An Upswept Curve Question
Reading about HC-110, it says that it produces an "upswept curve." I get the basics on curves, but I am having a hard time visualizing what this means. Can someone translate this into plain English?
It means lower contrast in the mids than highlight.
contrast will increase towards the highlights to catchup for the slightly pulled down middle tone
Last edited by brucemuir; 11-22-2011 at 11:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Up sweep curves have more information in the shoulder section and s curves have more information in the mid section.
Upswept Curves when combined with the appropriate lighting are really evident in some of the classic portrait styles.
Think George Hurrell: http://www.hurrellphotography.com/Hurrell/index.htm
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Those are some of the most beautiful portraits (of equally beautiful women) that I've seen in a long time.
Originally Posted by MattKing
Can you elaborate more on how upswept curves & the lighting work together in this instance?
edit: More specifically, I see that these portraits rely heavily on shadows whereas the high-lights seem to be the focus. The shadows (faces in some instances) are full of detail, but the highlights (like light off the hair, or high points of the face) are glowing. Any comments on exposure determination as well? I'm just quite taken by them...
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here's my thoughts on Matt's comments and we'll see how close I am...it helps me learn also.
You may know this already but Hurrell was BIG into fresnel/tungsten lighting where he could precisely focus the highlighting and even the amount off falloff etc.
Your observations about shadow detail and glowinging highlight would seem to reinforce Matt's upswept curve pairing, where optimal open shadows aren't a huge issue and better separation in the tones above middle gray being ideal for the subjects.
I've read he did use nylon/stockings over the lens sometimes and I'm betting that can cause some glow also.
The negs were 8x10 and heavily retouched also which contribute to his overall look.
It would be interesting if anyone knew his favored darkroom processing (soup/film type) and how much even the tungsten itself and the films spectral response from those times contributed.
I've always dug his work and the lighting from some of the cinematographers that came a little later.
Thanks Bruce that's very interesting. I didn't know about fresnel lighting really.
It's such a gorgeous look, and one that seems to be absent from modern times.
I think upswept curves can be really nice in landscape photography too. Looking at HC-110, for example, you don't have much shadow detail with a pretty pronounced toe, then mid-tones that are somewhat suppressed, and finally really good highlight contrast, unless you develop your negatives so much that they block up, in which case they become a nightmare in HC-110.
I always think of Bill Schwab's pictures when I think 'upswept'. Especially his older stuff has strong negative space in blacks, with low shadow contrast, some beautiful mysterious mood in the mid-tones, and crisp, bright, and glowing highlights, emphasized by his toning techniques. The printing obviously has a lot to do with it, and I have one of his prints where there are no real blacks anywhere, and highlights printed down far enough that it almost looks like an early platinum print, sort of pictorialistic. Same materials, I happen to know. Just different technique.
But his early work is an easy way to visualize what characteristics a print from a negative with upswept tone curve might look like, if treated carefully and well at printing time.
"Make good art!"
- Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera".
- Yousuf Karsh
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit".
Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I am a big fan of Bill Schwab's work, lovely stuff. Hurrel's work, too. There's almost too much great photography!
Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson
My work is primarily portraiture, with an editorial B&W style that I've been shooting for a few years. I've been using TMY+Diafine and a scan to print workflow, but I missed silver so much that I want to find a film and developer combo to continue my projects, and after studying HC-110, it seems like a good choice for a classic portrait look.
So, does HC-110 produce an upswept curve on any film, or just certain ones? Why does Ansel Adams rec HC-110 if there are other developers more suited to producing shadow contrast? Inquiring minds want to know...
Best visualized in curve terms, IMO, when comparing one curve directly to another. Although not greatly upswept, the point is there. Just look at the curves themselves not any of the zone density data, that's not really relative to the point, IMO. Observe the slope of the HC110 curve from Zone VI to VII and VII to VIII, VIII to IX---the actual slope i.e. steepness of the curve in that region compared to the D76 curve is greater---you would expect somewhat greater highlight separation in that negative versus that same highlight developed in D76. I think with Tri-X with HC110, the length of the toe would be even longer and the steepness of the "upswept" curve would be more pronounced, IDK. Hope that was helpful.