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  1. #21

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    I think there are two part to how you can get an image like that again. First, to control your printing. Two, to shoot under the same lighting conditions.

  2. #22

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    Do they not have ice cubes in Texas?

    What you think you see is built into the film and paper. Some films are straight line, some long toe curved. Papers are similar but with fewer if and straight line, just some straighter than others. You cannot change it, just change product if you can find something in the limited supply available today.

    Your example is just a blown sky because you exposed for dark subject.

    You might try VC paper, making a high contrast exposure and dodging the mid tones some, the print the mid tone with lower contrast while dodging the lights. But the H&D curve for the film paper is built in and can not be changed.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    to recreate this, i would photograph in a shaded place with open sky
    where light can bounce to the sides of your subject ( foam core would work if
    you don't have a 3-sided greenhouse ( avedon ), or RVs to bounce the light for you
    x2, I think much of the quality of tones you appreciate in this picture has to do with the type of semi-soft lighting caused by a partly over-cast sky, with light bouncing around and softening shadows, much like John describes and suggests, and isn't so much related to specific development or exposure conditions (although these play a minor role too of course).

    Try looking at shadows and softness of light/dark transitions in your subjects faces. Become aware of weather conditions and how they affect the light outside, and you will start seeing more opportunities to shoot pictures like these.
    My website

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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco B View Post
    Try looking at shadows and softness of light/dark transitions in your subjects faces. Become aware of weather conditions and how they affect the light outside, and you will start seeing more opportunities to shoot pictures like these.
    This is great advice. I'm constantly observing how hard edged the shadows are even when I don't have my camera.
    I do this also when I'm watching TV but mostly to analyze main/fill placement and if any back/rim/hair light was used and try to guess ratios.

    You might try filtering to knock some of the sky down and getting good tone separation.
    In this shot you won't get any clouds popping but it will bring down the sky tone bit depending on filter choice.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katie View Post
    BUT - the point of this post is how do I consistently maintain deep midtones with bright but contrary highlights on HP5 and ID11.???
    Now that I've had a day to think about this, yes I'm slow, let me start by rephrasing your question a bit.

    "how can I control the exposure relationship between two contrary subject sets in one shot?"

    There are actually several ways but lets start with what probably won't work.

    Sure, by manipulating the agitation you may be able to adjust the relationship between subjects a little but I'd say that agitation is probably better used as a fine tuning tool rather than a rough placement tool.

    Im not suggesting a change, just ticking through a list and you've actually ruled it out with your developer specification, but using a Pyro developer might actually do more for you than changing agitation. Still and yet we are probably just fiddling around the edges and there are ways to do this with any developer.

    More or less camera exposure is also a loser because this simply slides the subjects, in lock step, up or down the curve; it does not change the printable relationship between the contrary subject sets, only their relationship to the ends of the curve.

    If you actually want the two subject sets centered on specific points in relation to black and white on paper, then there isn't much to gain or even much of a choice in placement of exposure other than in making sure the detail is available on a usable part of the film curve.

    Now to what can work.

    Extending or contracting the printable range, using plus or minus development or a harder or softer paper grade, can actually make a big difference. This option can significantly change where your subjects fall on the paper's curve. In the particular situation you describe, maybe shooting your HP5 at 200 or maybe even lower and then backing off on the development, could be a real fix.

    Jose Villa is a good example of someone who uses a lower contrast curve, 400 speed C-41 films instead of 160, in a similar manner to what you seem to be asking for here. Jose shoots at +1, +2, or more at times and has his films developed normally, he has chosen to change curves by switching films rather than development. By using HP5 you have the option of adjusting the slope of the curve without switching films.

    Manipulation of the lighting would also make a huge difference. Using the RVs as reflectors is a really good idea, if you have the ability to pick the setting. Fill flash and or reflectors (or a scrim if you need to spread the relationship) are real workable options too when you can't pick the setting.

    Changing the lighting of one subject really does change the relationship to the other and I regularly find myself in the darkroom asking myself why I didn't use a flash here. Truly and seriously I always have several strobes in my bag. If guys like Galen Rowell could use fill flash on the side of a cliff dangling from a rope, and use it well; I ought to be able to do it on flat ground. I do get lazy on occasion though.

