Backup sheets?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by argus, Aug 9, 2005.

Do you take a backup shot?

  1. Always. Better be sure than sorry.

    17 vote(s)
    27.9%
  2. Depends: if the scene is unrepeatable.

    38 vote(s)
    62.3%
  3. Are you crazy? a BW 4x5" sheet costs 1 Euro (and more)!

    1 vote(s)
    1.6%
  4. Never! Backups are for sissies and it doubles the number of scenes to photograph!

    5 vote(s)
    8.2%
  1. argus

    argus Member

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    aaaah, my first poll

    Do you make a backup exposure and in what circumstances?
    ATM, I don't, because I'm still too much in the process of learning movements etc of a LF camera.

    BTW, one thing that helps me a lot to make better exposures, is the Palm VadeMecum by Robert E. Wheeler. Thanks a lot!
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the only times i didn't make a few exposures, i had a spigot - leak in a "bladder of fixer in a box" i kept on a shelf, and it dribbled on my unexposed film ... ( pre development / in the dark ) so i just want to make sure ... and not only make a few exposures, but have my box-o-chemicals on the floor, not on a shelf :smile:
     
  3. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    I'm tending toward an extra shot if I want to do minimal agitation and wonder about the effect. Too much blue sky, different effect on highlights, etc.

    With E6 I may take an extra to bracket or push-pull development a bit as well. Just depends on light and how I feel at the time. On one I think has really good potential, I'll do an extra sheet ot two, maybe three if I'm considering a change in development for effect. No hard and fast rules on this one. tim
     
  4. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    If shotting for a client I take at least 2 of every setup at every setting.

    If shotting for my self I take at least two but may change my settings on additional exposures.

    In addition I will shot each subject from at least two (generally more) vantage points. The frames or sheets begin to multiply quickly.

    When I was paying a lab to do my development the bill would get pretty large.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For portraits I regularly shoot at least 4 sheets (usually more), just to have a choice of expressions, in case of closed eyes or subject movement, and backups in case of a damaged negative.

    If I'm shooting something for someone else, I'll err on the side of caution and shoot some backups. If it's for myself, unless I'm unsure of something or deliberately want to try two ways of developing or unless it's something *really* special, I don't shoot a reserve sheet typically.
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sometimes, sometimes not. More and more "not" as my confidence increases.
     
  7. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

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    I always shoot a backup, and i always develop them separately. I develop the 1 and review it, before developing the second. often making minor changes in development for #2.

    If i should bracket a shot, i'll make backups of those as well, and develop the same way.

    film is cheep compared to my time and effort to get to the subject.

    Pete
     
  8. Claude

    Claude Member

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    I take backup sheet if the scene is unrepeatable or very far from my home. I'm coming back from hollidays with 160 8x10 shots (2x80). After developing the first serie for normal prints having no bad surprise, I'm in the way to develop the second one for alternative prints.
     
  9. argus

    argus Member

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    Aha! That's the first time I hear about what people do with their backup sheets when they are satisfied with the primary development.
    Interesting point of view, but I'm not yet in alternative processes (yet) (said the same about 4x5 some months ago...)

    G
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yes and no--depends on what format you shoot and film management options for different situations. In the field, if I'm hiking with 3-5 8x10" holders for the day, then I'm less likely to be shooting backups. 11x14", where the filmholders are $300 a piece, not to mention the cost of film, I'll also measure twice and cut once. 8x10" Polaroid at $9 a shot--I'll sometimes go as many as 3 sheets to get something just right, but I can usually get it in one or two.
     
  11. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    The nice thing about SBR numbers and tube development, one is really all that is needed for an exact shot, development and print. Once all variables are known and development is a routine, it just becomes a call about tweaking for effect. As I stated above, minimal agitation gives still another tool in development which can effect the outcome. Nice to have choices in the same shot for differing effects. tim
     
  12. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I've never shot a backup. There have been a few times where I wished I would have though. If I ever run across a "once in a lifetime" shot, I'm going to shoot a backup or two. So far that hasn't happened.
     
  13. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Member

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    I just learned the hard way to do backups and run them seperate from the primary shots. On a recent expedition, my developer was giving out on me toward the end of the trip and I had negatives for 3 customers come out too thin to do POP prints - I SHOULD have known better than to run all the films thru at the same time! Had I developed the primaries first, I would have seen the problem and saved myself a lot of work.

    Sortcuts are often not "short"!
     
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  15. Poco

    Poco Member

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    I double less and less these days with B&W, but still quite a bit with color so that I can try bleach bypass, or whatever.

