The "Metallic" look with a black and white film?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by PKM-25, May 7, 2009.

  1. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    How does one come by the iridescent / metallic look of an Ilochrome / Cibachrome in a traditional black and white print?

    In a perfect world, this would be a material I could print directly on from a black and white negative.

    Does such an animal exist or am I looking at the dreaded Hybrid?
     
  2. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Actually, the closest look is RC. Then after that there is nothing in between but you could hand coat B&W on YUPO a product almost identical to the Ilfochrome support.

    PE
     
  3. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    A metallic look can have a lot to do with how you expose and light your subject... how contrast is used. Try pushing your film two stops. Look at the work of Per Volquartz; he has produced very metallic looking peppers and so forth. We discussed it, and he thinks that a big part of the look comes from the push. I have seen similar results myself by pushing hp5+ a stop or two (albeit in 5x7 format). And I don't use RC, and I don't use glossy anything.
     
  4. erikg

    erikg Member

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    The duraflex material had the same look, it's the polyester support. I don't think there is a current product on that base.
     
  5. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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  6. Lowell Huff

    Lowell Huff Inactive

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    Are you asking about creating a "CHROMOSKEDASIC COLOR EFFECT PRINTING"? Or redeposit of metalic silver?
     
  7. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    PKM-25,

    PE was right... but RC won't do it.
    If you want the ilfochrome look, you really should print on ilfochrome!
    There is no substitute for the real thing!


    The peppers and Ipomoea alba (or whatever the taxonomists are calling it these days), look metallic, but that has nothing to do with the cibachrome look.
    I would say pushing is not really the key either...
    I think that look comes from the lighting... or lighting effect;
    or at least, could be produced that way...

    which way being... an extreamly diffuse light source very close to the subject...
    the moon flower has a sort of built in diffuser, being somwhat waxy IIRC.

    The Rockland product you mentioned is also something completely different.

    Three different looks... and none can immitate the others.
     
  8. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Well of course, so how does one go about printing from a black and white negative onto Ilfochrome then?

    The only way I can think is to create a transparency via the DR5 process....

    I was hoping there was a cheaper process like coming straight off of a negative onto metallic print that would not render my black and white film a transparency.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2009
  9. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    What if you leave it in the developer for like an hour? It will acquire a silver look then.
     
  10. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Just enlarge your neg onto a sheet of b&w film and you'll have a transparency that might print decently to ilfochrome, I suppose. This 'interpositive' may need a contrast boost though; typically it will not have the sort of density you see in a b&w slide.
     
  11. phenix

    phenix Member

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    How about experimenting with T-grain films and their specific developers? They render a metal-gray scale (only mid-tones +/-white). This is why I avoid using this combination, but your purpose is different, so this looks like a way to go for. Sorry I cannot tell you more about, but my experience with these films is very limited. I speak based more on what I’ve seen to others, than on what I tried myself.
     
  12. timbo10ca

    timbo10ca Member

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    This is the effect I've been striving for since I started B&W printing and seeing Ansel's trail side fern photo in a book. I wish I could learn the formula........ I've frequently seen it in magazines from digital B&W shooters too, so I'm stumped. Must be in the lighting, and I don't know anything about that voodoo. I'll try your 2 stop push (and then I assume N-2 dev) suggestion.

    Tim
     
  13. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Tim, the push suggestion is especially effective in combination with shallow lighting (emphasizing surface texture, so the light finds little ridges and such) and a larger format film e.g. 4x5 and up. In 35mm the push just gives prominent grain and that dominates the look too much IMHO. In larger formats the increase in grain (relative to typical print size) is modest, but the change in contrast is quite special: midtones are few and so surface texture is enhanced.

    Ray, it's true that the moonflowers have a natural lustre, but on the other hand I have taken plenty of shots of them which do not have this look. Anyway, this was done with side lighting from a tungsten softbox, a bit of front light, and pushed 5x7 ilford hp5+, the neg was also treated with KRST. But as I mentioned previously, the lighting setup plays a big role as well.
     
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  15. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    Yes, so have I! :sad:

    I do not have the energy to follow the logic I seek, but I wonder if pushing accentuates (read "simulates") the effect of highly diffuse front lighting?

    Sounds odd perhaps, but I think THAT metal look is essentially diffuse "reflection"; In the studio we/they/you often even use an evil smelling "dulling spray" on metalic surfaces to control that sort of "Metallic Look" when other methods arn't convenient. "Controled" "blowing of the highlights" via pushing might be essentially the same thing. :confused:

    :smile:
     
  16. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    So, with a fine surface texture, I think the strategy is to get a lot of micro-contrast so that you get a extreme range of tones over a small area. That's what we really find appealing in a metal surface, right? Very fine-scale gradients of tone. Some of the most appealing metal surfaces (See Per's aluminum surfaces) have a slight dull graininess overall with micro-reflections of light that really add lustre. On the large scale, the micro-reflections add up to a kind of matte diffuse reflectance, whereas on the fine scale, you get lots of very quick micro-gradients. That to me is the appeal of a metallic surface... it's not uniform reflectance e.g. from a mirror. It is a totally different direction than going for a uniformly reflective glossy look. If the surface reflects everything more or less equally then you get an overall 'wet' look... not really appealingly metallic, to my eye. Again I'd say Per is the grandmaster of this effect, check out his stuff and see if you don't agree. You can get the impression of rough, hard steel or foil-like reflectance, depending on what he wants to convey.


