Actually, I am always confused over whether to say "blown out" or blocked up." My peabrain logic tells me that highlights get blocked up in the negative and blown out when it is printed.
Since I have done a lot of night time photography, here are some indications of what you may expect in night time scenes:
Light meter set at EI 320, film Kodak TriX400 or Ilford HP5:
- EV 2-3 for darkest shadows (Zone I-II), general readings on concrete or brick walls with some light on it in the range of EV4-8, and lamps themselves EV12-14.
- Most of my correct night exposures, including reciprocity correction, turn out to be around 15 seconds - 30 seconds or 1 minute at F8. Very well illuminated in town maybe 4-8 seconds at the same aperture.
- If you want to do a pull development to tame contrast, you may wish to overexpose to retain shadow detail. So instead of 15 seconds, maybe 30 or 1 minute. A pull development means shortening the development time. Taking 40% off the regular time isn't strange at night, just be sure you give plenty of exposure to maintain shadow detail.
- If you are going to do 4x5, you will generally wish something more than F8, more likely F11, F16, F22 minimum. My reciprocity corrected exposures generally turn out to be something like 2, 5 or 10 minutes. Of course, stopping down significantly (F45), will put you down for much longer times... You may wish to consider Kodak TMax 400, which has one of the best reciprocity characteristics, combined with relative high ISO at 400. I have shot TMax 400 in an F256 pinhole at night, and gotten good results with exposure times generally around 20-45 minutes, on HP5, I would have had to wait for 3-5 hours!!! :confused:
Here are some actual examples with exposure info to give you an idea:
Kodak TriX 400, F8, 30 seconds exposure, pull development -35% of development time:
Printed on Kentmere Fineprint VC Glossy, sepia toned. Printed at grade 1 with 20 seconds exposure, with an additional pre-flash of the paper at grade 2 to tame overall contrast. Only the bright lamp head required additional burning in: 40 seconds at grade 1 and an additional 40 seconds at grade 3.
Kodak TMax 400 in 4x5, 4x5 LF Zero Image F256 pinhole, 45 minutes exposure:
Printed on Ilford Multigrade RC Warmtone, selenium toned.
I just try to get a reading off of whatever I can, then guess how far away from that all the other stuff is. Exposure charts made by others and bracketing are good to try as well. I suggest Fuji Acros for its outstanding reciprocity maintenance. Try it with PMK pyro to give you some automatic highlight masking. Don't be afraid of some overexposure, but don't count on gross overexposure to give you good negs either, especially with PMK, which tends to flatten everything above a certain tone.
Another suggestion I would make is to use as wide an aperture as you can given D of F considerations and optical performance. It is the best way to get more detail in the darkest areas. Some things are just so dark that if you are stopped down a bit, you will not allow the minimum amount of light necessary to cause any exposure through the lens. You would get absolutely nothing on the film even if you left the shutter open all night. If you want the starburst effect on the lights that you get at tiny apertures, simply stop down the lens at the end of the exposure to just expose the lights.
Holmburgers- the quibble should be over the term "hold back the burnt out lights". If the highlights in the negative are blocked up, meaning there is so much density in the negative that they print paper white, then you want to burn in the highlights when printing, not hold back. If they're REALLY blocked up, and not just by a stop or two, then pre-flashing the paper would be a good idea to put a little base exposure into the highlights so that they print easier. There are some really good threads here on APUG for how to do this, just search around.
Tomato, tomato... no, but seriously, I see the confusion now.
In terms of the final print, the lights are overexposed (one could say burnt out) and indeed you wouldn't literally "hold back" while printing with a negative/positive scheme. However, if you consider my phrase just in terms of a final print, you want to make the lights appear less bright than they are, considering the exposure you've given them, so to "hold them back" could make sense.
But you're right... I said it very weirdly, especially to any analog printer.
Well, actually, if you're talking about the PRINT, the lights in the print are underexposed, because they lack detail. In the negative, they're overexposed. To reduce the brightness in the print you need to ADD exposure one way or another, so you would not "hold back". Now, if you were dealing with a transparency or a print from a transparency, your terminology would be spot on the money, because you would want to withhold exposure from the highlights to keep them from blowing out - when exposing a transparency, you're better off underexposing rather than over-exposing, because instead of building density with exposure, they destroy density with exposure. Same with making an Ilfochrome print - the longer you burn in, the more density you remove from the print. It all makes a lot more sense when you've actually done these processes - if you're used to doing either one of them, the other one seems counter-intuitive.
Ok, not to drag this out anymore than necessary... Perhaps instead of the print, I should've said scene. If you think about the original scene, and if your eye is adjusted to see into the shadows, then the lights will be too bright.
Bright = light = heat = fire = burnt out. (granted, burning creates char, which is black....ay yay yay).
When you wear sunglasses, are you not "holding back" the light?
My words made it unclear whether or not I understood the basic functions of printing, but I assure you I do.
I speak colloquially I guess, and I think that anyone looking at the scene with me, would agree that the highlights need to be "held back" in order to balance them with the shadows.
To hold back means to lighten something on the image, i.e. to dodge. The term is really in reference to what you are doing with the light from the enlarger, not to tonality directly. In other words, you are holding back ("blocking," more literally) light from the enlarger from reaching the paper. For example, "I think that your over all exposure and the filter you are using are perfect; you just need to hold back the shadows a bit on your next try."
For highlights, you might say "pull down," "rein in," "burn in," "darken," etc.
This has become totally semantic. I know what the "accepted" terms are. The point is, if you don't assume that I'm mistaken (in my initial statement), it's quite easy to understand what I meant if you step out the darkroom mentality for a moment.
But alas, since this is the internet, it's hard to know if people are using words strangely or are mistaken so I can't blame anyone for making an assumption.
To say that "pull down" & "rein in" mean the opposite of "hold back" just goes to show you how tenuous and knife-edged these distinctions are. They aren't superior or more accurate, they're just tradition.