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Thread: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

  1. #11
    Benjamin's Avatar
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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Just did a few pics of friends in a park this weekend with a 4x5. Overcast day. Was using Fomapan 100. Aperture was generally f/22, and had no problem with shutter speeds between 1/8s and 1/2s.

    As Bernice mentioned, with large format portrait, you have to instruct your sitters much more. You have to tell them in advance that you're going to ask them to be very still for a short while, and tell them again just as you're finishing your focus. For a normal adult, being very still for two or three seconds is no problem, especially if they understand why.

    Most important, I realized the hard way, is to keep talking to them between the moment you've finished the focus and the moment you press the shutter, or have them think or focus on something specific. I had one sitter who was easily distracted by the other members of the group and I had to redo the focus a couple of times (once after I had just put in the film holder).

  2. #12

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Do you know how to tell an underexposed vs an underdeveloped negative? Your Thin negatives - maybe some basic testing to be sure of the reason?
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

  3. #13

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt View Post
    Sure, you can try pushing. Deardorffuser, a member here, regularly pushes Foma 200 to EI 800 with great results.
    Great, will check out that user and their images thanks so much!

  4. #14

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Quote Originally Posted by maltfalc View Post
    the film itself still requires the same amount of light per square inch, but the larger the format, the higher the magnification needs to be to fill the frame with your subject. higher magnification=dimmer image. having to use smaller apertures doesn't help either.
    this makes sense--your response validates my very unscientific "I can feel in my BONES that this thing is eating the light" LOL. I could just tell intuitively...

  5. #15
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Quote Originally Posted by AdrienneCatanese View Post
    Great, will check out that user and their images thanks so much!
    For examples, see: https://www.instagram.com/dendorff_bw/
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing You Don't Already Know

  6. #16

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie View Post
    Do you know how to tell an underexposed vs an underdeveloped negative? Your Thin negatives - maybe some basic testing to be sure of the reason?
    Yes, great point! and yes, I have seen the difference--in fact in this batch of 6 sheets all processed together, one sheet from a previous shoot on a brighter day came out perfectly developed...so the developing yielded one perfect neg (sunny day) and 5 thin ones (low light shady day)--but yes thanks for the good reminder to consider ALL STEPS in the chain when trouble shooting!

  7. #17

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Years ago I learned an excellent method to find the correct developing time and EI for any film. The source was an article by William Mortensen. Mortensen wrote some excellent books and articles about basic sensitometry. The last time I did this test was when I abandoned Tri-X and switched to HP5+ due to cost about five years ago. I proceed as follows.

    I set up my trays with my favorite developer HC110B (1:31), now Ilfotec HC (1:31). I pull out a sheet from the package in the dark. and then when the package is sealed again I turn on the room lights. This part of the test is done under the lights. I cut the sheet into five strips and mark them 1-5 by punching holes with a paper punch. Lets say the recommended time is 5:00. I want to see 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 and 7:00, so I throw all the strips into the developer and agitate as usual until 3:00 when I move the No.1 strip over to the stop bath. Then I pull No.2 at 4:00, No.3 at 5:00, etc. I fix, wash and dry the strips as usual. What we are looking for is the best usable film DMax value. Obviously the film has been fully exposed! When strips dry lay down a page of news print on a table in good light. Find the strip through which the news print is barely visible. That's your developing time. Now to find the film speed.

    Go outside in unchanging light conditions and expose five sheets and expose one at the manufacturers rating and then the other four at one half a stop and one stop less and one half a stop and one stop more. In the dark, develop them all together for your newly derived time. Contact print them together exposing and developing the paper for maximum usable paper DMax value through the film base plus fog negative rebate area. Pick out the best-looking contact print and you have your film speed.

    Because my 7:00 negative looked the best on the first test, I did the test again with 7:00 as the central developing time and found that 8:00 was indeed too dense. This HP5+ time was the same as the as the developing time I had been using for Tri-X and film speed was also the same, EI400. I have also switched to Ilfotec HC developer due to cost and availability and find it to be a clone of HC110.

    Many of the last generation of B&W gurus favored a development time of 5:00 for Tri-X and suggested an EI of 64-100. You can do the above test backwards, developing for 5:00 minutes and finding the film speed. I like 100. The difference between negatives exposed at 100 and developed for 5:00 and those exposed at 400 and developed for 7:00 is quite subtle. Both could be considered "normal" or N negatives. The 100 negative has slightly greater shadow and highlight detail that only a careful, knowledgeable viewer could detect. This slight improvement might not be worthwhile trading for two stops in the field. I do routinely rate HP5+ at 100 under powerful strobe light in the studio and it produces beautiful skin tones.

