Night shots

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by AndrewH, May 26, 2004.

  1. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

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    Any suggestions for a good film/developer combo for someone who likes taking city shots at night? the best I have done thus far is Tri-X in MicrodolX 1:3, which is "ok". I have some Acros for reciprocity reasons...I want to mitigate the star effect of the lights as much as I can...
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    You might try a compensating developer like D-23 or Diafine to keep the highlight densities from blowing out so bad. The star effect is going to be hard to get rid of, it's partly due to the lens too. A lens with more blades on the aperture tends to make a rounder hole and is less prone to the star.
     
  3. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member

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    I have had my best luck with T-max iso100 in t-max-RS. T-max 100 has great reciprocity characteristics. I believe the stars are caused by the aperture blades of the lens. I like the contrast of nightshots which for me plays right into T-max's strengths. I should caution you, that I am not a big b&w shooter. I do shoot a lot at night and at dusk, but mostly with colour film.
     
  4. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

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    Actually I know the "stars" you are talking of, but I think that the word "stars" was the wrong wrok to use. I think what happens more often than not is local over-exposure from streetlights and the like. It is almost like flare, but isn't flare. I noticed that someone on contaxg.com shoots xp2+ and at night he doesn't get the effect. I was hoping to get something along those lines. I have tried Diafine and it was also "ok"; but not great.
     
  5. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council

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    ______________________________________________________

    You might try this link:

    http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/moonlight.html

    There is a lot of info on night photography.
     
  6. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

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    I use TX @1250 in Diafine. Nice combo.

    I had posted some photos in the old gallery, but with the new site they are gone.

    Jorge O
     
  7. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Try Nocturnes for a wealth of information on night photography. I've made very few successful night images, but I keep trying. Best times seem to be very early in morning - few people around.
     
  8. Josef Guay

    Josef Guay Subscriber

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    I have had good success with night shots using T-Max 100 developed in PMK. The negatives are fairly easy to print. I also found a lens hood to be very helpfull in preventing flare from stray light.
     
  9. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    I have done many night and low light photographs in the past - not so many lately. I used TRI-X or HP5+ developed in split D23 (or similar compensating) developer. The obvious problem is the high contrast usually encountered. The "star" effect can be unavoidable due to the specular quality of unfiltered light filaments of street lights, headlights, et c.

    Reciprocity can be a significant problem. My solution was to do a seat-of-the-pants estimate, multiply the time by up to 10 or just open the shutter and drink a soda(?). Hope this helps.
     
  10. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    I have had good luck with Acros and Perceptol 1+3. Good reciprocity characteristics, very nice handling of highlights (can"almost" read the text on some of the light bulbs in one scene!).

    35mm, dev. in Perceptol 1+3 for 13 min. at 23 degrees C. Agitation 5 sec. every minute after 30 sec. initial agitation. (no presoak).

    Dave
     
  11. fred

    fred Member

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  12. Roger Krueger

    Roger Krueger Member

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    Star-stopper

    The only way to get rid of "stars" around blown-out highlights is to have an aperture without overlapping leaves--either a waterhouse stop or a lens used wide open (although a few lenses still have blades exposed even wide open.)

    This is one of the reasons I like my Mamiya 50/6.3 on 6x9 so much for night work--it's so slow (and wide) that you actually have a lot of DOF wide open, and it's certainly sharp wide open as well. If only it were multi-coated....
     
  13. tbm

    tbm Member

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    Your Microdol-X soup should be at 75 degrees, not 68, when diluted 1:3. This is per Stephen Anchell and Bill Troop's book, wherein they recommend processing it for 13 minutes at this ratio and this temperature. A pro photographer I know told me to develop it for 18, not 13, minutes based on these factors. His full statement is as follows:

    "For some time I searched for a developer for Tri-X film that was soft enough in the highlights so that they didn't block with full development. The old standby, D-76, even in its diluted form, blocked the highlights more than I wanted. I found my softer developer in Microdol-X about twenty years ago. With Tri-X I use it diluted 1:3 for the additional compensating action in the shadow areas. My development times are long, usually 18 minutes at 74 degrees, but I get a full ISO 400 and the negatives will show detail in brilliant snow or in a burned-in overexposed flash foreground light on down to the proverbial black cat in coalbin shadows."

    I have gotten beautiful results with his recommendation above with my Leica lenses. I highly suggest you try this development technique, too. Remember, though, that the star effect you mention can be partly produced by the lenses you use--the quality of their glass and coatings. My Leica lenses do not produce flare at all. Whose lenses have you been using?
     
  14. john_s

    john_s Member

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    Theoretically PMK (or Pyrocat-HD) should minimise halo because of the gelatin hardening effect. I have used PMK for church interiors including grossly overexposed windows, and found quite good detail retained in the window area. This was with TMax 400 in 35mm.
     
  15. Magic Rat

    Magic Rat Member

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    Andrew Sanderson wrote a good book appropriately called Night Photography. Mainly using various B&W films and formats. It's a great how-to book which includes information on exposure/development to printing. Dealing with any lighting issue you'll find out there. The hip tools are the charts of relative exposure times.
    Cheers
    The Rat
     
  16. Roger Krueger

    Roger Krueger Member

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    tbm: Are you saying that Leica lenses, used stopped down, will not produce "stars" from blown-out in-scene light sources? I have some difficulty believing this.

    If coating deficiencies were to blame for "stars" I wouldn't be able to suppress them so easily by shooting my single-coated old Mamiyas wide open. Flare is most assuredly coating (and surface count) related, but that's not what's under discussion--"stars" are. They can't be fixed with good coating, good film, good developer or even a shamrock in your pocket. They're an aperture phenomenon, period.
     
  17. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I like to shoot Ilford Delta 3200 at night. Also handheld for blurry and weird shots. It's grainy nature is NICE and moody for nightshots.

    Morten