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Thread: Antarctica & velvia 50

  1. #1 AlexGard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Antarctica & velvia 50

    hi all I hope this is the right forum for this question
    i am off to antarctica for work in about a week. i have stocked up on lots of film;

    3 boxes of velvia 50 ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$)
    tmax 100
    ilford hp5 & fp4
    portra 160
    fuji acros

    portra 160
    velvia 50
    ilford sfx 200
    kodachrome and ektachrome

    now i'm wondering if any of you have advice for exposing this film in the incredibly bright and all white conditions. advice for reala 50 is to rate it at 40 or 32, but in this case would it be smarter to leave it rated to 50? or even higher again?

    and for the other films, should I knock off 1 or 1/2 exposure? any other tips or tricks?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Atlanta, Georgia USA

    Re: Antarctica & velvia 50

    120 Kodachrome?
    1. didn't know they still sold it
    2. you can't get any Kodachrome commercially developed anywhere on planet Earth

    Your exposures will be just like anywhere else where snow is on the ground use your handheld light meter properly.

    You will also have lots of blue shadows, too, so a Skylight 1A or 2A might be useful to warm up those shadows.

    Assignment: if you can, try to get an exceedingly rare photograph of a polar bear eating a penguin. It could be worth a fortune and might even make the cover of National Geographic Magazine.

    Tip: don't eat the yellow snow.

  3. #3
    Youngin Daniel Stone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Los Angeles area

    Re: Antarctica & velvia 50

    I'd take 1-2 films, MAX of each kind.... Not 4-8
    if you have time to TEST before you leave, you might want to do that.
    I've found I like Velvia 50(current stuff) best when rated @40ASA in CLOUDY/OVERCAST conditions(and this is basically the only time I'll use this emulsion), but again, YOU will need to TEST it yourself to see if you like what you're getting...
    Shooting from the hip(especially with expensive film like Velvia 50) rarely does anyone "good". In fact most fall flat on their face because they have no understanding of the materials they're working with.
    Sorry if I sound harsh, but expecting the film to do all the work for you if you "magically" expose it correctly? Sorry, it won't work that easily...
    Take a few test shots(of the same subject, same lighting scenario/setup), and rate each shot differently(32asa, 40asa, 50asa, etc.) PROCESS and ASSESS your results. It might be money down the drain if you come back from your trip with nothing ... Sad fact, but it happens to many who don't take a small amount of time to really understand their film and how they want it exposed.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2006
    grand rapids

    Re: Antarctica & velvia 50

    You need less $$$$$$$ and less film.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2012

    Re: Antarctica & velvia 50

    Slow and medium speed films. Spot meter to help with the high reflectance of the ice snow. TLR metering cameras tend to shoot with their 'average mind set' and result in DARK photos. Traditional meter or better a spot meter so you know your contrast or lack and true light evels.
    Be prepared for weather changing rapidly.

  6. #6

    Re: Antarctica & velvia 50

    Some of the most amazing photographs I have ever seen where taken by the photographer aboard Shackleton's expedition ship in 1914. He used glass plates and some roll film and even developed the plates and film aboard the ship. The plates/film even had to be rescued from the half sunken ship as it was breaking up and going down.

    So, even with quite primitive tools and no light meter it is possible to get excellent results.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Re: Antarctica & velvia 50

    I personally would think the Velvia is too contrasty for the conditions you'll likely encounter. It doesn't have the latitude to expose a bright sunlit snowy scene with rocks & such. I would use a color negative film for the wider exposure latitude, and maybe bring a box or two of the Velvia for when the conditions are just right.

    That being said, I'm jealous. It's been on my bucket list for decades, but I can't afford it unless I win the lottery, which is unlikely because I don't buy tickets.

  8. #8
    adelorenzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Whitehorse, Yukon

    Re: Antarctica & velvia 50

    I would definitely use a skylight filter with any slide film. I shoot a lot of Provia 400 up here in the great white north and it tends to pick up blue/purple casts in the shadows.

    I will never make the mistake again of using any kind of automatic metering. If you do, dial in +1 2/3 or even +2 stops of exposure compensation and hope for the best. Trust me when I say that gray snow completely ruins pictures.

    If the scene is contrasty you can meter for shadow detail as usual but with slide film especially I usually meter off the snow and try to make sure the meter is showing 2+ stops of overexposure.

  9. #9
    Lachlan 717
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: Antarctica & velvia 50

    I'd seriously consider just shooing Ektar and doing any B&W conversion in post. If you do want to shoot B&W, I'd stick with Acros for its reciprocity characteristics.

    The conditions could be the harshest you've ever shot in, so simplicity should be a primary consideration. Having to learn and/or factor in different film characteristics is fraught with danger in my opinion, especially when you're potentially in uncharted environmental conditions!

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  10. #10
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Seattle, Wash.

    Re: Antarctica & velvia 50

    Quote Originally Posted by AtlantaTerry View Post
    Your exposures will be just like anywhere else where snow is on the ground use your handheld light meter properly.
    And if you have AA's trilogy on the shelf (The Camera/The Negative/The Print), read all the instructive captions for his snowy images. This will be a useful refresher course. I say "refresher course" since, in all likelihood, you – like most of us – have already read all three books from start to finish. ;^)

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