How would you meter this scene ?

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by bascom49, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. bascom49

    bascom49 Subscriber

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    This weekend I decided to spend time learning how to use my 4 x 5 camera.
    Saturday I scouted out an interesting scene that I could return to for repeat exposures, loaded my film holders, and went through a few dry runs setting up my camera.

    This morning I made my first exposures.

    This afternoon I will develop the film make contact prints and reshoot tomorrow morning based on what I learn today.

    So, given the following, how would you meter this scene ?
    What developer would you use at what development time as a starting point ?

    Equipment:
    4x5 Cambo
    Schneider 165 mm super angulon
    HP5+ @ EI 400
    Soligor 1 degree spot meter

    Jobo processor on reel

    Time and developer to be determined.

    Early morning East facing scene

    Spot Meter Readings:
    Upper left corner of building 18
    Back Wall with graffiti 15
    Sky 17



    Chosen apeture f32

    Shutter speed determination:
    Chosen shutter speed placing back wall on zone IV 1/60
    Upper left corner falls on zone VII
    Hopefully shadow areas fall in the range of zone II
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I would stand at the position of the chair, hold my palm facing the camera and spotmeter it and tentatively "place" that on Zone VI.

    Because foliage is tricky, I would disregard (or interpret) any meter readings off the shrubs. You didn't say, but you obviously ignored them too.

    I might have allowed the Upper left corner to fall a bit higher since it would look good on print at VIII. This would favor the shadows.

    And I often use 400 speed film at lower EI, so that would have suggested more exposure to me.

    So I think I might have given 2/3 to 1 stop more than you gave.
     
  3. bascom49

    bascom49 Subscriber

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    Thanks Bill.
    As luck would have it I shot the second sheet at 1/25.

    Any advice on developer and time ?
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    So essentially you'd incident meter. :wink: Me too.

    Given the tools at hand if this was a critical shot I'd set the meter to 400, walk into the shade in the building to take a reading with my hand pointed at the camera.

    At the chair I'd point my hand directly at the sun and then take a reading while pointing the meter directly at my hand, disregarding the camera position.

    I'd average those two readings and do the math to "open up" 1-stop to get my camera setting.

    Other than Bill's EI adjustment, in this situation I think Bill and I would find very close to the same settings.

    I'd develop in DD-X per Ilford's instructions for HP5 at 400.
     
  5. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    BTW the big reason for me to use DD-X per the instructions is that it is my standard developer and my standard process. What I'm saying is that I would not adjust away from my normal process.

    What's your normal developer and normal process bascom49?

    Do you print on fixed grade paper or variable?
     
  6. bascom49

    bascom49 Subscriber

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    I usually shoot Tmax 100 and 400 medium format and develop with Xtol using tanks and reels .

    I print on Ilford VC warm tone With a 2 1/2 filter
    for contact sheets I print On Ilford VC glossy
     
  7. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I would just take an incidental light reading from the subject position,and not overcomplicate things, The Zone System is more suitable for monochrome photography.
     
  8. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Meter a 18% Gray card.
     
  9. bascom49

    bascom49 Subscriber

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    I may have not clarified, this will be a black and white process.
     
  10. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    You haven't said how you're printing yet; fixed grade, variable grade, scan?

    The reason that question is important is that adjustments to film development, away from normal, are only important in relation to your printing process.

    If you are targeting a specific paper grade, yes it makes a real difference, if not; then if you really want a good answer we need to know exactly why you would want to adjust the film's contrast.

    For example, I use VC paper and prefer a normal contrast rate negative regardless of the measured scene contrast, if I need to adjust contrast I do it by adjusting the paper contrast, if I need more shadow or highlight detail, I dodge or burn.

    In my world VC paper is the norm, changing my film contrast rate gets me no advantage, in fact it generally makes printing harder for me. In Ansel Adam's world, fixed grade papers were the norm, adjusting film contrast made printing to his fixed grade paper easier.

    If you are having a lab scan it, normal film development is a great place to start. If your working with a highly skilled lab and they tell you they can do a better job if you change, then change. I'd bet though that normal will work just fine for almost any lab.

    XTol will work fine with HP5 and is a great choice since you have it and are already familiar with it. No need to buy anything else.

    Do you shoot your TMax films at 100 and 400 respectively? Do you develop them per Kodak's instructions or ... ? I ask because you can transfer you prefs from these films to HP5, if you like to shoot TMax 400 at 320, do the same as a starting point for HP5. Same idea with developing.
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    You said you were using HP5... :D
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Oops, I'm blind I guess.
     
  13. bascom49

    bascom49 Subscriber

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    I print on Ilford VC warm tone With a 2 1/2 filter.
    for contact sheets I print On Ilford VC glossy with a 2 1/2 filter.

    My enlarger is 5x7 Durst 138.

    Thanks to all for the comments so far.
     
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  15. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    You'll be fine bascom49, good advice from markbarendt so I don't need to add...

    If you had framed the shot where the main interest was inside the back room behind the wall with graffiti... Then you might be looking at a scene with greater range that might need compensating developing. There are some good threads about that.

    But I don't think, with the shot as you show, that there is anything in that far-back room that you care to reveal.

    So treat it normally and you should be fine.

    If you find that the shot at 1/25 second is a "better" negative, I would recommend lowering your EI to agree with what gave you a good negative.
     
  16. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I'd use an averaging view meter that was calibrated so it produced negatives with 0.1 log d density four stops below the indicated reading. For a typical "picture of a building" as we have here, that approach has saved years of my life that would have been devoted to 'zone guessing' and procuring fiddly spot meter readings.
     