    The last option I'll leave you with is filters. Yellow, red, polarizing, or whatever, they truly change what the film can see and where certain color tones will fall on the curve. These are easy and effective in many situations, my biggest problem is forgetting them.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

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  6. #26
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    Thank you to those that have replied with helpful, useful and thoughtful responses. I truly appreciate those that share their knowledge! And to those that just like to pop off on others ... as we say here in Texas (where, yes my dear, we do have ice cubes) "Bless your heart". For those of us with manners, it's a nice way to say what we think of others that don't have them.

    Back to my issue:

    To clarify - in my sample image DISREGARD THE SKY. I am not concerned with the highest value of highlight. The highlight I AM interested in is the highest register in the SKIN TONE. While I have only been developing my own B&W film for a little over a year, I have shot (gasp, digitally) for a long time now. I know exactly how to manipulate an image digitally to get the tones I want. If you look at the histogram, what I want to do is spread the mid tones and get the most range there - with both highlight and deep shadow in the small range that is the skin tone - while keeping the remainder of the image as dark as possible. While I realize that this has A LOT to do with lighting, it also has to do with other things. In making my "conversion" in Lightroom, what I do is shift the slider for white balance to a BLUER hue, which generally FLATTENS out the contrast of the image (which is what a blue filter would do, right??) but brings the skintones to a level where they are overall darker and richer but with maximum lightness in the highlights. THEN - I adjust the contrast and exposure, so that I can manipulate the skin tones to where I want.

    SO - I hope that I am not talking too much off limits here about PS, but I would like to apply THIS to what I'm shooting and developing in the darkroom (and subsequently wet printing as well).

    All suggestions thus far have made total sense to me and seem to apply to what I have previously done (using a blue filter, reflectors, bluish open shade, overexposing and underdeveloping, etc...). I want to shift the tonal range to get maximum flexibility in the midtones.

    I hope I am making sense...

  7. #27
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    One note with regard to scrimming and artificial lighting.

    You Are already using artificial lighting.

    In the example shot you provided you made a choice to shoot using an existing "artificial" scrim, the people are being shaded "artificially" by their surroundings, the RVs presumably.

    The problem you face is simply one of degree. A softer scrim, say a translucent sheet or pop-up shade, instead of an opaque RV, would also reduce the spread between subject sets.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  8. #28

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    hi again katie

    with regards to the sky .. i only mentioned it because it tends to give
    a false light meter reading if it is in more than a small portion of the photograph,
    like sand on a beach or snow ... you always have to stop down to get the darker hues.
    if you walk close to the subject and take a meter reading off of their skin ( like a spot reading )
    you will probably get a good read

    i like shooting on overcast days to get the tonal range you a looking for ...

    good luck !
    john

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katie View Post
    To clarify - in my sample image DISREGARD THE SKY. I am not concerned with the highest value of highlight. The highlight I AM interested in is the highest register in the SKIN TONE.
    I like your style in disregarding the sky.

    In your example the lighting source for your subjects is very diffuse/soft but still has some direction, from above and left as we are looking at it this provides nice definition of your subjects.

    Directional light is important in the effect.

    One tool I might suggest for your darkroom is something akin to a Beseler PM2L.

    What this tool does for me is to make it very easy to place certain tones, like facial highlights, at very specific points on paper. It very much fills a similar roll for my papers, as to what my incident meter does for my films; it pegs the midtones/face tones exactly where I want them and totally ignores the highlight and shadow placement.

    It is my preference to adjust contrast around the mid-point peg to place shadows and highlights, they are truly a secondary consideration to getting the faces right.

    This is the method essentially suggested in Dunn and Wakefield's "Exposure Manual" for photos that include faces. If you want to read it, it's out of print but normally available used, get the latest version you can find.
    Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  10. #30
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    Katie, please take this in the spirit it is offered or disregard it if it doesn't fit your vision
    but...
    I WOULD be concerned with the sky in most situations. It is a part of the composition and I was always taught NOT to have a wide expanse of something that prints paper white with no detail. It can draw the eye initially away from your intended subject/focus.

    Now if you just offered this version of this shot as a quick example of the parts of the image you DO like (which I suspect you did), and will deal with the sky via burning or cropping later then most definitely disregard my thoughts.

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