Just a bit of provocation...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Alessandro Serrao, May 22, 2009.

  1. Alessandro Serrao

    Alessandro Serrao Member

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    How many "test rolls" get "wasted" in testing subtleties than don't make almost any difference in picture quality?

    In other words, sometimes I feel there's an unnecessary waste of film for the sake of trying weird things out...
    Am i wrong?
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Well, some testing avoids waste in the future by testing the film's working speed with the user's developer and the film's contrast range at different times, so in that case, I would say that testing avoids waste.

    Testing slide for color balance in a studio situation or other situation where the color temperature of the light is relatively consistent also avoids waste, because then one can filter in advance and have slides that are spot on.

    Testing for reciprocity failure is another way of avoiding waste, if one is going to make long exposures a habit.

    Some testing may not avoid waste in such an obvious way, like testing one developer against another, but if it leads to knowledge about developers and helps to hone one's eye to subtle differences, then I would consider that a worthwhile investment of time and materials.
     
  3. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Sometimes it takes no testing. The first time I tried APX 100 in Pyrocat HD I looked up the times of the MDC and it was spot on! I've never had to change a thing.

    Or, what David says.
     
  4. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I guess it's not really a "waste" even if all you learn is that the difference wasn't important---you now have that information and can stop worrying about it. And of course you can always find you got a good photo in the course of testing things; no one says you have to choose boring subjects for testing.

    But, yes, I do think people get obsessed with minute technical issues, many of which are probably invisible at the end of the day. There might be more good photos in the world if people paid more attention to composition and light, and less to test charts.

    But, hell---if I think there aren't enough good photos in the world, I suppose I should go out and try to make more, rather than telling other people they're doing it wrong.

    Personally, I just enjoy trying weird things out, so I don't see it as a waste in my case. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, and anyway I had fun trying. Look at it this way---I'm helping the rest of you by keeping up the demand for film! :smile:

    -NT
     
  5. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    It depends (doesn’t it always :rolleyes:smile:

    If you are testing with a definite objective – say actual film speed of Film X with Developer Y – which you intend to use in the future - then no its not a waste – as it saves film by avoiding the need to bracket exposures endlessly in the field.

    On the other hand, there are some photographers who never seem to settle on anything (film, film dev, paper, paper finish,,,,,,) and seem to be caught in a never ending loop of assessment at the expense of taking meaningful photographs.

    So it depends on into which camp you fall :wink:

    Martin
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    If photography is a hobby, pass-time, or pleasure in and of itself, there is no way to "waste" film; success, failure, cost, & profit, in any technical or business sense, are irrelevant.

    If photography is a business then the business plan would set the standard for waste vs productive activity.
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Spoken like someone who has never yet forgotten to put the darkslide back in!

    Just wait, your turn will come... :smile:

    -NT
     
  8. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    It's not the darkslide that gets me in the end.
    After getting up before the sun, driving to the site, lugging the backpack to the photo, finding the photo, setting it up, waiting for the moment, taking the photo, packing it up, driving home, mixing the chemicals, finding the right CD I'm ready to turn off the darkroom lights. As soon as I turn off the light I drop the sheet of film on the floor and it falls under the table or the sink or the enlarger and I can't find it in the dark, unless I'm already standing on the sheet.
    Rinse and repeat.

    -Rob
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    A bad day of photography is better than a great day at work.
     
  10. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    it depends on the amount of film you buy. If you choose to buy (invest?) in a large quantity of sheet film from the same emulsion batch, then testing would be a good thing and an overall time saver. If you only buy sheet film in 25 sheet boxes, you don't have enough film or time to test at all.
     
  11. Kvistgaard

    Kvistgaard Member

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    Well put! I will print that and stick it to my cubicle wall at work!
     
  12. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    AS some alluded to above, some of us are "photo hobbyists" first and foremost, and the joy of messing around with cameras and film and developers and tanks and paper is the most important part of our hobby. The fact that we get a few prints to show our friends is a sidelight. I have a framed picture of the Rideau Canal in winter at my front door. It was shot on Eastman 5247, without an 85 filter, developed in home brew C-41 developer, and printed on AGFA ep-2 Paper using re-mixed C-41 chemicals. I did that print because the last frame on the roll had gotten some scratches on the base and I wanted to see how visible they were.

    Turned out the scratches look a bit like driven snow, and complemented the Ice in the Canal, which was just freezing that day and so had no skaters on it. The whole picture looks forlorn and gloomy, and when i looked at it the next day, I decided to get it a frame.

    I am probably an extreme case!

    For anyone who is doing photography as a profession, doing sufficient testing to be able to predict how your normal material will react to various conditions is the difference between a profitable assignment and an expensive and embarrassing re-shoot.