    What pushing does is make the micro-gradients more extreme, introduce a bit of grain that (to my eye at least) suggests natural metallic lustre. Now, if I wanted a polished look, without lots of micro-gradients on the surface, then I'd shoot delta or tmax and amend my lighting accordingly. Actually, that reminds me, I have another moonflower shot with an entirely different impression (I think), it was on slide film and the general consensus is that it looks more like sandy landscape or an abstract figure... not metallic at all. But actually the lighting setup was identical. And right now I have before me another neg that looks, to my eye, more metallic. These are very versatile blossoms!

    Concerning lighting, you could put a soft box head-on to the blossom and then you'd just get white, white and white, and maybe some grey :wink: Overall the petals would be rendered essentially monotone. So shallow lighting is essential. Also rear lighting is something I use quite a bit with blossoms.

    Now, moonflowers are a pill, the blossoms are moving as you shoot so if you have all manner of lighting setup (especially my cheapie tungsten softboxes!!!) you have to work very quickly. The things literally recoil from light. So... there's another practical reason to push, just so that you can get a reasonably fast shutter speed! Any moonflowers shots I've done, I had maybe 5-10 sec to get it done before the blossom was objecting to my lights. Magnolias are way easier!!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2009
  17. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    So Who is Per and where can his work?

    About the flowers, thanks for reminding me how much and why I love the Convolvulaceae ! Anyway, I really like that picture of the moon flower...
    Will you be shooting it again this year?
     
  18. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Per= Per Volquartz. Actually there are several ways to meet and work with him, he arranges some shoots and he also welcomes people to his darkroom.

    Moonflowers, yes, I will continue my love affair with them, although I really should try to diversify my floral portfolio a bit :wink: I am quite annoyed that the wisteria season came and went so quickly this year, I had big plans and then the rains came... and came... and came... and the wisteria blossomed and vanished in a few days.
     
  19. timbo10ca

    timbo10ca Member

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    Keith- could please explain "shallow lighting" to me? It seems that if you shine a light on something, it's either there or not....? Do you mean a light very close to the subject, or far away so little shadow is cast?

    Thanks,
    Tim
     
  20. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Tim, by 'shallow light' I mean a light source [almost] 90 degrees from the lens axis, roughly parallel to the focal plane of the subject. Shallow light creates contrast between the hills and valleys of your subject.

    [This approach is roughly analogous to Rembrandt lighting that is commonly used in portraiture. Recall that a Rembrandt light is high and shallow to the plane of the subject's face, thus producing characteristic shadowing on the face]

    With almost every flower subject I have a well-diffused front light- often a big softbox very close to the subject. This is the "fill" light. I also usually have a shallow, texture light, which is typically not diffused and placed very shallow to the subject. The ratio of these two lights controls how strongly the surface texture is emphasized

    Here is a typical example with a shallow light setup. I don't think I had any fill in this case, just two shallow softboxes. The shallow light picks out the ridges on the leaves, throws some shadows to separate the petals, and makes a 3D-ish bowl effect on the petals (I allege)....

    http://keithwilliamsphoto.net/Closer to Home/Magnolia.html
     
  21. timbo10ca

    timbo10ca Member

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    Awesome- thanks!

     
  22. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    You could shoot and develop your negs to suit the contrast of RA paper, then print on Kodak Endura Metallic, which is available in roll sizes from B&H, or is an optional paper at any decent pro lab (as well as some lousy ones, like Costco). If you also want the option of printing your negs on standard b/w paper, which would mean that you would want negs of higher contrast than ones suited for RA papers, then I would expose and develop them to normal contrast for b/w paper, make analog prints for the b/w, and scan to make the metallic prints. Metallic paper is an option with many labs' "direct-to-print" service.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2009
  23. timbo10ca

    timbo10ca Member

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    So you're confirming to underexpose then overdevelop the negative to fit it onto a grade 2 paper (this is how I'm understanding the "push 2 stops" procedure)? ie underexpose by 2 stops then do N+2 development to bring the negative/paper back to an "N" scenario..... Or just expose normally and rely on the metallic paper for this effect? I don't see how that helps a person with a straight analog workflow (not me, but in this case I want to know how to achieve the technique as it was done before computers or metallic paper was around to rely on). Regarding the suggestion of using metallic paper, I've not seen B&W prints on it, but I have seen color- quite nice for certain scenes. I don't think it applies in this case, as even the sample photos linked here look metallic on my screen and I wouldn't think a scan of metallic paper would translate. Plus, as I stated- I've seen this look achieved by many digital shooters, so I think it must be more in the lighting itself, no????

    Tim
     
  24. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I didn't mean to push at at all. Quite the opposite, in fact. I mean that if you are going to print on RA paper, you need to tweak the contrast of your negs to fit the contrast of the paper. You need to make the negs flatter. If you want to print easily on b/w paper as well, I would just expose and develop the negs for b/w paper, and scan if you want to try the metallic paper.

    I suppose I don't know what is meant by a metallic look in this case.
     
  25. dr5chrome

    dr5chrome Member

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    SFX / dr5 / ILFOCHROME

    That's an easy question!
    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=21647&ppuser=17909

    the sample is in DEV-2 but the DEV-1 SFX film on ILFOCHROME renders a metallic looking image. SFX in dr5 produces a metallic looking chrome.

    regards
    dw



     
  26. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    This might be the ticket. And better yet, I can make a "Denver-day" out of it by driving out to your lab in just a few hours.