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Thread: extreme low light from behind camera

  1. #1

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    extreme low light from behind camera

    Yesterday I was in the Sloss furnaces just before a storm hit so was getting some nice light on the exterior. However I found an interior shot where the only light source was a window behind me and the subject was gray metal gears and rusted parts. The only thing I could measure with a spot meter was a bit of yellow sand on the floor and it was EV3 which is the lowest my spot meter can read apparently. From that I extrapolated the best lit metal would be 1.5-2 stops less, and did a best guess for exposure hoping that I have enough detail at Zone 3 with some expansion. I did not account for any bellows factor which is likely going to lead to under exposure. Final exposure f16 at 4 minutes.

    I just now learned that my spot meter when switched to incident will measure down to -1EV. Would it have been more effective to use the incident (assuming it would have read a bit higher than -1)?

    Also how do you focus in the dark? with f5.6 I barely could make out the item closest to the camera.

    Has me thinking future purchases need to be f4-ish lenses for my commonly used lenses and a newer spot meter model with more sensitivity. I rarely shoot below average EV7 so not in a rush, but more of a nice to have.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  2. #2

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    Re: extreme low light from behind camera

    To focus in low light I use a flashlight on the object.
    Kevin Taylor
    Bonehead amateur

  3. #3
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: extreme low light from behind camera

    I carry one of these everyday, clipped to my shirt pocket. Helps me see all day long and with the magnet can be placed for focus or placed for invisible corners.

    Rechargeable, bought almost exactly one year ago.

    Fenix LD15R Right-Angled Rechargeable LED Flashlight

    Buy direct and they usually discount the first sale.
    sin eater

  4. #4

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    Re: extreme low light from behind camera

    Quote Originally Posted by metalsmith View Post
    To focus in low light I use a flashlight on the object.
    That is a great tip!
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

  5. #5

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    Re: extreme low light from behind camera

    Laser pointers work well for distant dark interiors...

    Or leave flashlight in scene aiming towards camera at focus point...

    Steve K

  6. #6

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    Re: extreme low light from behind camera

    https://www.amazon.com/10000-Lumens-...755409&sr=8-11

    I got one of the lights above after using some much higher quality lights for some time. This one is powerful enough for bounce light as well as a major focus assist. Cost is reasonable and it stays on for more than a full day at the lower power setting. Rechargeable sure is nice - and no extra batteries to buy.

    My Uncle once did an 8 hour exposure in an abandoned prison - light was a toilet paper covered 40 watt lightbulb in the ceiling fixture. Reciprocity was one reason it was so long. He used a small flashlight to check focus before committing to the exposure. Calcu Light XP light meter for the dim lighting conditions.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  7. #7

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    extreme low light from behind camera

    Consider a bicycle light with a handlebar Mount. Attach the mount to your tripod leg. When needed, clip the light on the leg and aim the beam to light the subject. This way, your hands are free to manipulate the camera. Works well for me and you can find lights that are as bright as a car headlight, if you want that much illumination.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: extreme low light from behind camera

    Re: Kalart Focuspot laser pointer retrofit

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...=1#post1227352

    Very good in dark woods, alleys

    Obviously do not point at eyes, people, airplanes, helicopters or people with guns hiding in woods
    sin eater

  9. #9
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: extreme low light from behind camera

    Sometimes I just put my cell phone with the flashlight turned on somewhere in the scene for focus, aimed at the camera obviously.

    It wasn't quite that dark when we went a few months ago I don't think.

    Expose for double the amount you think it needs, and you'll rarely be wrong, in that kind of situation.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  10. #10

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    Re: extreme low light from behind camera

    Processed the negative today and am pleasantly surprised. Single 4x5 sheet in SP445 tank with Pyrocat-M 3.5A+3.5B+475W for 16mins (30% more than my normal 12:30). The negative is thin in the deep shadows but I have contrast on the shiny and reflective metal parts. Focus appears to be good but the framing is a little off at the bottom and too much at top but I may be able to crop it square to get what I was after.

    I found a small rechargeable flashlight with a light up side panel too for a future focusing aide.
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
    http://www.searing.photography

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