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  1. #21
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Hi Guy,

    In the gallery are some shots I took in flat lighting on a weekend at Russian River (but not at the secret Bohemian Grove conclave).

    I developed the film longer than "normal" because I knew the film I shot was under flat lighting. As a result, the film which normally has a 32 speed, came closer to 40 speed.

    I could have underexposed by a stop.

    When making prints I had to print this on Grade 3 1/2. If I had developed normally, it would possibly have needed Grade 4 or more.

    I enjoy printing a negative that fits between Grade 2 and 3. When working with higher grades of paper, I feel like I have to work with a higher degree of accuracy because exposure times, burning and dodging are more sensitive to changes.

    So to echo what others have said... Underexpose if you wish (but probably not necessary). Develop longer than normal if you wish (but if you use higher contrast paper, even this is not necessary).

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    It really does matter how you meter. If you're spot metering you obviously would not under-expose, as you're placing the shadows where they should be. But with in camera average metering and a very flat scene you may need to uprate the film to get the same exposure as your spot metered scene. For example, in Jim's example above he obviously spot metered, but if he was shooting with in camera average metering I doubt he would have gotten then same exposure at the same ISO, especially consider the "highlights" fell on zone V. With in camera he more than likely would have had to shoot at a higher EI to keep from overexposing the shadows which can happen with in camera metering average metering for scenes like this. So no I'm not recommending shooting a 400 speed film at 640 if you're spot metering, that makes no sense at all. What I'm saying is if you're using an in camera average metering you may need to uprate your film to keep your shadows from overexposing which can happen with a very low SBR scene such as Jim's example above. Hope I explained that better.
    Whether you are spot metering or not, the original quote advocated underexposing and overdeveloping to increase contrast or expand tonality or whatever one wants to call it. Overdeveloping does. Underexposing does not - and in fact it can result in lower contrast than if one had exposed normally, given the same expanded development.

  3. #23
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Whether you are spot metering or not, the original quote advocated underexposing and overdeveloping to increase contrast or expand tonality or whatever one wants to call it. Overdeveloping does. Underexposing does not - and in fact it can result in lower contrast than if one had exposed normally, given the same expanded development.
    You're right. I should have stated that I do advocate under exposure and over development when shooting using in camera average metering in flat lighting to avoid over exposing shadow detail. Some may call it underexposure, some may call it exposure compensation. Either way you may need to shoot at a higher EI. When spot metering expose as normal and over develop if necessary.

  4. #24
    zsas's Avatar
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    What if what was used was a high contrast developer like Kodak D 19 and expose normal? It might yield the same N.

    Caution - I have never tried this developer, and only propose it for a theoretical other way. It will increase contrast and grain, but I believe so does underexposing/overdeveloping and correctly exposing/overdeveloping.

    Seems we have thus far:
    Underexpose and overdevelop
    Correct expose and overdevelop
    Correct expose but use a high contrast dev (Kodak D19)
    Filters
    Use a high grade paper

    Thoughts noble mentors on D19?
    Last edited by zsas; 05-08-2012 at 10:03 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Add some more to list of what was proposed thus far
    Andy

  5. #25

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    Some developers tend toward higher contrast but it really isn't going to go very far expanding a very low contrast scene. One could also try A staining developer, or proportional or super-proportional intensifiers. But ultimately it is going to come down mostly to printing - not just higher contrast filters but manual manipulation like burning, dodging, bleaching and whatever else gets you to the final print. Approaching a subject of extremely low contrast with a significantly higher contrast visualization requires some work.

    One thing that has not been mentioned is the choice of film. A film with inherently higher contrast can help maximize the density range before you even start talking about development, intensification etc.

  6. #26
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    My reasoning is that I target my negatives to print well at Grade 2. If (or when) I screw up I have two grades of contrast in either direction to compensate.

    But because I process to print at Grade 2, in flat lighting I need to expand what's in the scene to normal contrast in the negative, or my print at Grade 2 would look mighty dull.
    To get more impact in the shadows, I therefore give less exposure, RELATIVE to normal lighting conditions. This stretches the shadows out to 'normal' again. Then, to both compensate for the lesser exposure, and for the lower contrast, I expand development to gain normal contrast in the highlights as well, and eventually a full tonal range.

    Basically it is nothing more than the good old 'expose for the shadows, and develop for the highlights'.

