Delta 400 for outdoor wedding?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by flashgumby, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    I'm looking for some (quick) advice re film choice for a wedding this weekend.

    First, the facts...

    It's a pretty low-key wedding and I'm the 'photographer' - the happy couple have been made aware that when you get a freebie there are no guarantees. I confident enough, but not prepared to promise 'pro' results.

    I'll be using 35mm. Camera gear will be Minolta Dynax 7 and 600si bodies, with 50mm f/1.7, 50mm f/2.8 Macro and 28-105 f/3.5-4.5 lenses and one 5400HS flash shared between bodies. The only filters I have are a Cir-Pol, UV and cross-screen that fit the zoom lens.

    The wedding is outdoors, starting at 4.30pm - sunset is 5.30pm, expected showers/overcast conditions.

    I don't know what colours they're wearing, or even skin colour of anyone except the fair-skinned bride.

    I'll be carrying the bride's Canon 350D (Rebel XT) digi, but trying hard not to use it much :wink: and loading colour in one body and B&W in the other.

    For colour I'll probably use a roll of Reala that I have in my fridge, then load Superia 400 for the later shots.

    My question is really about what B&W to use. I think 400 would be the best to use considering the expected conditions and the late afternoon start. I can get most Ilford, Fuji and maybe Agfa easily, but not so easy to get Kodak at my regular place.

    The B&W film will be processed for me - I don't do it (yet). For those who may know of him, I will be taking it to Les Porter in Newcastle.

    Is Delta 400 the best option, or maybe HP5+ or something different??? I recently used Delta 400 at another wedding, but it was 9 years out of date - I was still impressed with it though, so I can only assume that fresh stock will be as good or better. That is my only recent B&W experience.

    If it makes a difference to your advice, the normal flash sync is up to 1/200 before it goes to the short-range high speed sync - and I'll be hoping to shoot between f/2-f/8 with the 50mm and f/4.5-f/11 with the zoom, using the flash to fill any shadows.

    Thanks muchly for any advice.

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  2. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    First bit of advice is if you really love the couple and your own sanity, hire a professional for them.

    Secondly: keep it simple. One camera and the strobe and back-up in case you drop your equipment in the punch bowl. Don't laugh, it's happened--though never to me. Make sure you have all necessary batteries.

    With high speed film, your flash synch should be high enough to avoid ghost images in case the sun comes out at the wrong time. If you think that will be a problem, tell your subjects NOT TO MOVE a muscle until you tell them after the flash goes off. And be sure to ask them if the flash went off; they'll think you've been hitting the punch early, but with an slr you can't always tell, can you.

    Good luck: and remember, unbeknownst to the world, Murphy of Murphy's Law was actually a wedding photographer by trade and also an incurable optimist.
     
  3. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    Thanks John. A pro is absolutely not an option - they can't afford it and they're in much better shape than I am!!!

    I should have mentioned that I'll have my son's Dynax 5 in the car as a backup in case of wayward punch bowls - that way I can be fairly safe in loading both of my bodies.

    If Murphy turns up, I hope I'm holding the Canon at the time :D :wink:

    Thanks,
    Gordon
     
  4. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Get hold of a reflector - buy, borrow, rent, steal, jury-rig...whatever.

    Have them with their backs to the sun to avoid squinting, and to have the reflector bounce back some nice light back on them. That plus a small flash will help a lot.

    And see if they can't at least spring for a second roll of film.
     
  5. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    Thanks Colin. I have some A3 (I think) cardboard sheets in both silver and gold - will they do as a reflector? I've never used a reflector, so I'll have to try to get my wife to help me out beforehand and see if I can make it work.

    I'll get at least 1, possibly 2 rolls of B&W, and I've got heaps of Superia 400 to use after the Reala 100 is finished. Shouldn't be a problem there. If I run out of B&W film I'll just shoot with their Canon and they can convert those if they want. I don't expect to be at the reception, just the ceremony and some shots after. The details a still a bit sketchy - that makes it even more fun :confused:

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  6. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Hang the expense and get at least one more roll of B&W. The details are still a bit sketchy and the wedding is in two days time? Good luck, my friend. :wink:

    Seriously, I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the venue BEFORE the wedding with the B&G for a run-through.
     
  7. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    I'm sure the details have all been attended to (except photos it seems) - it's just the info that I have is sketchy. I wasn't a guest (nor did I expect to be) so I know pretty much nothing about how it's going to run. Still waiting for more detailed info, hopefully tonight.

    I know the venue, but getting hold of the couple is rather hard at this late stage!!! I am trying though.

    There's nothing like pressure to make life interesting...
     
  8. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Gordon, regarding the B&W film, ask Les what their B&W processing is set up for.

    Once you know what they prefer, use that.

    If you are going to be shooting B&W in lowish light, and with bad weather forecast, you may be requiring a speed bump.

