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Thread: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

  1. #1
    claus's Avatar
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    Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

    Hello there!

    I've just started with large format photography and I have some questions regarding my metering technique.

    I normally use a Mamiya 7 with Tri-X rated at 200. When I'm photographing, I expose for the shadows using the in-camera meter (spot-ish) and I develop in Kodak D-76 (1:1) for maybe 20% less than they recommend. Since I print in my own darkroom, I prefer to have a "flat" negative with a lot of details so I can control the contrast using the enlarger.

    How could I translate this technique to large format 4x5 Tri-x and an incident meter (Minolta Autometer IV F) I shoot 90% of the time outdoors, can I "fake" a shadow using my body to block the sun from the light meter and still rate at EI200 and using the same developing method?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Re: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

    Phil Davis of Beyond the Zone System fame developed an incident reading system that he elaborates in the book (maybe at your local or other library), and you can probably find it elsewhere as well. In sketch, you read direct light and then a carefully selected shadow (not too deep), adn then add the difference in stops to five, the latter representing three stops over the direct light plus two stops less than the shadow, to indicate the total illuminance range and guide your choice of exposure.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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    Re: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

    Think there was a 10 degree spot adapter for the Minolta Autometer.
    https://www.pacificrimcamera.com/rl/00054/00054.pdf

    Alternative would be to get a spot meter.

    Super Deluxe would be the Minolta combo incident/spot meter VI, which became the Kenko KFM-2200 (truly excellent light meter).


    Bernice

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    Re: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

    You might also want to check out the Duplex Method explained by J. F. Dunn in his 1952 book "Exposure Manual".

    But using an incident light meter in that manner seems to be the difficult way of getting the information you seek for exposure determination. A straight incident reading or general coverage reflected in "normal" situations might be good enough to achieve the goal. A spot meter is a lot easier in both "normal and non-normal " situations if you want really detailed data.

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    Re: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter


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    Re: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

    Quote Originally Posted by claus View Post
    I normally use a Mamiya 7 with Tri-X rated at 200. When I'm photographing, I expose for the shadows using the in-camera meter (spot-ish) and I develop in Kodak D-76 (1:1) for maybe 20% less than they recommend. Since I print in my own darkroom, I prefer to have a "flat" negative with a lot of details so I can control the contrast using the enlarger.

    How could I translate this technique to large format 4x5 Tri-x...
    With apologies if you already know this, but Tri-X sheet film is not the same emulsion as Tri-X roll film - they are entirely different products. Tri-X roll film developed in D-76 1+1 has a long, gentle shoulder that makes it relatively easy to achieve "full information" negatives that print easily. Tri-X sheet film, on the other hand, generally delivers a steeper highlight curve that's harder to handle. You will likely need to adjust your exposure and development habits, and possibly your choice of paper as well, to get prints that you are happy with.

    Although Tri-X is my favorite roll film, I settled on HP5 Plus as my standard sheet film. It too is different from Tri-X roll film, but I found it more forgiving and closer to my taste than Tri-X sheet film. YMMV.

    I generally use a Sekonic L-308 incident meter, take a reading in my own shadow, and err on the side of exposing generously. I don't tailor development for individual sheets - I use a standard time for everything, just as I do with roll film. If you do want to tailor development on a sheet-by-sheet basis, I'd second the recommendation to look at the incident metering technique described in Phil Davis's Beyond the Zone System book.

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    Re: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

    GOOD article.

    Incident meters have their own "internal" point of reference for illumination, where a spot meter depend of reflectance dependent on color or why "gray" or other colors involved that are spot metered could provide an errant light reading. To compensate for this while using a spot meter, keep in mind color of what is being metered can alter the spot meter's light reading relative to calibrated "18% gray". Turns out green grass is pretty close to providing a spot meter reading close_ish to gray. Some where in the pile of Foto stuff is a chart noting the differences in reflectance (spot meter) readings relative to reference 18% gray.


    Bernice



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    Re: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

    I get better results L758 Incident Dome proud, than I ever get with L758 Spot on same device
    image

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    Re: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

    There is a 10 reflected light attachment for the Minolta meter. It could what you need. https://www.keh.com/shop/light-meter...xoCIEAQAvD_BwE
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Re: Metering for the shadows with an incident light meter

    I take a measurement in the shadow and one in the light. Then pick something in the middle if both types of light are in the photo. If the photo will be in the shade and you want that lit normal, then just meter normal in the shadow (pick an exposure close to what the meter says). If you want the shadow the be darker, the pick a shutter speed closer to the brighter reading.

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