ray film has gained popularity lately, I'm guessing b/c it's cheap to acquire(at least here in the USA). Personally, the "spray and pray" method towards LF photography is the antithesis of it all. Use (1) frame, maybe 2. Wait. Be patient, be ready :). Using more expensive(and probably higher quality) film thats DESIGNED for photographic use first-and-foremost will deliver repeatable, quality results all the time.

I've never used D-23, but I know that "The Negative"(Ansel Adams) references it regulary. DIY developer is fine, but I'd stick with something SIMPLE TO MIX, AND SIMPLE TO USE, at least until you have your feet "soaked"(with experience) :D
Hence my mention of HC-110(or D-76). There are lots of DIY developers you can make that are very simple to use. However, getting the raw materials might prove to be a little bit harder, especially since you're in Pakistan? Just a thought, not sure. You live there, I don't ;)

Anyhow, keep the "K.I.S.S."("Keep-It-Simple-Stupid") method close to heart as you progress :). It doesn't have to be complex to be good. Simple is usually the best way!

-Dan

Hi Dan,

HC-110 or D76 or any other are not available. Does any of them come in powder form abroad, if they do then I can ask someone to bring it with them as liquid based are difficult to ask people to carry. A cousin of mine is going to Toronto and if available in powder form then I may ask him to get it for me.

Btw, did you get a chance to see my flickr account. I want you to look when you have time and tell me what you think.

Cheers

Raffay

Regular Rod
23-Oct-2013, 01:43
Hello Raffay

If obtaining chemicals is too difficult in Pakistan how about using coffee, vitamin C and washing soda? Just look in here at the results! It's a compensating developer too so will give you a lot of leeway with those highlights...

http://www.caffenol-cookbook.com/

RR

Daniel Stone
23-Oct-2013, 01:47
Hey Raffay,

Just looked @ your Flickr. Great start!
Tray developing is great, however, if you can pick up a Jobo tank and some 4x5 reels, I think you'll greatly reduce(or eliminate) your chances of scratching the film. Yes, Jobo stuff isn't "cheap" these days since its in demand, but its very high quality stuff(despite being made of plastic) and properly taken care of it will last YEARS.

One of the things I noticed though, it looks like you've underdeveloped the film a bit for the majority of the people shots. The highlights seem a bit muddied, they don't "sparkle" enough to my eye. Maybe it's the just the monitor I'm looking at them on, but to my eyes, it looks a bit flat overall. Not a bad thing, maybe that's how you like it, but I think a bit more "pop" contrast-wise would be good.

What's your end-goal? Are you processing your film to print optically(via enlarger, or contact printing), or are you solely scanning the film and printing digitally? If scanning/digitally printing, then a flatter, less contrasty negative might be beneficial. I process my film for wet printing, despite scanning it a lot of the time now as well.

Good start though, the Razzle is a great camera! I just took delivery of my Alpenhause 900, still getting used to it, but handheld 4x5 is nice :)

-Dan

P.S. I really like the shot of your daughter and the bug :)

Photo-Master
30-Oct-2013, 08:59
Hello Raffay

If obtaining chemicals is too difficult in Pakistan how about using coffee, vitamin C and washing soda? Just look in here at the results! It's a compensating developer too so will give you a lot of leeway with those highlights...

http://www.caffenol-cookbook.com/

RR

That's a great tip RR, sometimes you have to make do with what's available and mix and manage. I'm sure you will get to where you want to be with a bit of persistence Raffay, I strongly believe that the harder you work the luckier you get. :)

joselsgil
2-Nov-2013, 17:43
Raffay,

For raw/stock chemicals to mix your own developers, try your local college or university chemistry departments. I am sure a professor or lab technician can help you find a source for your basic chemistry.

I remember when I was in college and my first photography professor was from the former Soviet Union. He lectured us (the students), on how to mix raw/stock chemicals into developing chemicals. Unfortunately, I was relying way too much on Kodak, that I never really paid attention to his lectures as I should have. I figured that Kodak would be around forever and I really didn't need to learn how to mix my own raw chemicals to develop film. My how times have changed :)

Kodak D-76, Fixer and Ilford ID11 are sold in powder forms.

One good book to keep an eye out for is "The Darkroom Cookbook". It has a lot of different formulas for the photographic wet darkroom.

Good luck,

Jose

Peter De Smidt
2-Nov-2013, 18:03
D23 is a good developer. Since you can get the materials, that's what I would use.

photobymike
2-Nov-2013, 19:57
The college of Hard Knocks is where my degree came from...... that and Central Michigan University art class....but HK street school is where most of my knowledge came from....and hanging out here on this forum.... most people here are really more than happy to help in anyway ...so ask away.... even if you want to ask me something in more detail email me at photobymike@gmail.com.... i would be honored to help a young photog ....

