Recording exposure

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by Eising, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. Eising

    Eising Member

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    Hi there.

    I'm a bit sloppy when it comes to recording the exposure details of my photos.
    Ansel Adams has a sheet you can use for exposure, but it's very focused on the zone system and it's also very focused on large format. I do not practice the zone system myself, and I shoot medium format, so it doesn't fit very well together with my work flow.

    How do you people record your exposure information?
     
  2. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    When i do (and i don't do very often) in a little notebook.
     
  3. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I use a little Olympus pocket hard disc voice recorder and write it down when I get home
     
  4. Eising

    Eising Member

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    What details do you write down?
     
  5. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    I went on-line to one of those custom rubber stamp outfits and had one done to include; location, holder#. lens/F-length, shutter speed, f-stop, film type, etc. and had it sized to fit on a 3x5 index card. Next stop was an OfficeMax, picked up a pad of perforated index cards and stamped the pages/cards on the reverse, blank side. After processing the negative the card goes in an adjacent slot in the print file page. Cuts storage capacity in half, but I can always recall the details of the shot.
     
  6. Eising

    Eising Member

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    That is such a great idea, in fact I think I will copy that idea.
     
  7. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    It depends on why i want to record details. I don't record anything when i don't do anything out of the ordinary.
    Sometimes i record just the aperture and shutterspeed. Sometimes what lens was used. Sometimes the amount i (for whatever reason) deviated from what the meter said. Sometimes details about the subject. Or any combination of these.
     
  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I make a mental note at the time then forget it a few minutes later.


    Steve.
     
  9. Eising

    Eising Member

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    I have also been using this method quite successfully. I always manage to both make the mental note and forget it a few moments later.
     
  10. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    A slightly related question: For those of you who do make good notes of exposure, do you actually use that information at a later date? The only reason I can think of for retaining the data is to publish it when posting an image e.g. in the galleries here.


    Steve.
     
  11. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    I used to number the rolls of exposed film as soon as they came out of the camera.
    Then hand them all over to the lab, who of course tossed the backing paper with the numbers on them.
    Took me a (very short) while to realize how little purpose that served, and stopped the silly practice. :D
     
  12. Eising

    Eising Member

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    That's one of my problems as well. My lab throws stuff like that away, and the alternative is to write on the film in total dark while loading it, and that's probably not going to be very practical. So I assume, if I do this, my exposure notes should indicate some sort of description of the scene I'm doing (or waste a frame by photographing a serial number).
     
  13. JDP

    JDP Member

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    If I shoot with a camera with a built in meter I tend not to record exposure. If it does not I generally do. Don't ask why! I record a description, conditions, exposure, lens, and focus, as well as film and ISO rating. I find it very useful to go back to these notes and check them at times. In particular for night exposures and sunsets, which I can find quite tricky.
     
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  15. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    I use B&W film (medium and large format). I only keep a record when I purposely over or under expose. Since I am using available light ifif and when retuning to a location at another time the lighting will probably be different.

    Jeff

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com
     
  16. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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    " to recording the exposure details of my photos." I don't.

    That has been a weakness of mine and, come to think of it, I view it as a strength as well.. Hurry up, get it done. My plate was always too full!

    However, when I was only film based, there is this thing called latitude and I realized that at each step there is built in latitude. And, at least in my mind, photography isn't an exact science. You spoke of one variable, light outdoors that has multiple variables, from time of day to time of the year, cloud cover, altitude and so on. Perhaps that's how I justify my lack of records relative to exposure! However, with studio photography, things are more controlled and I usually kept records, especially at the beginning when I first started out. But I also relied on a Polaroid back to determine things! And there are variables during developing and printing as well!

    Now with the other method of capture this information is recorded for each photograph I make. I rarely use it. Sorry, I guess I'm not a good boy!

    At any rate, I wanted a certain look with my photography. And I find it changes with how I see things and with each session I do. I really pay attention to lighting, posing, composition and rapport with my clients.

    Hope this rambling helps you!
     
  17. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Since I only rarely actually meter the light, there's not too much I can write down. Sometimes I make a mental note if the scene was very high contrast, and I also usually forget it a few minutes later.

