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Thread: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

  1. #31

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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    On a related note I'd add that the misconceptions many people have regarding how camera filters work extends into the darkroom when it comes how VC filters work. It just isn't well taught or explained in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Well expressed, Michael, speaking from the film's own perspective. I think AA confused a lot of people in that respect in his how-to books, overcomplicated the concept. Any added filter decreases the density of opposite hues in the film itself. What transpires during printing is the opposite - after all, it's a negative process!

  2. #32
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I was in good shape back then, and made it clear up the 6000 ft of goat grade to Dragontail Glacier …I applied the correct filter factor, but didn't yet appreciate the additional effect of blue in the shadows.
    Yes, I too was in the heavens for the cliff scene (above) where the blue light baffled my Pentax digital and me. This blue light surprise might have been even greater – say a 1-stop or 1.3-stop differential drop – had the shadows not been partially illuminated by reflected light from the nearby sunny rocks.

  3. #33

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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    Might not apply, still..

    Idea-suggestion, avoid contrast altering color filters for B&W if and when possible. Scene tonal-contrast altering color filters for B&W are often used to deal with a blank sky or enhance-hold back specific tonal-contrast rendition of colored objects on B&W film. While selective contrast-tonality enhancement via manipulating how colors would be rendered on B&W film can add drama and interest to the image, selective color filters tend to affect how the image is rendered on film overall.

    Another way to reduce the use of color filters for B&W would be to work with light, composition and all related in place of applying color B&W filters.



    Bernice

  4. #34
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    Huh? That kind of logic is like stating that if you never drive your car out of its garage, you're less likely to get in an accident. True; but then what's the point of owning a car? Film doesn't see values the same as we do anyway, especially when black and white film is involved. And contrast filters can be selected for subtle tweaks as well as dramatic shifts if desired.

  5. #35
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    Bernice, the film and lens already alters how colors and tonalities are reproduced. Why forsake one tool for another? Consider the use of them all for every image. It just happens that the choice can often be not to use a particular tool.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #36

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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    Yep, once the image is rendered into B&W, all has been alerted. Question become how has it been altered and there is more than one method to get there.

    Color B&W filters are indeed image making tools. IMO, they need to be applied sparingly and properly if at all. What has happened, over the decades of doing this B&W stuff, I've come to dis-like what color filters do the the overall image... again, this is an opinion-preference. That said, still have all those color filters in Sinar 103mm glass, 75mm square and a full set of Tiffen series 9 with all the associated holders-adapters. They sit lots these days.

    The filters that DO get used, neutral density and polarizer remain the most often used.


    Bernice

  7. #37

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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Huh? That kind of logic is like stating that if you never drive your car out of its garage, you're less likely to get in an accident. True; but then what's the point of owning a car? Film doesn't see values the same as we do anyway, especially when black and white film is involved. And contrast filters can be selected for subtle tweaks as well as dramatic shifts if desired.
    You see clouds, you see sky, you think: the clouds must be visible, besides that gives the picture drama and depth. And last but not least, the sharpness impression increases, because apparently the haze is removed.

    Actually, this is a scheme. We often don't think about it. I read in some books that with panchromatic film you should leave the middle yellow filter on the lens. So that a natural tonal value impression is created. - But you're actually depriving yourself of the possibilities that black-and-white photography offers. Because the yellow filter only creates a certain look. In contrast to this no one would think of leaving a blue filter on the camera permanently. Besides, an XO filter would be better than a Y2 anyway.

    So it's not a matter of leaving the car in the garage, but of driving off with your car wherever you want, instead of steering only in a certain direction from the start, which is predetermined from the start with a yellow-orange-red filter. I really recommend Ansel Adams' "Natural Light Photography" again, my copy is from 1952, S. 36ff. The way Adams presents it, it was a revelation for him to depict mountains with blue filters, because that way he could work with the light illuminating the object being photographed. At that time, 1952, the use or the omission of filters was for him an important aspect of visualization.

    He writes, p. 37: "If you are photographing a typical landscape ... your first impulse might be to apply a red filter 'to bring out the clouds.' You should first ask yourself what the mood of the scene is, and what you wish the resultant mood of the print to be ... a high contrast effect ... may not in any way relate to the desired mood" - if you see black and white images today, they all have the same contrast, the same basic framework of black and white, between which the gray tones are supposed to make a dramatic impression, Barnbaum-like.

    I think we should think about that a little more often. Not using filters unless it's really necessary leads to shorter exposure times, less Schwarzschild effect, less calculating - and more awareness of light as the substance between us and the world we see. - You can also achieve higher contrast with longer development times.

  8. #38
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    Huh ?????? Like there's only one cookbook in the world, and we're all obligated by contract to follow it like mindless lemmings? Nonsense. Ansel did what he wanted to do, I'll do what suits my own vision. But I never ever saw an AA print that looked like he used a blue filter. I do keep a deep blue 47 in my kit; I almost never carry a yellow one. Every scene is different. And what filters do is not synonymous with how development alters contrast - two entirely different tool sets. It's also an utter myth that everyone's work looks the same, contrast-wise. There is tremendous variety out there, and even within my own portfolios.

  9. #39

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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    Leaving aside the discussion on personal choices and observations...

    The point about using filters other than the more common yellow-orange-red family is a good one.

    AA liked and used a Wratten #44 filter to approximate the look of orthochromatic film (an image of his of a white house with wisteria draped over the entrance springs to mind - wonderful tonalities). I carry #44 and 80A/B filters with me all the time and find them useful in lots of situations. A #47 will render the blue-sensitive look.

    Recently, I've been watching the Ken Burns docuseries on the National Parks. It is full of images made on blue-sensitive and orthochromatic film. I find the tonalities in many of these older images, especially the open shadows, extremely expressive.

    There is a "panchromatic look" that we sometimes accept, consciously or unconsciously; deeper shadows, dramatic clouds, etc. That's just fine, but it's just one of the many things we can do with modern panchromatic films and filters. It's nice to have lots of tools in the toolbox.

    Doremus

  10. #40
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: The mysterious “Hutchings” filter factor for b/w landscapes

    They do a lot of work to clean up those old images for sake of those wonderful Ken Burns documentaries. I have a friend who does the same thing for use in his books about local history. But the first generations of great landscape photographers had no choice except to use blue-sensitive films. Panchromatic films give us all kinds of options.

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