Monochromatic color:the good,the bad,the ugly

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by jim kirk jr., Oct 22, 2005.

  1. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    As a mainly B&W film user I always am looking through the lens and the filter to see how the image I'm composing will look in B&W.I have noticed every so often that when looking through a filter(usually red)that the scene seems as though it would have an impact on color film,especially if shot through the color filter.Is this something worth exploring-or is it rather like color IR with only limited asthetic appeal?Has anyone tried this and liked the results and if so would you compose the image as you would for B&W as in reality you'd be dealing with tonality through a color scale?The question came into my mind yesterday when I was looking at a rose on a friends kitchen table and could somehow see the whole scene as a "red" image-I was also going under the assumption that anything black would also translate as black in the final image as well.So what am i looking at here idea wise;good,bad or just downright ugly?

    Jim
     
  2. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    In colour neg film red has the least contrast of all channels, so the red filter idea may not be the best choice. It is also very easy to shoot the image unfiltered and add the filtration at the print stage. This will have more or less the same effect with some added bonuses. By exposing the film normally you will expose all layers. This gives you more detail, contrast and less grain. If you so decide you can make a variety of filtered images from the same neg (cyan, red, blue, violet, etc...) as well as a normal print.
     
  3. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I'm not sure what you mean here, and therefore can't go on to comment on the rest of the post very well, but basically all 3 layers (channels) in a color film have the same contrast.

    In color neg, this is about 0.6 for a professional film.

    If the contrast of any layer is not the same as the others, then crossover results.

    Filters therefore should have equivalent contrast effects, but visually they do not due to the sensitivity of the human eye (perception) and the amount of a given color content in an average scene. For example, there is little red in a noon time sky. Here, I would agree that red contrast is low.

    The contrast of a layer can also appear to vary with illuminant, and therefore the variation from tungsten to daylight may appear to be quite different. Even so, the RGB contrasts of daylight and tungsten negative films are all pegged at about 0.6 again. It is a matter of perception by the human eye.

    The same effects can be projected into B&W imaging bringing about percieved differences in color object contrast. This is, of course, not true with orthochromatic or monochromatic B&W materials, nor is it true with IR and UV photography. We cannot truly form an objective opinion of light we cannot see. We have to just accept what the film shows us. And the film cannot form a 'real' image of light it cannot see, and so we have to accept the limitations of the film.

    PE
     
  4. jim kirk jr.

    jim kirk jr. Member

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    Thanks for the responses.
     
  5. psvensson

    psvensson Member

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    It sounds like you might want to try printing b&w negs on color paper with the filter packs way out there. For instance, you could probably easily get an image that goes from black to white via deep red by maxing out the cyan in the filter pack. You could do this in a home darkroom with tray processing using room-temperature color chemicals.

    Or, you might want to try b&w film, b&w paper and toners that produce intense color, though I'm not sure which ones to use.