  17. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    I'd meter the shadow area in the bushes, or the darkest shadows in the recesses of the building interior, and consider that to be Zone III. Then I'd meter the white front wall of the building and see how close that comes to falling on Zone VIII. I'd set the camera to the equivalent of Zone V, and shoot. If the building front falls at about Zone VII/VIII, then I'd develop normally. If it falls at about Zone IX or so, then I'd pull development a bit, depending on how far off VIII it is.
     
  18. Doc W

    Doc W Subscriber

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    I would do pretty much the same as Terry, with a few additions:
    - shoot HP5 at 250
    - meter the darkest shadows of the interior, particularly the very dark door (I think) in the back wall and place that on Zone III (darkest area with shadow detail)
    - meter the white front and see where it falls and develop accordingly, bringing it down a little if it is into Zone IX

    As for developer and time, normally you have to do some tests in advance in order to control contrast.

    We will want to see the final print!
     
  19. selmslie

    selmslie Subscriber

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    The answer is staring you in the face: you already took a digital image of the scene. Check the exposure information for that image. To simplify your calculations, set the ISO on the digital camera to the same value as the film.

    A digital rendition will actually have less latitude than the B&W negative you are planning to use. If you can see the shadow detail you want and the highlights are not blown out, your exposure can be the same as the digital exposure.
     
  20. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    One thing I would do in metering is walk up close even with the spot meter. I am guessing the soligor is somewhat affected by ambient light as I know my digital Pentax is. I would have walked up and metered the wall inside with the graffiti and hoped I could get it to fall in a high zone 3. then I would have metered the white outside and put it in a high zone 7 to see where everything falls. I wouldn't have worried about any of the middle tones.
    Dennis
     
  21. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    A digital shot, can provide a good reference, just depends on what "metering tool" someone wants to carry/use and also having tested/calibrated the reading all the way to the print. iPhone metering apps can do the same thing and show the readings in real time and allow one to pick the "spot" to meter.

    As to digital having less latitude, at one point in history that was generally true, not so much any more. (For details on why and how, those interested will need to research elsewhere.)
     
  22. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Hi Dennis,

    I am pretty sure that flare causes the higher shadow reading in the spotmeter used at camera position. Film would be subject to flare, and the optics of camera and lightmeter are "similar" enough that you can use the reading from camera position.

    If you cancel out the flare by walking up close (not saying that's a bad thing to do)... Then you should think about flare in your exposure calculation.

    High Zone III is a good idea. I just re-read a post by Ralph Lambrecht. He was amazed how much his negatives improved after he followed John Sexton's suggestion to place shadows on Zone IV.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/viewpost.php?p=1110251

    (But don't do too many changes at once without thinking how they interact... I believe the original advice to place shadows on Zone II that you don't hear much anymore, came from a time when spotmeters were not available, and the shadow readings were taken with a Weston Master II by walking up to the shadow exactly as you describe).
     
  23. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Bill is absolutely right that we really need to think about the effects of each change we make in the context of the situation, the difference between metering from the camera or at the subject can be significant.

    Ralph is absolutely right about shadow placement, in that with a spot meter, it is a guess. This is true because a zone is a range of tones not one tone. The high end of zone III and low end of zone IV are almost indistinguishable.

    IMO the improvement Ralph saw in his negatives was probably that the zone IV camera exposure placement made it easier "for him" to print what mattered most "to him" and factored in all of "his" gear and "his" style and "his" eye.

    There are three concepts to remember here:

    1-is that, our gear, our eye, our subjects, our style, et cetera... are different than Ralph's. All those differences affect what works best for the rest of us. We each need to test our whole system and see what works best for us and come up with our own EI.

    2-is that we can factor in anything we please into our personal EI. The placement change Ralph speaks of can be factored in by changing the EI we dial into our meter. Use 200 instead of 400 for example to affect the same change.

    3-is that most all the guess work is eliminated when you use a known target to meter from, like Bill suggested above by metering off his hand. This is a practical equivalent of incident metering.
     
  24. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    I prefer to know what the reading is without flare. I have also made a snoot for my spot meter. I think probably my lenses handle flare better than my spot meter lens.

    And as to an incident meter taking out the guess work... the reason I use a spot meter is that an incident meter requires guess work. That said though, if you aren't sure of what you are doing with a spot meter there will be of course guess work.

    Dennis
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i wouldn't have metered it with an electronic meter at all
    but with my internal meter.

    i'd have done sunny 16 and and it would have given me
    around the same exposure as you did .. maybe i would have over exposed half a stop
    and then over developed by maybe 30 seconds in sprint film developer ...

    good luck with your processing
    john
     
  26. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The thing a spot meter does very well, for those who are experienced with it, is tie a specific point in the scene to a specific point on the characteristic curve.

    It is a truly useful tool and that tie is a good way of thinking, but it is also subjective unless you know what to expect from your target.

    Bill's hand, a grey card, new jeans, faded jeans, your camera bag; any target that you know the offset to will work fine. Used with a known target, by a skilled person, spot meters are every bit as objective as incident meters are.

    Incident meters are really good at measuring the light that is falling on a subject/scene. If we know how much light is falling on the scene we can know exactly how the subjects we see are going fall on the film. The offset works exactly the same way as if we had put known target at the same point.

    What neither a reflective meter or an incident meter know is what they just took a reading of.