    You could look at the Fuji 1600 B&W film. I would suggest you expose it at 800 ASA and tell the lab to process it as though you had exposed it at 1600 ASA.

    This film has a higher contrast and for low light is usually a very good thing.

    You can look at my gallery and check out a picture of my brother, it was done on Fuji 1600 film at exactly those settings.

    My personal preference with B&W under those conditions is to use a more conventional B&W film, either Ilford HP5+ or Fuji Neopan 400.

    Good management on the day!

    Mick.
     
  9. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    When will you be shooting? During the ceremony, beforehand, or afterward? What sort of pix are these supposed to be? Candids, or posed "portraits'?

    Honestly, if they are posed shots, you are going to be pretty well screwed. These things tend to run late, so your shots will have to be beforehand to have any natural light...then they will be rushed and everyone will be stressed. That is, unless you can get a scheduled time to shoot, and they don't mind seeing each other before the ceremony. If they are supposed to be posed shots, my suggestion is to do them another day; after the honeymoon, for instance. (Some folks don't like to dress up before the actual wedding.)

    If they are supposed to be candid in nature, or absolutely NEED to be taken on the wedding day itself, I think that film would be fine, if you are familiar with using it. It is not very forgiving with exposure and development, however, so make sure you are metering well. I suggest an incident meter, not your in-camera reflected meter. Following one of those things in difficult lighting situations (low light, backlit, high contrast, with fill flash, etc.) is a recipe for disaster. I might consider BW-400CN (or XP-2) for this scenario (which, BTW, sounds totally jacked up).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2009
  10. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    It's also worth thinking about chromogenic black and white, like Ilford XP2. Plenty of exposure latitude, low grain, and easy to scan/print. I took a load of shots at a friend's wedding [they had a photographer, this was just for fun] and shooting on a C-41 film made getting prints straightforward and cheap.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I note that the bride is carrying four horse shoes :D

    Mick.
     
  12. Leigh Youdale

    Leigh Youdale Member

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    Gordon,
    The Agfa APX films Les has been selling me are superb in both 100 and 400 types. After that I'd probably choose Delta for the smooth tones but it does seem to be a bit sensitive to overexposure and/or overdevelopment so be careful. Err on the side of less, rather than more.
    If that bothers you, go to HP5+. The Fuji films are a step more contrasty than the others and I concur that they should probably be downrated and not over developed. I have used quite a bit of Fuji 1600 and when rated at that speed and developed normally it starts to block up. Since it's a pressure job and you don't want to be experimenting I'd go for Agfa APX400 if Les still has any, and failing that Delta 400.
     
  13. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I'd give serious consideration to 2F's suggestion of taking the main, or more formal, pictures on a separate occasion, when you can use film and lighting that you are familiar with, and you and the wedding group can be more relaxed.

    I appreciate that hiring a professional photographer is too costly, but the bride may not think that freebies were such a good idea if the photos are not as good as she expects! And I do think that this is a real possibility, when you are relying on untested films, an unfamiliar location, bad light, and little time left now for planning. It may be a "low key" wedding, but it is an important day and good photos will likely become valuable memories for the bride and groom as the years pass. It's their time, and emphatically not your day for photographic experimenting. :smile:

    I'd explain the problems involved, say that you'll take a few casual snaps on the day "for the record", then offer to take some "formal" shots after the honeymoon. Everyone's happy then, they're assured of good photos and you'll enjoy your picture-taking without the pressure. :wink:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 16, 2009
  14. ghost

    ghost Member

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    All that stuff about how it's "low key" and "no expectations" is all bullshit.

    If you have one brain cell in your head you will back out of this now.

    This is not a joke. Get out now. You are making a huge mistake.
     
  15. Leigh Youdale

    Leigh Youdale Member

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    Given that none of us know the people involved except by inference from the OP's comments, I think this is a bit gratuitous. I shot a friend's wedding some years back on the same basis, my first attempt at a wedding, in colour, using two Nikkormat FTn bodies and presented them with the negs and proof sheets for them to do with as they wanted.
    They were very happy. Gordon may do just as well.
     