    If the spread between shadows and highlights is small (low contrast) expose less and develop more. If the spread between shadows and highlights is large, (high contrast), expose more and develop less.

    With TMax400 I used to shoot at 1600 in low contrast, and at 200 in high contrast, and compensate in developing. And most of those negatives print well with very little darkroom gymnastics.

    In addition, it is actually possible to salvage shadow detail by using a dilute and less active developer, increase development time and make agitation intervals longer. Anybody who doesn't believe me can eat my shorts and view my prints from TMax100 shot at EI400 and developed in Xtol 1+1 with long agitation intervals. Exactly the same tonality as Tri-X 320 shot at box speed and replenished Xtol with normal agitation.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    If the spread between shadows and highlights is small (low contrast) expose less and develop more.
    This is the part I have a problem with. It should be expose the same and develop more. No eating of shorts required.

    Anyhow, not the biggest deal. The medium is flexible enough that we usually end up compensating for these minor violations of densitometry in printing - often without realizing it.

    Michael

  8. #28
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    This is the part I have a problem with. It should be expose the same and develop more. No eating of shorts required.

    Anyhow, not the biggest deal. The medium is flexible enough that we usually end up compensating for these minor violations of densitometry in printing - often without realizing it.

    Michael
    But low contrast lighting, to me, means that there are no real blacks in the scene. In order to stretch those tones toward a black, you would HAVE to give less exposure. There's no other way of doing it.

    If your shadows are in Zone 2 in normal lighting, now all of a sudden they're in Zone 4. Why should you not give less exposure?
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #29

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    Because if you want to maximize the density range (ie contrast) on the film, you want the entire range on the straight line. Then if you want to further expand contrast with increased development, the net density range will expand more if the high values are further up the scale to begin with.

    So suppose you had a 3-stop luminance range. If you place the average shadows on zone II (where there is some degree of compession) and the highlights on zone V, you have a smaller density range than if you had placed the average shadows on zone IV. Further, if you expand development, you'll get a bigger net increase in density between shadows and highlights (for a given increase in development time) if the initial exposure is for zone IV-VII versus zone II-V.

    Yes the shadows have more density, but so do the highlights, and the total contrast is higher. So you just print the negative down.

  10. #30
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael R 1974 View Post
    Because if you want to maximize the density range (ie contrast) on the film, you want the entire range on the straight line. Then if you want to further expand contrast with increased development, the net density range will expand more if the high values are further up the scale to begin with.

    So suppose you had a 3-stop luminance range. If you place the average shadows on zone II (where there is some degree of compession) and the highlights on zone V, you have a smaller density range than if you had placed the average shadows on zone IV. Further, if you expand development, you'll get a bigger net increase in density between shadows and highlights (for a given increase in development time) if the initial exposure is for zone IV-VII versus zone II-V.

    Yes the shadows have more density, but so do the highlights, and the total contrast is higher. So you just print the negative down.
    If you expose normal contrast lighting, so that the shadows are on the straight line portion (or most of them anyway), and you encounter a lighting condition with less contrast, and lighter shadow values; if you expose less, your shadows will still be on the straight line portion of the film curve, because the deep deep shadows from normal lighting do not exist. They are further up the curve. By exposing less, you don't have to print down the negative = less darkroom gymnastics at printing time.

    Perhaps we're both right? Perhaps it's two equally equitable ways of doing things. I don't know. Personally, I sometimes find it difficult to step outside the realm of what works for me, so the source for this discussion could be completely unfounded.

    But again, my goal is to have negatives that are as similar as possible. Normal lighting and contrast I have one recipe for a certain range of tones in the negative that prints well at Grade 2. If the contrast levels are lower, the blacks won't be as black, so those tones will be higher up on the film curve, so it just feels natural to me to give less exposure so that the deepest values in the scene is in the same place on the curve as though I was shooting a scene of normal contrast. It just means a lot less head ache for me in the darkroom. Same goes for high contrast lighting - I expose more in order to lift the shadows off the toe of the curve, and then compensate with longer agitation intervals and shorter developing time to compress the tonal range into a normal looking negative that prints well at Grade 2.
    This is simply what makes sense to me, and it works well in my darkroom, so from simple empirical results, I know it could work anywhere. Perhaps it's more a preference than anything?!

    Anyway, was fun to play. Gotta go make some prints...
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

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