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Thread: Processing question

  1. #1
    Random Pixel Generator
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    Processing question

    I am about to start a project where I'll be shooting local, small town, well established storefronts at night. As a newb large format photographer I am just now getting comfortable shooting during the day so shooting at night seems daunting. I do it all of the time with my DSLR's but, not to be Captain Obvious here, shooting with a DSLR "ain't large format".

    My project is going to be very self limiting. I'm going to use either Acros 100 or Delta 100 and I'm going to only allow myself one sheet per subject. I'm not doing it to save film. I've done this before when I wanted to get away from spray and pray with the DSLR and it helped immensely. Of course I still had instant gratification with the DSLR so the risk of missing an image was neglible (if I really wanted it I could just cheat and shoot another one ) Limiting myself to one sheet should help me to slow down even more.

    So the question is:

    I also have some Portra 160 and Portra 400. I was thinking about shooting a sheet of Portra 160, of the same scene, at the same settings, every time I use a sheet of black and white. Both black and white films are ISO 100. The Portra 160 is just a tad faster. Would I need to drop the exposure by 2/3 of a stop when I switch films or is my plan to use the same settings and deal with it in processing workable?

    I know this sounds like a pretty simple question but where I'm going with this is that I know about push processing. I used to push my slide film and take it to a lab. All they needed to know was what ISO I used. Now I am my lab (lord help me) and I'm not at all sure if I can or should compensate for the 2/3 stop difference in ISO rating of the film (and the dynamic range difference) when I process or not. Whatever color sheets I expose will be my first attempt at processing color in a Jobo, which adds a whole new dimension to the question.

    If I add to my stack of sheets in the "oh crap" box I'll be disappointed, but I have a lot of experience with that now so it's not quite so painful as when I DESTROYED 5 negatives made at Shiloh Battlefield NP. I drove a lot of miles out of the way to make the images and one stupid mistake with the Jobo ruined them all. Can you tell that it still stings a bit to think about it?

    The stuff I'm about to start shooting is all local and it will be there for a second chance (or third) if I hose something up. In other words, this is a big, relatively costly, experiment for me but I hope it becomes a worthwhile learning experience. What I don't want to do is needlessly waste sheets of film by starting off with a bad premise.

  2. #2
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Processing question

    I would use the same exposure for the Portra 160 as for the b&w films.

    Your subject/scene is not "average", which is what the ASA speed is calculated for.
    You have much more detail in the dark areas that you want to retain.

    Highlights (light bulbs etc) will always blow in night shots, so I don't think the high end matters.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

  3. #3
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    Re: Processing question

    Delta100 is much cheaper, both are excellent looking, and Acros has much better reciprocity characteristics, both push well, Acros pushes well, haven't tried pushing Delta yet. Delta is more easily accessible.

    General rule for B&W is add / subtract 2 minutes per stop with most developers, probably less with something like HC-110(B)

  4. #4

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    Re: Processing question

    While it may seem counter-intuitive, you will discover that you'll get much better results pulling the film rather than pushing. The brightness range of artificially lit night scenes is extreme. Therefore, compression (more exposure, less development) will yield the best results. Depending on how much room you're putting around the lit storefronts my guess is that exposures will be in the 15" - 30" range at f22. When shooting color for urban night scenes I tell my lab to pull 1-1/2 stops. I would not worry about the ASA discrepancy between films.

  5. #5
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    Re: Processing question

    Quote Originally Posted by frotog View Post
    While it may seem counter-intuitive, you will discover that you'll get much better results pulling the film rather than pushing. The brightness range of artificially lit night scenes is extreme. Therefore, compression (more exposure, less development) will yield the best results. Depending on how much room you're putting around the lit storefronts my guess is that exposures will be in the 15" - 30" range at f22. When shooting color for urban night scenes I tell my lab to pull 1-1/2 stops. I would not worry about the ASA discrepancy between films.
    Remember that "better" is relative, and the OP may be looking for contrast

  6. #6

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    Re: Processing question

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Lloyd View Post
    I know this sounds like a pretty simple question but where I'm going with this is that I know about push processing. I used to push my slide film and take it to a lab. All they needed to know was what ISO I used. Now I am my lab (lord help me) and I'm not at all sure if I can or should compensate for the 2/3 stop difference in ISO rating of the film (and the dynamic range difference) when I process or not. Whatever color sheets I expose will be my first attempt at processing color in a Jobo, which adds a whole new dimension to the question.

    If I add to my stack of sheets in the "oh crap" box I'll be disappointed, but I have a lot of experience with that now so it's not quite so painful as when I DESTROYED 5 negatives made at Shiloh Battlefield NP. I drove a lot of miles out of the way to make the images and one stupid mistake with the Jobo ruined them all. Can you tell that it still stings a bit to think about it?.
    I can appreciate your premise of 'getting it right the first time" and not firing off a flurry of shots which can be done with a digicam. Even before the cost of LF materials exploded, 'bracketing' was pretty darn expensive. I started with 8x10 and learned quickly about careful exposure and processing. However, as you begin this project, I would suggest shooting two sheets per shot for awhile. If you mess up the processing on the first one, you can make a change on the second one. You need to learn a few things about processing and having another sheet ready to process if you mess up is a lot easier than going out and shooting it again. In some cases you won't be able to shoot it again- the light, the weather, any one of a million things. When you are confident in your processing, you can go back to your original intention.

  7. #7
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: Processing question

    I've shot thousands of sheets of 160 ASA color neg film at 100 because I liked it better that way and it matched the exposure of my transparency film. Always worked fine for my my purposes-architecture.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 68
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  8. #8
    Andrej Gregov
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    Re: Processing question

    +1 on shooting Portra 160 at 100. You want to make sure you don't lose shadow detail. As for the Jobo, as many people in the forum have mentioned in many threads, color processing is very straight forward, often easier than b&w. Just make sure you control your temperature and stay tight on the development time (usually 3:15 mins).

  9. #9
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Processing question

    Consider shooting in the evening or morning when there may be enough skylight to boost shadow detail rather than in the inky darkness of midnight.

  10. #10
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    Re: Processing question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    Consider shooting in the evening or morning when there may be enough skylight to boost shadow detail rather than in the inky darkness of midnight.
    However then you also need color correction filters for the blue cast in the shadows and then you lose light anyway

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