    Interestingly, for the first few years of shooting LF, I doubled almost religiously, yet found that most of my keepers ended up being of scenes I'd only shot one negative of. It became a real head-scratcher for me and I finally realized that my bracketing was related to both the difficulty of a shot's set-up and of how hard I had to hunt for the picture -- the more conscious effort involved, the more likely I was to shoot doubles or more. Yet, it was the easy, intuitive stuff that often proved the most successful, and by "easy" I don't necessarily mean "obvious." I mean those shots which intuitively click inside and don't require a lot of conscious agonizing over lens choice, camera placement, etc...
     
  16. argus

    argus Member

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    I read about that on LF.info :wink:
    It must have been a great experience to do those shows.

    G
     
  17. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    I shoot back up sheets as the situation dictates. If I'm shooting for a client, damn right I do, but if I'm shooting for me, I usually shoot a back up sheet, but not always.
     
  18. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Mostly no. About 80 / 20 I suppose. If I'm going to experiment with a new developer like Rodinal the other day then I do. On a recent trip I had the 717 set up for a really pretty shot and couldn't find the meter. I was using filters so guessing wasn't easy. I did 2 shots, the second with a full stop more exposure than the first. Developed the first and it was thin to the point of being completely un-useable. Knew I had a little more on the second but also knew I'd need a push. That one is still slightly thin but very printable.
     
  19. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I've never shot a back up sheet until I read this thread. Now it is going to be a definite probably. I felt in the past that anything less than perfect did not warrant printing (I haven't done much printing recently), and why have two negatives showing the same errors?

    But after the APUG shoot in Asbury Park where I shot two different scenes from an empty film holder I realized it would only have been one wasted scene, not two, if I had shot the back up. Similar things happen to me and I think I probably will have more printable images if I shoot the same image on each film in the holder. Which is not a waste of film and does provide the opportunity to alter development, which is a 'god's send' for me.

    Thanks all for the enlightenment.
     
  20. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    It never ceases to amaze me the number of ways I can mess up a shot. Luckily, I don't usually mess up twice in a row, so I usually take two shots and process one first. If that is OK, I might guestimate a new development time, or try a different developer to see what I get (still learning!).

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  21. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    It depends.

    I used to do it regularly to cover the risk of damage during processing. That was when I was processing in trays by shuffling - and the risk of scratching was high. When I switched to a slosher and recognized that the risk of scratching was essentially gone, I stopped making multiple exposures.

    Today I do it in two situations. One is where the scene is rapidly changing and I want to cover various aspects of that change. An obvious example is portraiture, but the situation could also present itself with something in nature if the wind is blowing, seascapes with waves breaking, etc.

    The other situation is where I expect that there could be a need to "play" with the processing, and need multiple negatives to experiment. Just yesterda, photographing a scene in my front yard, I made two negatives. One I processed normally (HC-110 H, 11 min with intermittent agitation) and the other was given stand processing (Rodinal, 1+100, 1 hour).
     
  22. PeterDendrinos

    PeterDendrinos Member

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    I agree with you completely David. My reference point is strictly 4x5 at this time. If i had to lug 11x14 film holders around i very well might think differently.

    Pete
     
  23. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I do shoot backups most of the time. Most of the time this is with E-6 which I don't develop myself and the difference in the shots might be exposure time or use of a filter. I'm not good at using the ND filters yet.
     
  24. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I never do a second shot of an identical set-up with LF or ULF format unless something makes me suspect a problem with the first, say a sudden gust of wind during exposure that might shake the camera, or the thought that I might have been too close to the camera and the tip of my sombrero made it into the scene. I always identify each holder with N or SBR information and am confident enough with my develoment procedures that I can get a negative that will print well on the first develoment.

    However, I usually make multiple shots of any given setting with slight variations, sometimes from the same tripod spot. My theory is that if the scene looked interesting enough to pull out a ULF camera it probably deserves more visual exploration than you get with one take.

    Sandy
     
  25. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I see a reason to get another holder... Or maybe I'll just bring another camera. That would be less expensive, I fear :smile:
     
  26. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    I'll do a second if i think i'll never see the same conditions again or if the light is very harsh i may change exposure for alternate development. With velvia i would love every time but it's expensive.
    On the other hand, i just did a job for Lexus with a german photographer who shot over a hundred sheets of E 100G per set up. We lit the car and he'd bracket the hell out of it then the background and then the two together. Over two nights we went through nearly 250 sheets. At the end of the night he shot about 5 sheets and some polaroids of me and the crew just for kicks.