I have always had good luck with a regular old 25A red filter. That, in combination with exposing for the sky more than the land (assuming we are talking landscape shots here) has led me to get some good negatives to begin with. Here is a shot done recently, with a 25A filter. I didnt manipulate this at all out of the negative, other than to clean up the dust from the scan.
FYI, Mamiya 645e with 45mm "C" lens, Tri-X 400
This shot was Mid-Day sun.
In my experience, burning in the sky has tended to increase the grain in that area.
However, sometimes it looks good that way.
I've found that darkening in skies with nice cloud detail, a number 12 or maybe 15 filter is quite sufficient. A number 8 with a cp is good, also. A number 8 will not pose a big problem with greens in the shadows, and even a 12 shouldn't be to bad. Yellows to reds are even less a problem with the 8 to 15 filter range. The blue and parts of the scene lit by blue sky will darken.
Another thing is to underexpose slightly, and increase development the appropriate amount, which can improve the range of values in the scene.
The best things are exposure controls, including filters, followed by development controls, the last thing should be printing controls. Resorting to printing controls first seems, at least to me, to be putting the cart before the horse.
Quite a bit. Stop doing that, if you want to learn correct exposure and printing technique. Using overly strong filters is an unaesthetic crutch. Stacking, except occasionally with a polarizer, and for special "artistic" purpose, is unnecessary for normal natural light photography.
Originally Posted by DF
FYI: Making a Fine Art Print
BTW, this scanned proof print (dark enuf for ya'?) was shot with a deep yellow filter around midday, ~11 AM:
Last edited by ROL; 07-31-2013 at 01:07 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Slightly de-focussing while burning in sky/clouds can alleviate grain while still adding density. This method of course does not work if razor-sharp detail in the sky is required.
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
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That sounds like a good idea.
Originally Posted by Hexavalent
Usually if there is sharpness in the sky, it is due to better light and higher contrast so burning in is less likely to be needed anyway.
Your method would work on some of my negatives where I have burned in a fairly boring sky to make it (slightly) more interesting.
It really depends on season and latitude. In the U.K. I have never managed anything as dark as the picture shown by ROL. Even with a red and a polariser and the sun at its brightest and highest I have barely managed this dark a sky.
I just about got there with Ilford SFX which is a near IR film.
Unless you live in similar latitudes to ROL then I suspect you will be disappointed with what a deep yellow filter will do for you by comparison.
The light intensity at latitude 53 with a hazy-ish sky even on bright days as is the case in the U.K. means that what is possible with a yellow is quite different to what is possible in a clear atmosphere at maybe 20-23 degrees of latitude less.
Try a yellow then an orange and then a red and finally a red and a polariser together and see what you think. It'll only cost you four frames.I didn't notice any problem with stacking using two filters together
A Wratten 12 or 15 with a Polarizer works for me. For colour I use ND's and a Polarizer.