Meter for white , print for black?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ToddB, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Hey guys,

    I live in New Mexico and we get these beautiful cloud formations here in the southwest. I'm embarrassed to ask.. Is it.. "Meter for white and print for black"? or the other way around? I went out about a month agao and shot a thunderhead cloud rolling over the mountain, however it lacked contrast. Anyone have any tips. Trying to get my skill based up where is was 10 year ago. Damn digital cameras has made me forget everything.

    ToddB
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You meter for shadows, so that you get as much shadow detail you deem necessary. Bracket your exposures if you're unsure.
    Then you develop the film to get the right density in the highlights.
    Finally you print to reap the benefit of both those exercises.
     
  3. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    If you'd like to show clouds on your prints, a yellow/orange/red filter and/or a little burning-in will help.
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    What type of meters do you have?
     
  5. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Over here in the currently rain soaked UK, I was brought up on a recipe of 'Expose for the shadows and let the highlights take care of themselves'. That way you will always find detail existing in the darkest area whilst highlights can always be printed down.

    There is a modification I use now and that is to expose the film at half the rated speed and then shorten the development by a certain amount. For instance the re-manufactured Agfa APX 100 exposed at 100 ISO requires 13.5 mins for the development in Rodinal diluted 50-1. Expose the same film at 50 ISO the development n Rodinal at 1-50 is 12 mins. There is usually perfect detail in all but the very densest of shadows and the highlights are held back to make printing that little bit easier.
     
  6. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Sekonic 408

    I Have a Sekonic 408 with Spot meter option.

    ToddB
     
  7. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Ilford Delta 100

    Hi there,

    Good Info. I have had good good contrast with Ilford Delta 100 and D-76 developer at 13 minutes as compared 12 minute directed by ilford instructions. I think I was metering the wrong element in the scene. Going to Colorado next weekend and hoping there will be clouds in the high country to where I can test drive this.

    ToddB
     
  8. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    For black and white negatives:

    The classic rule of thumb: Expose for shadows, Develop for Highlights
    -As valid today as ever.

    Rule of thumb validated by image studies: The least, if it is enough, is usually the best
    -Participants were confident, additional exposure did not improve on "first excellent print"

    Controversial variations:

    Fred Picker: Place highlights on Zone VIII
    -Common objection: "that is fine unless the scene is contrasty"

    Bruce Barnhaum: Place shadows on Zone IV
    -My objection: "Zone III is more than enough"

    p.s. With your meter it cannot hurt to switch to Incident Mode and do a quick "sanity check". Also, while Incident Metering is a popular choice, I am not sure how to do incident metering for sky/cloud - that may be a limitation or a case where the spotmeter is a better mode.
     
  9. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Here is an idea.. Meter Clouds and meter shadow in foreground and split the diffence? What do you think?

    ToddB
     
  10. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    That's too easy, it doesn't involve thought... (I used to do that when I first got a spotmeter. It often worked but I always felt I was not learning anything useful about exposure).

    It's better to make up your mind what you want and expose/plan to develop to make sure you get it.
     
  11. Aron

    Aron Subscriber

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    Am I the only one who thinks this is not a metering issue? :whistling:
     
  12. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    If it is cloudy skies you are worrying about, lace the blank sky several degrees away from the sun on Zone Vi and expose.
    In other words, with your spot meter meter the sky, open up one stop (move from Zone V to VI) and make the exposure. YOU may also need to alt4er the development. the amount will depend on the film and developer combination. Use of a #12 or 15 filter will darken the sky and increase the contrast. a red, #25, will make the sky black.
     
  13. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Since you have an incident meter it's easy.

    Three methods:

    First is dome/lumisphere up/out. Stand in the same light as the subject (your clouds) point the dome toward the camera along a parallel line. If the scene is front to side lit use that reading as your camera setting.

    Second is dome/lumisphere down/in. Again in the same light as the subject. This method works well regardless of where the light is coming from. Start by pointing the meter directly at the light source, sun in your case, and take a reading. Next do as above but with the dome in and take a second reading. Average the two readings and use the result to set the camera. This is called duplexing. The reading from the source provides a highlight peg, the other reading a camera view peg. It's a way to find best balance, it retains good highlights and mid tones with little loss in the shadows.

    Third is dome in and just point the meter at the source and use that reading. If the clouds are the only subject in the scene that really matters this reading will keep you from blowing any highlights.

    Whatever metering method you use, be sure to measure what's most important to you and make sure it's placement makes sense.
     
  14. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Thanks for the input. Going with metering shadows.

    ToddB
     
  15. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    You learned a lot about smoke and mirrors, which is to say that most instructions about spot metering are absolute BS.

    Take an incident reading correctly and use what the meter tells you, unless there's something quite unusual about the scene.

    If you have an unusual situation, spot meter the important areas and make adjustments to the exposure if needed.

    - Leigh
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2012
  16. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I routinely use a spotmeter, so meter for anything relevant, which in the case of bright clouds and
    deep shadows in the same scene, means metering both! But after awhile it gets almost instinctive.
     
  17. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Hey guys, Thanks for all your help. I've been out of this for sometime and digital has made very lazy.

    ToddB
     
  18. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Pre-Flash Film

    Here in Florida the landscapes are often most attractive due to cloud formations ( see Clyde Butcher images). If we spotmeter for the shadows and then use N- development, some of the middle tones and highlights may not print easily. For some of the images in Barry Thorton's "Elements" book, he metered for the highlights, then pre-flashed the film before exposing normally (used a white diffuser filter for pre-flash). Ralph Lambtechth has an entire chapter on pre-flashing film in his book "Way Beyond Monochrome" ( he calls it pre-exposure). Ralph recommends the use of ExpoDisc which is also used by digital photogs for white balance setting. Could prove a useful solution for landscape challenges in New Mexico.
     
  19. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I do the same thing. I reduce development by about 20%.

    When I got back into film I read lots of articles about film testing and finding your personal film speed. The conclusion to most of these was halve the speed and reduce development. So rather than go through all the tests myself, I just went straight to the conclusion, tried it, liked it and carried on doing it.


    Steve.
     
  20. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Below was taken from Expodisc filter.
    Adjust the exposure settings to provide for “normal” exposure, and then​
    increase the aperture number or shutter speed setting by four full stops.

    Increase? Example.. Metering at 125 at F8 for optimal. It says increase four full stops? Are we talking 125 at f32 or the other direction?

    I also read that people are using a simple styrene cup to flash.
     
  21. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    For preflashing you want to hit the film with very little light.

    125 at f32
     
  22. ToddB

    ToddB Member

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    Yes..

    It's all coming back to me. Thanks.

    ToddB
     
  23. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    The advantage of pre-exposure (pre-flash) over control thru development is the highlight and midtone values are minimally changed while the lower values/shadows have reduced contrast. As Ralph Lambrecht says, this enables easier printing on graded papers. His example of how to use is once you have an overall meter setting for a scene (a Zone V), then reduce by 4 stops and expose for a zone I thru the disc. Then expose normally.