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Thread: B&W negative looks normal when projected onto mirror.

  1. #1

    Question B&W negative looks normal when projected onto mirror.

    I had a test roll of Ilford 100 B&W film developed but didnít have prints made. I took one of my favorite shots and projected it onto a mirror with a flashlight to see what it looked like and found that at a certain distance, the image looked like a normal B&W photo. Does anybody know why this happened?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    128

    Re: B&W negative looks normal when projected onto mirror.

    At some angles and against some backgrounds - I think you need a dark background and light illuminating the negative - you wind up seeing a combination of reflected light off the negative, and transmitted visibility of the background, that makes the image look like a positive.

    It seems to work better with thin negatives, so while it is cool, it also can be a sign of underexposure.

  3. #3

    Re: B&W negative looks normal when projected onto mirror.

    Thank you! I asked on another forum and they were less than helpful.

    That makes sense though. I hope it isn’t underexposed, it’s of a 50’s Porsche and it probably my best composition yet.

    I thought my settings were correct but we will see. I didn’t have prints made because I bought a scanner to scan my film but it hasn’t come in yet.

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
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    14,121

    Re: B&W negative looks normal when projected onto mirror.

    I hold them up toward my black wall in the darkroom with an inspection light on them. It's easier to assess what the thin shadow areas of the neg are doing than the highlights. This trick works especially well with pyro stained negs.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    California
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    3,180

    Re: B&W negative looks normal when projected onto mirror.

    For years i purposely did what you have done accidentally so that I could easily see a positive image prior to deciding what to print. It made me lazy about making proof sheets, but saved a lot of time and paper. I frequently go back to those negatives and print them in one or more alternative processes. Nice fast printing times.
    Last edited by Jim Noel; 18-Mar-2020 at 12:54. Reason: spellng

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Newbury, Vermont
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    932

    Re: B&W negative looks normal when projected onto mirror.

    ...kind of like an ambrotype or tintype...

  7. #7

    Re: B&W negative looks normal when projected onto mirror.

    Thank you all! I think it turned out ok. Click image for larger version. 

Name:	176F6FE9-7A73-43D3-9AF1-B01D5B4B2739.jpg 
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ID:	201816Click image for larger version. 

Name:	176F6FE9-7A73-43D3-9AF1-B01D5B4B2739.jpg 
Views:	33 
Size:	44.5 KB 
ID:	201816

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Newbury, Vermont
    Posts
    932

    Re: B&W negative looks normal when projected onto mirror.

    ooooh...with that shorter windshield and hump on the back - this looks like the "speedster" version of the 356....worth many $$$ today for sure!

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