Taija71A
2-Nov-2013, 20:07
... To save you from wasting too much film I would suggest that even if you have not done all the tests and fully understood the Zone System yet, meter the areas in your subjects where you want the shadow textures (as opposed to shadow details) to show in your photograph and position that as Zone III (2 stops more exposure than the meter first indicates)...

____

Just so as to not perhaps confuse the 'OP'...

... you would select an area of the scene (*for say your 'Shadow Textures' as per above)... Meter it and then 'adjust' your exposure by the 'difference' between the Zone you want in your final image... And Zone V.
---

Therefore, to place the Shadow Details in your scene on Zone III, you would then, 'Decrease' the exposure by two f-stops (3 being smaller than 5)... From what your reflected light meter first indicated (Zone V).
--
*We all know... That you of course meant to say 2 stops less exposure than the meter first indicates... :)

Thank-you, for taking the time to assist the 'OP'. Greatly Appreciated!
--
Best regards,

-Tim.
________

photobymike
2-Nov-2013, 20:57
Hey Raffay,
Tray developing is great, however, if you can pick up a Jobo tank and some 4x5 reels, I think you'll greatly reduce(or eliminate) your chances of scratching the film. Yes, Jobo stuff isn't "cheap" these days since its in demand, but its very high quality stuff(despite being made of plastic) and properly taken care of it will last YEARS.

best investment in photography you can make

Raffay
3-Nov-2013, 02:36
Thank you for your continued feedback and valuable input. I have a question, say I have a scene in which there are shadows and very brightly lit areas, now if I have expose for the shadows then there is a chance that I will blow the highlights. I read somewhere that we should expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights. Below is my understanding of this:

When you expose for the shadows less light for the scene then the meter indicates which would be zone v, hence to get zone III you will expose light. This means that less film is exposed to light and when you develop after sometime the chemical will have nothing to react to in the shadow areas. As there is nothing to develop you can reduce the development time by N- required to protect the highlight.

Is this correct, but how to know N- what?

Cheers

Raffay

photobymike
3-Nov-2013, 06:53
Well this is were you will find a lot of opinion on how to photo a scene like you described...quite common actually. I personally do not vary film developing times. I would determine where you want your grey 18 percent to be. This is the middle gray of a print... if you are photography people this would be about where skin tones should be. I would use a yellow to try and catch the sky detail....The sky is the source for UV light and modern films are little sensitive to this light.... yellow brings the sky into detail....makes the skin shine also. Then if it is really bright use a graduated filter or a half clear and have neutral density filter or yellow...

There are ways to vary the density characteristics of film and they call it the zone system and or BTZS .. with different develop times. I would not work with doing this until you have several hundred sheets shot. N1 or N-1 are the symbols that photographers use to represent different developing times for changing the developing time to control the contrast and density of there negatives. I would work on getting consistent results on your negatives first. I scan all of my negatives now so i do not use anything other than what the recommended times for film are. Then i make the adjustments on the scanner and computer for printing and display on a monitor... which are different by the way. Different discussion different time needed....Work with filters and watch the your sky change and the skin tones.. try and use filters to compress or bring in your highlights....


this is my opinion ...do the basics first ..make sure there is an understanding of the basics before manipulating the dev procedures...

Kenny Paisley
14-Nov-2013, 07:33
do you WANT to get "technical" or do you want to make pictures, and not worry about "the tech" once you find something that works for you and your intended purposes?

I mean.... If you don't care to "dabble in this, then try that, "Oh, that's a swell deal, I'll give that a shot"..." FOCUS on what you want to do with your photography, and then, once targeted, seek out help if needed.
But the most important thing you can do to REALLY learn photography, and to SEE PHOTOGRAPHICALLY, is to SHOOT. Shoot and make mistakes(not necessarily intentionally). Ruin negatives by overdeveloping. Learn by making mistakes. Learn to identify what works, and what doesn't.
You can read a million books on photography, getting to "know the tech". Ya, being a tech-head is cool and all, but if the rubber can't meet the road, and you're not getting stuff done, then what's the point? Even if you're only doing this to have fun, I don't think anyone enjoys wasting time...

Photography is a wonderful hobby, and for some, a wonderful career. But letting the "tech" bog you down to the point of not knowing which way to go when you want to photograph, it can be maddening. Simplify your equipment and materials, and I'm sure you'll have a clearer, more concise vision without being getting convoluted with choices...

If you want to make mural enlargements with ultra-fine detail, then I recommend you engage books/literature/online info relating to that nature.
If you want to contact print(so a bigger negative makes a larger sized print, no enlarging of the film), then there is piles of info about relating to that too.
If you want to make platinum prints, carbon prints, photogravures, etc... There are a million "options". Pick one out and go with it :). Yes, some can balance multiple processes, but from what I've seen, the most successful photographers generally have one type of print that they use as their 'default'. That's their standard, their bedrock process, so to speak.

