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Thread: Long exposure experience with portraits?

  1. #1

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    Long exposure experience with portraits?

    Someone recently posted a sharp, 14-second-exosure photo of a friend standing outside, which astonished me and led me to make a few experiments yesterday. I had to use myself as a model, so my getting up and down probably have contributed to motion blur in some frames. In any case, I found 2 seconds to be fairly reliable, 4 to be uneven, with some clearly blurred (if I may use the oxymoron) from motion and others probably usably sharp. I'm just looking at 645 negs with an 8x loupe.

    Naturally, the degree of support in the pose makes a difference. I tried both supported and non-supported standing, and sitting with and without a hand to the face at a table, in a backed chair, on a padded bench.

    Anyone have experience to share?
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  2. #2

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    Re: Long exposure experience with portraits?

    ~Victorian Posing Stand.


    Bernice

  3. #3

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    Re: Long exposure experience with portraits?

    I'd say study the earliest portraitists. Hill & Adamson come to mind, Southworth & Hawes too. Two different processes, calotype vs. daguerrotype, and location vs. studio portraits.

  4. #4

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    Re: Long exposure experience with portraits?

    One thing that has come up for me has been with highlights on the eyes... The sitter will sit still (hopefully not too rigid), but under the lights, most sitters can't control their eyes, and sometimes there is a "smear" of specular highlights, or just good 'ole blinking (which can ghostly soften the eyes)...

    Usually happens under high hot lighting, even if the face is not directly being illuminated... Strobe tends to avoid this, as they don't exactly know when it will pop...

    Steve K

  5. #5
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Long exposure experience with portraits?

    I cheated -- my boys were usually standing back into the landscape...and was pleased if their facial features were noticable! Thirty seconds was normal, two minutes the longest. Negatives (8x10) contact printed in alt processes which also helps.
    The one of the 3 boys and 3 snags was a 2 minute exposure.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 3BoysRedwoodPCRSPa.jpg   ThreeBoysThreeSnags.jpg  
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #6

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    Re: Long exposure experience with portraits?

    Thanks, all. My new incarnated portrait effort, so to speak, is an effort to leave behind the studio lighting (hot and strobe) I used for so long, along with the studio backdrops, and to use only natural or existing light, reflectors/subtractors allowed, on location. I have already had to compromise in one portrait, made in a small townhouse living room with only indirect sunlight coming through a door at one end; I supplemented the key with an 85W CFL through a diffusion sheet and, with some extensive darkroom effort, got it to work --albeit made with my 645 and probably a 1-sec exposure; 4x5 working apertures (DOF) would have required very long exposure. I shoot HP5 only.

    I go back and forth about supplementary lighting. I'm trying to travel light and deal with what I get on location. I needed to clear my head after the studio work when I started back up again a few years ago, and am still working at it. Except now; no portraits for a while to come.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  7. #7

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    Re: Long exposure experience with portraits?

    Philip. The interesting thing about line scanning backs is that movement creates distortion, not blur. This is a recent ~2 minute exposure. Self-portrait given...well you know! Scott Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Scott_scancam 2020-03-24-0011lowres.jpg 
Views:	87 
Size:	18.5 KB 
ID:	202390

  8. #8

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    Re: Long exposure experience with portraits?

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	D5C5C459-D174-4238-BDEB-3834C3EBB792.jpg 
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ID:	202392
    This was sold recently for $1800.

  9. #9

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    Re: Long exposure experience with portraits?

    Wow, Scott; glad I only shoot film!
    diversey, thanks for the tip, along the lines of benice's above. Besides travelling light, I practically drool imaging all the film and paper I could buy with $1800, if I had it. Heck, I could even hire a model!
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  10. #10

    Long exposure experience with portraits?

    That head brace went for big bucks since it was original from the 1860s, Rob Gibson was the seller and hes a well known and reputable fella/wetplater/re-enactor. I saw people calling that a good deal.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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