View Full Version : Shooting Architecture at "Night" w/ FP-100C

David Solow
8-Oct-2011, 11:31
Hi All,

I'm trying to learn how to shoot architecture at night. The ideal time for me varies between 8 and 18 minutes past sunset (or before sunrise). As you know, there is enough ambient light still to illuminate the buildings and grounds, and it's dark enought for the lights to look great. My light meter does me no good when I use it for incident or reflected light It does better as a spot meter, but I'm having a hard time finding that 18% gray equivalent. My Fujifilm FP-100C45 does me no good either. The shots using the FP-100C require 3 to 5 more stops open to get the same exposure as my Kodak E100G. I've taken to using a digital camera to judge the light. For instance, my digital camera at 100 ISO, f/16 at 12 secs was right on. The instant film was so dark. I tried 90 secs. It was much better, but still dark. That's almost 3 stops. I think 4 might have gotten it. When I got the E100G back, the 12 sec exposure was the closest.

1- Is FP-100C not able to accurately portray the light in low lighting situations(i.e 3-24 secs)?

2- Any tips to using the light meter under these circumstances?

3- Since I'm shooting color transparency film, should I bracket in half stops instead of full stops?

I am using a Sinar P2 with Rodenstock 75mm, 90mm and 210 mm lenses. My meter is a Sekonic L-758DR. So far I have been using the Kodak E100G, but I will also test out the Astia 100F and the Provia 100F.



8-Oct-2011, 11:55
fuji's instant color film has rather poor reciprocity. It can be dealt with if you use the proper times. I did some tests and made a chart but that won't do you much good for night work. The b+w fuji instant is much better but they stopped importing it into the u.s. and doesn't help you with color anyway.
The newer sekonic meter's don't read as low as other spot meters but I don't see why you're having problems. Meter the highlights and open up a couple stops. I don't bracket, that's what the light meter is for (well, on rarely I do but I shoot expired film which is cheap and will only process the second shot if the first one isn't right). Fuji stopped making astia so I wouldn't waste time testing it. Check out my friend tom paiva's site. He works with LF at night almost exclusively.

David Solow
8-Oct-2011, 12:10
Thanks, Vinny. As a beginner, I want to be clear. In this "night" scene the brighest highlights are the center of the lights themselves. Do you mean something that is not the lights, but rather looks white?


8-Oct-2011, 13:03
Don't worry about the brightness of the lights you can't frame out. Find the brightest thing in the scene besides the lights and meter that, then open up. With chromes and this type of work you have a narrow window where you can capture detail in both highlights and shadows. Meter the darkest area you want detail too. If the subject brightness range is too much you either have to over expose to capture the shadow detail or reshoot at another time. Of course there's also color neg film. You may want to get a roll film back and shoot several exposures of the same scene while taking detailed notes of your spot readings. Study the chromes and notes to determine the limits of the film and where the "grey" area you mentioned falls. Your digicam will give you a pretty good idea of exposure but it's no substitute for accurate spot meter use. Take a snap shot with your digicam (reading the histogram) and compare it to your meter readings.

David Solow
11-Oct-2011, 18:00
Thanks, Vinny.

I think I finally got my night time spot metering down. At least it matches the good exposures on my digital camera. I thought that the dynamic range of film is greater than what is possible with a digital sensors (in my case a Nikon D700). Is that true? And if so, is that true with chromes as well as color negs? I'll get my film back later this week. I also ordered some Kodak Portra 160 from B&H that should arrive soon. I'll give that a try.

Thanks again,