Bracketing and how many?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by cliveh, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I know some photographers bracket exposures to later select the best exposed negative. Others bracket at the same exposure with slight changes in composition. Which are you? An exposure bracketer or composition bracketer and if so, on average, how many? Some may also bracket in a different way. Any thoughts?
     
  2. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Isn't the definition of bracketing that it involves exposure?

    Moving for compositing means its an entirely different picture.
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Yes Blansky, but let's not be pedantic and try and employ a little imagination here.
     
  4. pstake

    pstake Member

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    If I have time for another shot and I'm not sure about the light, I bracket. This is pretty easy with portraits and such. Candids / street / documentary stuff is hard to bracket but I do if I can and feel that it's a good idea based on the lighting/.
     
  5. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I usually bracket with one other exposure -- often with the same exposure. I mostly use 8x10. So if it is an important image, I'll always expose a second sheet of film. Perhaps a stop more exposure if there is substantial dark areas in the image I want to make sure of...or at the same exposure if I think I may want to play with the development a little. And since I edit a lot before and while setting up the camera, most of my exposures end up being "important" and are thus 'bracketed'. On a day's stroll through the redwoods I might set the camera up 4 times. Eight sheets/4 holders with usually one to two more holders in the pack still. Of course occasionally I'll take a sheet of film out of the developing drum and go "Why in the h-double-L did I waste two sheets on this for?!"

    Okay -- so perhaps not fulfilling the dictionary definition of bracketing. It is kinda like it...sort of...

    I rarely shift the composition once I have taken that first image, but it has been known to happen. I have even have taken a vertical and backed it up with a horizontal.
     
  6. jakeblues

    jakeblues Member

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    I don't bracket or really know anything about it, but I'm curious to hear what others have to say. I generally shoot too few pictures, always trying to get the first shot perfect and then move on. When I don't get it right, I am always really disappointed that I didn't try different exposures/compositons/apertures.

    So keep the comments coming. I have a gut feeling I'm going to come away from this thread with something useful.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I bracket - especially with slide film.

    But the size of the brackets varies with the film and the lighting.

    I don't consider changes in viewpoints to be bracketing, but rather "exploring".
     
  8. j-dogg

    j-dogg Subscriber

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    I never bracket film, but I carry a digital with me and if I feel I need to bracket, I bracket 3 on that and use the same exposure on the film camera.
     
  9. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    No bracketing, not even for chromes. Get your metering right and you don't need to bracket.

    (I had 1 bad frame from about 300 on my last trip)
     
  10. Maris

    Maris Member

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    For personal work no bracketing ever; not in exposure, not in composition.

    I have a reliable and calibrated spotmeter. Development regimes N, N+1, N-1, etc, are all worked out and repeatable. Negative densities and the positive tones corresponding to them are predictable. The real challenges in photography lie way beyond the simple basics of exposure and development that anyone approximately competent should have worked out as step one.

    My view camera is steady on the tripod and I can look and re-look at the ground glass image maybe for half an hour or more. Sooner or later I will accept or reject the composition and in accepting it I will make it right. A photograph as personal expression cannot, even in principle, be wrong if the photographer chose it.

    When I did professional photography I bracketed everything, exposure and composition. I don't know about you but my clients were astute and perceptive people who knew exactly what they wanted; but only after they saw it!
     
  11. BradleyK

    BradleyK Member

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    Bracketing? +/- 2/3 (but only with slide film). It has been my experience over the years that even minor changes in exposure - when shooting transparency film - can lead to markedly different results. Film is cheap and I would much rather burn a little extra bit of film than miss getting the shot I wanted...
     
  12. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i mostly use cameras these days that don't vary in shutter speed
    and i don't bother closing or opening the lens ( or if the cameras
    do have that feature available just the same ... i don't bother bracketing.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 1, 2012
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Nope, no bracketing. With negative film for anyone who has even reasonable metering practices, I find it actually a bit silly.

    There are reasons to shoot a second shot, for example a film/emulsion defect can make a nice shot hard to work, having an identical spare is handy for high value shots.

    And I'm with Blansky, at risk of being pedantic too I'll suggest calling a spade a spade makes for better communication.

    Bracketing is an exposure thing.
     
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  15. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I shoot mostly B&W.

    Unless it is a very difficult lighting situation like backlit or really confusing mixed lighting condition, I don't feel the need to bracket. B&W film is flexible enough to deal with this.

    If I think a multiple good composition exists, then I take multiple shots from varying angles but I don't call that bracketing. I'll shoot shots until I'm satisfied I've covered enough. I'm not good enough to take one shot and let that be the best shot I can take - composition wise, that is. Also... I had several occasions where a frame was damaged during handling and I have to use another frame. Having similar or the same image on a roll helps as an insurance.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I don't bracket just to avoid bad frames.

    Although in high SBR situations it can certainly help.

    I bracket in order to obtain different frames - to obtain results that emphasize different parts of the scene in slightly different ways.
     
  17. denniswilliams

    denniswilliams Member

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    I do not bracket exposure, I do not experiment, I ascertain what I think is dead center and keep it there.
    I average 10-15 frames for a given look, usually over two rolls of film. I check at the swap to verify that my aperture and shutter speed does not require adjustment.
    The frames usually vary by both angle and distance to subject (I shoot primes). Full length, 3/4s and head and shoulders.
     
  18. jakeblues

    jakeblues Member

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    I need help with this vocabulary: High SBR
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Oops - decent into jargon - my apologies.

    "Scene Brightness Range": this means the range of brightnesses in your scene, from the darkest shadows (with interesting detail) to the brightest highlights (also with interesting detail).

    Film materials like popular black and white or colour negative film are capable of recording a scene with a very wide range of brightnesses (a "high SBR") in a usable way - you can wring a quality print out of them using common darkroom techniques.

    Whereas transparency materials force you to make choices when you encounter a very wide range of brightnesses - you will lose shadow detail if you expose to retain detail in the highlights.

    On the other hand, a projected transparency will display a wider range of brightnesses than a viewed print.
     
  20. jakeblues

    jakeblues Member

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    Gotcha.
     
  21. GuyS.

    GuyS. Member

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    I don't bracket but will certainly shoot a (near) identical 2nd frame for back up, especially if the camera is hand held and to lessen risk of damage to the neg during development or general handling.
     
  22. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    I've never bracketed even with slide film. If you know how your camera and its metering behaves (or a hand held meter0 then getting the correct exposure is easy.

    Becasue I've work extensively with Large Format since the mid 1980's I've found that I stopped shooting multiple shots of a subject when using miniarure formats like 120 or 35mm, LF teaches you discipline in the way you work.

    Ian
     
  23. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    For roll films incident metering will get you nice negs. Expose shadows or simulated shadows then you are there...
     
  24. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    I rarely bracket my shots. Only when testing films, and thats usually at two stops over and under box speed to get a sense of current speed, and pull/push ability.

    I also routinely use a polaris dual 5 spot meter, or use bodies with meters I have checked, trust, and have performed well over time such as my om4t's and f3hps, or by chance if I am using a later AF Body those are usually quite accurate too.
     
  25. MDR

    MDR Member

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    When I started out I did a lot of bracketing, but once I've learned the characteristics of the films I use I stopped. Knowing how your film and your meter (camera and off camera) behaves is more important than doing a lot of shots. I agree with Ian LF teaches discipline.
    Previsualisation (I hate that term) is the way to go.

    Dominik
     
  26. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Oh my...there must be something wrong with me.

    I bracket (generally for exposure) often.

    Whats wrong with me?

    When bracketing I usually do 3 - one the target, one either side. To me, its experimentation.