Courses are great, for VERY FEW. Photography is an art that HAS to be learned by DOING. That means MAKING PICTURES. Bad ones and good ones. You learn from your mistakes.
We're all different, and trying to wrap YOUR head around someone else's methodology can drive one INSANE(speaking from experience here!). Workshops CAN be wonderful experiences, again for SOME. Same arguments IMO.
If a photographer you admire and respect delivers an end product(a print) that mirrors what YOU want to see in YOUR photographs, ask questions. Most people will be happy to share their "secrets" ;).

All the best to you and your quest.
A simple piece of advice: choose one film and (1) developer right off the bat. Learn them until you know the limitations of that combo inside and out, backwards and forwards. Something even as simple as Tri-X and HC-110. Ya, it's a "basic" combo, but hell; it worked for ANSEL ADAMS, and I don't hear very many photographers poo-pooing his prints... Well I've heard some, but most of them haven't spent upwards of 1% time-wise of what he did to perfect his craft during his lifetime.
IF you can't seem to get what you want after using that combo for a year or so(taking pictures regularly, I'm talking 200+ negatives), feel free to look at other films or developers/processes. Have fun, but stay diligent, and DO NOT BE AFRAID TO TEST THE LIMITATIONS of your materials. Tri-X+HC-110 has delivered many a good negative for me over the past few years, and it's a DEAD-SIMPLE combo. If for some reason you can't get Tri-X easily in Pakistan, give Ilford Delta 100 a try. Great film too. Slower yes, but very nice all-round.

BE A LEADER IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY, NOT A FOLLOWER

cheers,
Dan

I couldn't agree more. Practice makes perfect. Learning by doing is the ideal approach. You may consult books and videos to complement your knowledge. You may want to take a few lessons with a tutor who can answer any questions on technical issues and techniques. You can learn a lot from experienced people. In addition, you need to be bold and experiment with some films. You will eventually find the most appropriate equipment and materials.

gary mulder
14-Nov-2013, 08:46
Lean by doing. Make the picture. Make notes what you did. If you think the shadows are to dark in the print, expose more the next time you take the picture. (expose for the shadows). If you think the highlight are blown out. Develop less. (develop for the highlights). Keep making the same kind of picture until you get it right.
Besides nothing wrong with your camera, developer. X-ray film will be difficult to control for pictorial purposes.

Kirk Gittings
14-Nov-2013, 09:30
I don't get this discussion. To have some "formal" instruction in photography or to "learn by doing" are not at all mutually exclusive. Formal instruction also requires "doing".

No matter how much instruction you get you are going to end having to do a lot of learning by doing, but instruction can jump start some of that. For example, it took me years to figure out the ZS. I just couldn't get it and no one I knew personally used it (even at UNM where some years later I taught it). Finally Fred Pickers book came along-I did the exersizes and walah!! That book was actually a kind of "formal" learning as it taught the ZS by step by step procedures which I had to perform by doing the exercises. I wish I had taken a workshop with one of the masters of it or wish that Picker's book had come out years earlier. It would have saved me a lot of mistakes resulting in extremely difficult to print negatives that were either improperly exposed and/or developed for the situation.

I fully recommend getting some instruction AND learning by doing. Why the dichotomy on this issue? Do people think getting some instruction reflects some kind of weakness?

Peter De Smidt
14-Nov-2013, 09:42
I agree with Kirk. Knowing how to do good, basic exposure and development tests, the kind that Fred outlined in his book, can save a ton of time and remove a lot of guess work.

Raffay
14-Nov-2013, 10:39
Hi, I understand what most people are saying, when they emphasise that I need to take pictures to learn. I am not saying that I want to learn without actually taking any pictures, what I mean and I agree with Kirk here is that it would be better and more time efficient if I can take a more structured route. Without any direction it sometimes gets difficult to learn from every picture you take because you end up doing the same stuff again and again without a stage wise improvement. It would be more efficient if I could follow a more structured route. I mean some basic exercises in composition, lighting, how to read a negative for example I should be able to tell if it is a thin or whatever negative I have then finally printing.

I am not saying that I want to get over involved in the books but I would certainly like to know the basics of the entire process and then practice to learn, make mistakes as some of you suggested and I am sure I will have my own learning curve. I totally agree that I will only actually learn by doing but then I believe that I should at least know what I am trying to do.

I know it sounds totally confusing but hopefully it will start to make sense soon :)

Cheers

Raffay

Kenny Paisley
8-Jan-2014, 12:13
Raffay,

Reach out to the local artists community: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-6-133447-Work-of-leading-Pakistani-artists-to-be-showcased-tomorrow I'm sure that they can hook you up with local photographers and surely there is at least one in Islamabad that still shoots film and/or has used a LF camera in the past.

Thomas

This advice seems to be something that can work out for you. I completely understand your need to learn methodically. You need someone to tell you you are improving. You may often suffer from self-doubt. Do not forget to enjoy the process of learning. You can learn many aspects of photography independently; and seek assistance only if necessary. This approach has worked out for me. You should decide what you want to learn and then look for the right material.