    I've been gravitating toward just using a standard development routine on all my film. The more stuff is standardized, the less I have to note. In 35mm recently it's always been Neopan 400 in Rodinal 1:50 at 20C for 8 minutes, unless it was very dim, then I want to use Xtol to get more shadow speed, or if it was really sunny I might use D23 if I'm worried about my highlights...so, yeah. I should take notes.
     
  18. Eising

    Eising Member

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    Thank you for your ramblings, Bill, I appreciate them.

    I must admit I am a bit unclear myself of the actual purpose of the exposure records. They are nice to have, most definitively, but if I don't get a lab process my film, I just write the effective ISO on the paper around the film, and that's it. I am probably too used to EXIF on digital pictures, and want to have similar information available for my analog photography. That said, I am not very good with a light meter, so for my Mamiya C-kit, recording exposure would probably be wise, as I have been mislead before by my meter.
     
  19. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I carry a small spiral notebook and record frame number, subject, aperture, shutter speed and filter. And depending on what I'm doing, I may record a meter reading. For my medium format stuff it works well to dedicate a page to each roll. I admit to sometimes getting absorbed in the camera work and forgetting to write something in. I do sometimes look at this information, especially when trying a new film. Like say, the Rollei IR 400 I went thru last week. I have been transcribing this data into spreadsheet pages, one per roll, which are indexed by subject and film type from pages in the front I find it helpful from time to time, but I suppose I also have mild OCD! :D
     
  20. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    When I process a film I always write the camera and lens details, the location and date, the film used and the EI it was used at and the developer details including time.

    I have no idea why as I have never refered to any of this data!


    Steve.
     
  21. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    <>

    My LF photography is porbably my only exception to the hither-and-yon approach I generally use with the Minoltas. 4x5, I keep meticulous notes on every negative down to the number of insect bites during. Well, maybe not THAT meticulously.
     
  22. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    When I did commercial work shooting 4x5 chrome film, I made notes on exposure. It's handy for pushing or pulling film. I rarely record my exposure. When I shoot B&W sheet film, I sometime make notations on how to process the film. For example I'll make a note of "N" for normal or N+1 to push the film. I also put the exposure index on the tape also. I always put tape on my film holders noting the type of film inside the holder. After shooting the film and reversing the dark slide, I tape the slide to prevent accidental opening of the holder.
     
  23. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    While I setup/compose a shot, I use a notebook to record pertinant information such as working title, lens, film, EV, aperture, filter/bellows compensation, push/pull, and time. I also write the same information on label on each holder. (after I take the shot) When I process the film, I transfer the label from the holder to my processing notebook. (for colour work for the lab, I stick the labels on the box so I know what it is that I'm taking in.) It sounds like a lot of work, but it is acutally very quick, and the information is a valuable reference for future work.
    Cheers,
     
  24. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

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    I used to wrrite down everything. Film type, f stop, shutter speed, filter, and lens. What I ended up with was a note book full of information that I never used again. These days, since I almost always use the "sunny 16" rule, it all seems (to me at least) kind of pointless to record the exposure info. Personally I would rather shoot than write. Oh, and the voice recorder thing, I get enough "this guys out to lunch" looks as is when out with one of my classic shooters. So talking to no one imparticular may land me in a rubber room.
     
  25. Eising

    Eising Member

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    This discussion is very interesting. It seems we have three kinds of people here so far:
    - Those who do not write anything down
    - Those who record their exposure information with great detail and seem to benefit from this
    - Those who used to record their exposure information but didn't find it useful.

    Interesting. Please, keep sharing your thoughts about this, it's all very insightful to me.
     
  26. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    When travelling, it can be really useful to record info (which cathedral was that?:smile:).

    If you are using something unusual, or testing for future use, recorded exposure information can be really helpful.

    In 35mm, if I am going to shoot multiple rolls, from time to time I'll shoot the first frame of a card that identifies the date and film. In 120, that would decrease the film available by between 1/15 to 1/10, although it would solve the 6x7 negative dilemma (the negative preserver sheets only hold 9).