Snow picture development

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by neville, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. neville

    neville Member

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    I've taken quite a lot of pictures using HP5 and FP4 in the lats couple of days, exposing at EI200 and 64 respectively. It has been snowing heavily, with poor light, so that the exposure range is only 3-4 stops. Which developer do you recommend I use?
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    To begin, I don't follow your reasoning on how you rated the films. You seem to have done the exact opposite in each regard. (underrating HP5 and overrating FP4). That being said, a lot depends on your actual exposures of the snow luminence value. I guess at this juncture, you could use any film developer. You may have already "shot yourself in the foot" with the way that you exposed the film.
     
  3. Andy K

    Andy K Member

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    I have two recent shots in my gallery, 'Tree' and 'Snoowmaan!!' one shot with HP5+ at 200ASA, one with FP4 shot at 125ASA. Both were developed in Rodinal 1+50, the HP5 for 15 minutes, the FP4 for 18 minutes. Take a look and judge for yourself if they came out ok.
     
  4. John Bartley

    John Bartley Member

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    Hmmm. I thought FP4 was 125asa which would give him exactly one stop of overexpose on both?

    cheers
     
  5. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    Dear Neville,

    Develop normally in your favorite developer. One stop will only move things up the curve a bit. If you only had 3-4 stops range, both films will work without problem.

    Neal Wydra
     
  6. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    My error...I read EI200 as 1200
     
  7. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Sounds to me like you're ok. Negative films have lots of LAAAATITUDE and you may have just exposed them at the perfect EI. When a film maker puts an ISO on a box, it is based on exposing for the shadows and to reach a certain contrast level. It does not mean that you have to expose the film at that speed. Very often people will "overexpose" the film just as you did to get the results that they want.

    Process your film as you normally would; the film should take it nicely, especially with snow in your scenes.

    Let us know how they turn out. Good luck!
     
  8. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    Your setting the Hp5 at 200 sounds as though you may have a slight over exposure, but maybe not. At any rate, I would develop for twice the “normal” time. This should give a 2-stop expansion to your 3-stop exposure. I’ve done this successfully several times.
     
  9. neville

    neville Member

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    Thanks Jim, I'm going to process them in Rodinol tonight so I'll let you know how they turn out.
     
  10. neville

    neville Member

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    Thanks Andy, I've had a look at your gallery and the snoe pics look fine to me, and it's given me confidence to process them now.
     
  11. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    He overespoxed by 1 stop, shouldn;t he CUT the dev time instead of doubling it?
    I'd cut the time in 25%

     
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Yeah really! He's downrated both films resulting in what could be considered an overexposure. Given that, he did exactly the correct thing. One of the prime "rules of thumb," if you will, is to allow a bit of overexposure for snow scenes. In some cases up to 2 stop of over exposure works well. Unless you are using a very precise spot meter, all the white in the scene will fool the meter. The snow get an exposure that will deliver something approximating middle grey and the subject matter winds up under exposed. Develop the film normally and you should be ok. If you are using a spot meter, the extra stop won't matter worth a darn.
     
  13. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    It's pretty hard to overdevelop HP5+ in Rodinal. I think the best you might do is get more grain. The maximum contrast index you can expect to get with HP5+ and Rodinal is about 0.65, less with 1+50 dilution.

    The SBR should be narrow in a snow picture. You don't want the shadows to be really black. There is no point in printing a low contrast scene to make it "fit" the paper. Print it to look like the original scene. Print for the highlights instead of the shadows, so that you have a good white with a little texture.
     
  14. Daniel Grenier

    Daniel Grenier Member

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    Actually, you may well have underexposed your snow. That is, if you metered the snow directly going with your meter's "suggested" exposure, you now have a Zone VI snow rather than VIII (or more). Reading snow directly will inevitably give you a Zone V value (you had cut your ISO in half hence, your Zone VI). If such is the case, you now need to overdevelop your neg to N+2 or so.

    Rendering snow to look and feel like snow is (to me) the most difficult subject to correctly nail down. There line between "real" looking snow and getting that awful gray is really small. Good luck with it.
     
  15. Maine-iac

    Maine-iac Member

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    I agree; your exposures are more-or-less "normal" for those films. Given the lighting conditions I would give at least an N+1 development or possibly N+2 to raise the highlight values, leaving the shadows relatively unaffected. Then you can further adjust contrast if necessary with different paper grades/contrast filters.

    Larry
     
  16. neville

    neville Member

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    finished developing

    Thanks for all comments. I exposed with a general meter reading, rather than reading off the snow. I used a reading like this because it was snowing heavily and contrast was very low. I overexposed by one stop because I wanted some detail in shadows, even though they were fairly well lit by all the snow round about. That was my reasoning for exposing by one stop both films. In the end, I developed as normal using Rodinal with bothe the HP5 and the FP4, and I got wquite good results - perhaps a little dense and slightly more grainy than I would have liked, but at least very printable. When I get used to the system and can work out how to uplaod pictures to the APUG gallery, I'll show what they look like. Mant thanks to everyone who contributed - it did help a lot in getting a balance of different approaches.