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  1. #11
    phenix's Avatar
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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.
    B&W is silver.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    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.
    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
    If only we could pull out our brains and use only our eyes. P. Picasso

    http://www.timbowlesphotography.com

  3. #13
    keithwms's Avatar
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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.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    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.
    Yes, so have I!

    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    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.
    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.


  5. #15
    keithwms's Avatar
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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 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 keithwms; 05-09-2009 at 09:48 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    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.

    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!

    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!!!
    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?

  7. #17
    keithwms's Avatar
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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 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.
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  8. #18
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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
    If only we could pull out our brains and use only our eyes. P. Picasso

    http://www.timbowlesphotography.com

  9. #19
    keithwms's Avatar
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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.../Magnolia.html
    "Only dead fish follow the stream"

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  10. #20
    timbo10ca's Avatar
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    Awesome- thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by keithwms View Post
    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.../Magnolia.html
    If only we could pull out our brains and use only our eyes. P. Picasso

    http://www.timbowlesphotography.com

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