    From here, if you are still with me, you can derive expansion and contraction schemes for both the 100 and 400 "normal negs". I do this by changing dilution rather than time. Make sure you have at least 1 oz. of the concentrated sauce for each 8X10 sheet or equivalent. For contractions I found that 3/4 oz. concentrate to 31 1/4 ozs. H20 yields an N-1 neg at a one stop loss in film speed and 1/2 oz. concentrate to 31 1/2 ozs. H20 yields an N-2 neg at a two stop loss in film speed. For expansions, 1 1/4 oz. of concentrate to 30 3/4 ozs. H20 yields an N+1 neg at a one stop gain in speed and 1 1/2 ozs. concentrate to 30 1/2 ozs. H20 produces an N+2 negative with a two stop gain in speed.

    If you look at the chart of Tri-X film speed in Phil Davis' BTZS book you can easily pick out the film speed in HC110B 5:00 as EI 64.

    Don't apply reciprocity exposure and development corrections for long exposures (1/2 sec. +) based on published data. Test for yourself and you may be surprised. I wasted a lot of time and effort producing long exposure negatives that were thick and flat. When I finally tested, I found no compensation was required for TXP or now HP5+ out to one minute.

  8. #18
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Best to check first that other variables are performing properly: accurate light meter, accurate shutter speeds, proper development times before you start introducing another variable (push/pull development).
    I can safely say that your problem has nothing to do with using the format unless you're using your 4x5 to shoot macro at 2x or more bellows extension.

  9. #19

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Why force the exposure to be 1/30 in open shade?

    Hint, fastest shutter speed on a Sinar shutter is 1/60 down to 8 seconds then B.
    Not to start a whole thing, but I think the opposite opinion should also be stated.
    Too many on this forum preach speeds of 1s and slower, and in the same breath complain about wind ruining their pictures!?!

    It’s perfectly ok to want tree branches and leaves sharp in your landscape pictures, or to want pedestrians not to turn into mashed potatoes in your city scenes... Or simply to want short exposures to minimise the chances of wind moving the camera.
    f/11 happens to be one of my most used apertures (together with f/8!). I shoot between 1/8 and 1/125 depending on the film speed and light in the scene.
    I don’t think forcing 1s or 2s would achieve anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by later Bernice said
    As for portraits, 2 second exposures are ok. This is a matter of style and portrait sitter knowing what they are dealing with.
    If pressed for short shutter speeds and need for a given f-stop. apply electronic flash as needed.
    Leaf shutters sync at all shutter speeds allowing controlled exposure of ambient light relative to flash light output.
    Damn, Film must be cheap where you live. No way I would ever risk a sheet of colour 8x10 on a 2s exposure for a portrait, unless the sitter is laying down and asleep.
    OP mentioned they are not new to photography -only to large format- so I assume they’re over their phase of thinking soft photos are romantic and arty.

    For the sake of diversity of opinions, here are my portrait speeds : I won’t go slower than 1/8s for sitting portraits, and 1/30 for a standing subject without any support (like a shoulder against a wall)
    Last edited by lenicolas; 27-Apr-2021 at 13:27.
    "I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing." Duane Michals

  10. #20

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    Re: Need More LIGHT: Should I start PUSHING?

    Quote Originally Posted by maltfalc View Post
    the film itself still requires the same amount of light per square inch, but the larger the format, the higher the magnification needs to be to fill the frame with your subject.higher magnification=dimmer image. having to use smaller apertures doesn't help either.
    Wrong. Sorry, but the only difference in exposure for LF film is usually due to the smaller apertures used. If your meter calls for f/16 at 1/30th sec. for the whatever film you are using, it doesn't matter which camera or format you use; it's the same exposure from Minox through ULF.

    The fact that most LF users work with smaller apertures to get the desired depth of field (e.g., in the range of f/22 and smaller for 4x5 - even smaller for larger formats) is what makes for longer exposure times.

    @OP,

    Better than pushing is using a faster film, that is, if you are not already. Next would be to simply use slower shutter speeds (like most of us do when needing to use smaller apertures).

    If you find yourself constantly dealing with subject movement and slow shutter speeds due to the depth of field you desire, the best solution may be to use a smaller format. There are roll film backs for 4x5 cameras that are 6x7 or 6x9cm; these will allow the use of a larger aperture for the same depth of field, thereby allowing a faster shutter speed, albeit with a smaller negative, and still retaining the advantage of having LF movements to work with. Note that using a shorter focal-length lens and cropping gets you the same result.

    Pushing, by definition, sacrifices shadow detail. That may work for you if you like that look.

    However, there are no free lunches...

    Best,

    Doremus

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