  16. faustotesta

    faustotesta Member

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    I have been "the photographer" on a certain number of friends' weddings (about ten). I'm not a professional and all the times i put myself a enormous amount of pressure. I must admit all the times the pictures satisfied me enough (i'm very critical) and, most important, i still have te friendships of the couples i photographed. My humble suggestions are: when shooting BW carry a couple of coloured filters (green to enhance skin tones and yellow to enhance skies). Bring a friend/wife/enemy with you that may help to carry the bag and the necessary stuff (rolls, batteries, flash....) Talk to the Priest, if possible, advising him that you'll be the least intrusive photographer in the world (and aobviously you will act in that way). Here in Italy weddings are very cerimonious. I use to go to the Houses of the guys who are getting married and shot some informal pictures of them, their relatives and their environment. Those moments have, relatively, little pressure and there is the chance of shooting nice pictures.
    Try to use a reportage style (Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau) but do not miss for any reason in the world the "unmissable" moments (exchange of rings, communion, etc..etc.. Make a list of them and don't be with the roll at its end....) I hope this is enough.
    Ciao
     
  17. wayne naughton

    wayne naughton Member

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    Agree with above, get some xp2. and you're gonna get some rather drastic variation mixing reala with superia. Reala will give you supersaturated colour, so unless you'reafter that effect i'd just stick with superia. Take plenty of flm (superia's pretty cheap to buy and process)and make plenty exposures. nothing worse than capturing the bride sneezing at a critical moment and you've only got one frame to choose from.

    <quick aside> i'll be around your neck of the woods in a few weeks (dad's holed up in C.A. brown at Teralba, i'll have to pm you for a weather report....grin)

    Good luck with the wedding.....

    wayne
     
  18. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    A few days ago I finally fixed the rattle in my Pentax Digital Spotmeter. It fell out of my jacket pocket twice on my cross-country trip in January. One of those times was into a snowy field in Oklahoma, where it sat until I realized it 70 miles down the road and went back hoping that I had dropped it where I suspected I had. Lo and behold, it was right where I expected it; wet and icy but functioning. Earlier in the trip, I was crawling around near the top of a railroad underpass along U.S. Highway 13 in Maryland and it slipped out of my jacket pocket. I watched horrified as it skidded and jumped down the concrete slope about 30 or 40 feet and landed in the dirt next to the tracks. I was surprised to try it out and find it functioning perfectly. Nothing but exterior scratches and an interior rattle. WELL, I finally took the bugger apart and found that a tiny screw had come loose. After some searching, I found where the screw belonged and put it back where it goes. I now have a spot meter on its third life that is NICE AND QUIET again. The end!
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Had you intended to post this in the 'What did you fix today?' thread?


    Steve.
     
  20. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    Thanks for all the replies. Well, the weather report is looking a bit better now - it seems that wind might a bigger problem than anything else.

    I checked out the location this afternoon - which will be pretty shady by kick-off time tomorrow - and spoke to the bride about what she wants / expects. There are no cars/arrival (she'll already be there) and they're just having a short ceremony (that I'm assured will be very much on time) and just having some shots with a few of the 40-odd guests straight afterward.

    This is a wedding like no other I've seen in my 42 years, and it's hard to explain how little regard the bride has for the photos. Her only request is to "make me look thin" - sorry, it's film and it always tells the truth. If you want contrived fiction I'll have to use your digi :surprised: :wink: No, I didn't say it - I've got lots I want to do before I die :D

    After talking to Les Porter (the guy who's processing the B&W) I picked up some Tri-X 400 (400TX) and decided to grab some Fuji Pro400H colour - while I was there.

    @ Leigh - He's all out of the APX 400 - only has APX 100 left.
    @ 2F/2F - thanks for the great advice. There's really no other day to take formals, and they really don't want them anyway. The unforgiving nature of Delta is one reason I chose Tri-X. I guess I just got lucky last time I used Delta :smile:
    @mcgrattan - nice shot. XP2 seems to do a good job, but since I want Les to process my B&W (I trust him more than labs) it can't be C41. Another time for sure.
    @ ghost - um, not sure how to reply to that. I'm not particularly stupid (as far as I know :D) and as someone else said, you know bugger all about this situation, so I'll have to assume you were so forthright because you've been badly burnt by this kind of thing before. Otherwise I'd have to assume you're a complete jerk - and I never do that when there are other options. Thanks anyway, I can't (and won't) back out, but I'll be careful :smile:
    @ faustotesta - My wife will be there to help - I've told her that I'll be "allowing her the privilege" of using the bride's D-SLR. I'm sure she'd rather carry my Dynax 7 - darn it she knows too much :D If I could do a Cartier-Bresson, they'd be paying me for this gig!!! I do think the reportage style is my best option though.
    @ Wayne - see the reply regarding XP2 above. I've decided to use Pro400H for the colour stuff because the Reala/Superia combo was worrying me, and your post confirmed it. Feel free to PM before you come up this way and I'd be happy to give you a report. CA Brown's about 5 minutes from here.
    @ Steve - I just thought he got tired of the topic and digressed a little :wink: Interesting story anyway.

    Thanks again to you all for the help.
    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  21. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Let us know how you go, good bad or otherwise.

    Sounds good.

    Mick.
     
  22. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    Thanks Mick - sounds good?!?! You're a deadset optimist aren't you...

    Gordon
     
  23. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    YES! oops
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Anyone who wants to delete this post, the one before it, and the one that I accidentally posted in the wrong place, please go right ahead.