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Thread: exposure blues

  1. #1

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    exposure blues

    I have been away from shooting for several months and just now have had the opportunity to get started again. I am having serious problems and am not sure of the answer. I shot several portraits in the forest with bright sun, but dappled sunlight in the late afternoon....just what I wanted.

    I used a Pentax Spotmeter V and took a reading of the young man's cheek and found a value of 12. I placed that on Zone VI. I checked my spotmeter against my Nikon 800 and they seem pretty close. I took the shot at f8 for 1/60 second.

    I am shooting a TOYO Field camera 4X5. I have Arista 200 iso edu. I used Rodinal 1:50. I developed normally at 10 minutes.

    The result was an extremely overexposed negative. To get an 8X10 print that is even remotely acceptable (and really not usable) I had to expose at f22 for six seconds at a contrast level of 5. There is no detail in the negative shadows. The entire negative and resulting print is very grey and flat.

    The film was about 2 years old and the paper about the same. The chemicals were freshly mixed.

    The resulting face is not terrible, but the shadows are murky and grey rather then the desired rich black. There is a fair amount of grain visible. I am printing on pearl RC.

    Any ideas? Thanks

    Alexis

  2. #2
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: exposure blues

    The result was an extremely overexposed negative.
    It seems more likely to be underexposed.

  3. #3

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    Re: exposure blues

    Yes, you are probably right. I keep getting underexposed and overexposed confused due to the difference between a negative and a print. My mind just doesn't make the leap....very bad at math also.

  4. #4

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    Re: exposure blues

    The D800 with a prime lens should match well the LF exposure.

    First check shutter is working properly, periodically all shutter speeds should be fired, it can operate slow if dirt or rust there.

    If you have not a shutter tester you can use the D800 for it, place the D800 in the back of the LF camera with a graflock to nikon adapter https://www.google.es/search?q=grafl...Cf4Q_AUIBygCor

    or by using the DSLR tripod place the D800 where it should be the ground glass, with a cloth to make it a bit light tight.

    The compare these 2 shots in D800 manual mode:

    > D800 in B and firing 1/60 with the LF shutter.

    > D800 at 1/60 with the LF shutter staying open.


    Manual mode is important because if not auto-iso can mislead.

    Now I use a custom shutter tester with an oscilloscoppe, but until now I'had been using what I described.


    PD: If it is underexposed then shutter malfunction is not as likely.


    Regards

  5. #5
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: exposure blues

    Dappled forest light can be difficult. Comparing reflected and incident readings might avoid future problems.

  6. #6

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    Re: exposure blues

    You've got a spotmeter, so use it more wisely. Avoid underexposure by metering an important shadow, not a high mid-tone like Zone VI. Meter a shadow value that you still want to see some detail in, place that in Zone III and then check and see where your skin tones, etc. fall. Adjust your development time (or paper grade) to get the skin tone down to Zone VI if it falls too high or low.

    Spotmetering 101.

    Best,

    Doremus

  7. #7

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    Re: exposure blues

    Doremus, thank for your answer. Makes sense. That is what I do with landscapes and I suppose portraits are no different. However, that brings up a question for me. Just how do most people determine exactly which shadows need zone III? Sometimes a particular shadow might be interesting, but exactly where to spot meter? I suppose that is a part of the learning curve. It doesn't seem to be intuitive. I am thinking of a low key protatit in particular.

    Alexis



    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    You've got a spotmeter, so use it more wisely. Avoid underexposure by metering an important shadow, not a high mid-tone like Zone VI. Meter a shadow value that you still want to see some detail in, place that in Zone III and then check and see where your skin tones, etc. fall. Adjust your development time (or paper grade) to get the skin tone down to Zone VI if it falls too high or low.

    Spotmetering 101.

    Best,

    Doremus

  8. #8

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    Re: exposure blues

    Several key things - Foma 200/ Arista edu 200 is probably more realistically an EI of 125-160 in anything that is not a speed increasing developer. Secondly, the 10 mins is for a gamma of 0.65, which is probably too much most of the time.

    Your Pentax spotmeter does offer you a very useful answer however. Use the IRE scale - the one nearest the body with the 1-10 scale - to key to the shadows. Meter the darkest shadow in which you wish to retain detail & set the resultant EV to 1 on the scale, then read off the exposure as normal. Using this method, I'd try 1 sheet at EI 160 and one at EI 80 & a development time in the 8.5 min range & see how that goes.

  9. #9
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Re: exposure blues

    There is no detail in the negative shadows
    Try again with the film rated at 100 then at 50.

  10. #10
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: exposure blues

    Quote Originally Posted by fralexis View Post
    I used a Pentax Spotmeter V and took a reading of the young man's cheek and found a value of 12. I placed that on Zone VI. I checked my spotmeter against my Nikon 800 and they seem pretty close. I took the shot at f8 for 1/60 second.

    I am shooting a TOYO Field camera 4X5. I have Arista 200 iso edu. I used Rodinal 1:50. I developed normally at 10 minutes.

    The result was an extremely overexposed negative. To get an 8X10 print that is even remotely acceptable (and really not usable) I had to expose at f22 for six seconds at a contrast level of 5. There is no detail in the negative shadows. The entire negative and resulting print is very grey and flat.
    Yep. Happens. This is why Fred Archer and Ansel Adams created the Zone System way back in the 1930s.

    The Zone System just codifies and explains why "expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights" works like it does, and how to control it. Done right, you'll never have "very gray and flat" again unless that's what you actually want.

    Bruce Watson

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