Exposure by Candlelight?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by photomc, Oct 2, 2004.

  1. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Good Day All...

    Question for all you folks that do people work, my wife's niece decided to get herself married and has ask me to shoot her reception next weekend. It will be outside, after the sun goes down. The light will be mostly from candles on each table..so the questions are - 1. Would HP5+ or TriX, exposed with an EI of 800 be fast enough or should I look at using one of the really fast 3200 films and expose it at say 1600? 2. When metering with candle light, should I just meter the face and place it on say Zone IV or V.

    Don't want to use a flash for the B&W stuff, the wife will use the EOS Elan with color film and flash for some of the stuff. Remember seeing work by Erwin Smith - cowboy photographs, that he did around campfires where everyone is exposed perfectly, look pretty darn good and I know he did not have fast film then.

    Have not done anything like this before so any advice is appreciated. Would 35mm work out better than the Mamiya 645?

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    My advice to you would be to simulate the conditions, that is, go outside (at night) and light a few candles, and meter the light. Then you will see what ISO you will need to get the shutter speeds and apertures you want. I have shot at candle light with E.I 800 before, but the subject was extremely close to the candles, and it was 1/15 at f/2(ish).

    Make sure you meter the light at the correct distance from the candles (the same distance the bride and groom will be), and get used to metering in conditions like that.

    Good luck, and I hope this helps.

    André

    BTW, I'm not sure if 35mm would make much of a difference than 645, other than the emulsions that will be available to you. I *really* like tri-x 400 in Diafine, E.I 1250, which can be had in either format. Faster lenses for the 35mm would take the DOF down too much, so other than easier focusing, they wouldn't help you much.

    OTOH, if you have a 35mm rangefinder, it could help you handhold some slow shots...
     
  3. 127

    127 Member

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    As Andre sugguested try it out, but even if you think you can don't need them, I'd make sure you've got a few rolls of 3200, a tripod and a 50/1.8 lens.

    It's going to be tough - after all we don't measure light in foot-candles for nothing, and you're looking at (very approximatly) about 1.

    Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

    Ian
     
  4. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I do not shoot weddings, but have done a series of images with candle light.

    Andre's advice regarding practice first is a good one.

    I have had good luck using t films and or a tungsun to daylight filter. The latter eats up a lot of light (2-stops) and the former cant be found in neg form faster than 160.

    If she wants the warm glow (not colour corrected) you should still assume the colour temp will require altering exposure. So do experiment.

    Good luck
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    Here's an example of EPJ 320T exposed at EI 1000 and pushed two. The exposure was in the same ball-park that Andre mentioned - ie around 1/15 at f/2-ish. I metered off the noodles.
     
  6. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Mike,

    Back in my previous existence, I needed yearbook shots from a yearly ceremony of which a portion was conducted solely by candlelight. I'm thinking back at least twenty-five years or so and am a little indefinite on the details, but I recall using Royal-X Pan (nominal E. I. of 1250) in a medium format camera (probably a Mamiya Super Press 23 with an ƒ3.5 lens). My exposures were probably something like 1/30" to 1/4" at ƒ3.5 or ƒ4--handheld. Even in very small prints (2" × 3" or 3" ×4" for yearbook use) the grain was obvious. I imagine that I probably used D-76 or HC-110 as the developer. I felt lucky to get one or two negatives out of ten shot which were worth printing for my intended use. A little later, I got smart and gave up the yearbook advisor job.

    If I had a similar situation today, I'd look seriously at Delta 3200 in 35mm.

    Konical
     
  7. TPPhotog

    TPPhotog Member

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    I've done it with a model using Delta 3200 souped in DD-X. I'll have to look and see if I can find any of the prints though. I seem to remember I also blue toned them in the end just to give them some kick.