Bruce - I will not disregard your thoughts as they are most helpful, but you are correct in assuming this example was only used for the skin example and not meant as a whole image example. When I say disregard the sky; I mean it doesn't apply to my question.
Originally Posted by brucemuir
BUT - the point of this post is how do I consistently maintain deep midtones with bright but contrary highlights on HP5 and ID11.???
The straight-forward answers to your question are threefold. First you must properly expose the film. (There is an old adage which states, expose for the shadow and develop for the highlights. It simply means expose the darkest part of the scene which YOU think is important, and control the lightest part of the scene with development. Shadows are controlled by exposure only whereas highlights are controlled by exposure and development.) According to your earlier post, you metered the shadow side (the important dark area) and processed the film according to your established standard. According to an earlier post, the individual stated your mid-tones were singing and there was good highlight separation. Nicely done.
Secondly, you have to be able to print. Printing is where the magic happens. Printing turns those singing mid-tones and separate highlights into prints of choral harmony. There are no short-cuts and as the young people say..."Printing is bloody..." Printing requires time, experience, patience and a few choice words.
Thirdly, you need to develop a systematic approach. The systematic approach may require film testing (film speed and development times), paper and developer testing, etc. It may require certain processing temperatures and agitation methods. Regardless, a consistent systematic approach is a necessary/important step.
Finally, Texas in the summer time, hotttttt.. The easy solution is to place your processing water film developer & fixer (maybe not fixer) in the ice-box until they reach the desired temp. Regardless how you achieve your desired processing temp, I argue against changing processing times. I advocate adhering rigidly to your established processing times and adjust your temps to accommodate.
Hopefully, I have been of some assistance.
Last edited by Harrison Braughman; 12-24-2011 at 02:21 PM. Click to view previous post history.
The point of this post is how do I consistently maintain deep midtones with bright but contrary highlights on HP5 and ID11.???
You scan it into Photoshop and go to image > Adjust > Levels.
You can get mid-tones to look like that by underexposing (one stop will do) and overdeveloping a bit. Underexposing pulls the darker areas down a little while overdeveloping pushes up the brighter areas and brings the mids back in the middle. You're essentially dropping some shadow and highlight detail, but you're making the curve steeper in the mid-tones (i.e. it increases mid-tone contrast). It works even better with slower films, since they are fairly high in contrast to begin with.
When you combine this technique with flat and diffuse lighting, you'll get these really nice skin tones. When the light is harsher, it doesn't work so well, however.
There are different ways to achieve overdevelopment. The simplest is developing longer. Increasing agitation, temperature, or developer concentration will work too. I personally prefer to keep my agitation constant, so I normally adjust time or concentration.
ID-11 and Ilfosol are a wonderful developers. They can be quite versatile, so it pays to experiment a little.
I hope this helps and isn't too confusing.
The look you are after is reasonably easy to achieve with 400 ASA film and ID11 or almost any other film developer combination if you know what your true film speed is with your exposure and developing situation.
Essentially though, the weather situation has compressed the highlight to shadow situation beautifully. Your choice of a slightly higher contrast film (400 ASA) has given the sparkle of highlight in the subjects that you are so enamoured with.
This is my favourite portraiture weather and film developer situation.
In high summer you may find that your important highlight to shadow situation is about 6 – 7 stops, maybe slightly more. In winter it is often down to 3 stops. I would suggest that the highlight to shadow readings reflected from your subjects in this picture are about 3 stops.
That is the fine light coloured lines in the adults shirt, her nails and hands and the bubble stick she is holding are the highlight where you just hold detail, with the jumper on the little one being the shadow where you are easily holding detail.
Using a high contrast film, which you have, you have with relative ease, gotten a highlight kick that is almost universally liked and brilliantly easy to print.
If you do some reflected light reading tests with some similar subjects outside right now (Winter Equinox) in your hemisphere you will probably have 3 or maybe 4 steps between shadow and highlight. This is generally brilliant portrait lighting.
To get a bit more contrast when developing, especially if the lighting is very flat, then you can add more agitation. This will give a little more contrast. An example is to agitate every 30 seconds for 5 seconds instead of every minute. An extreme is to agitate constantly for the whole time you are developing. You certainly get a slight contrast kick with constant agitation.
I did colour and B&W advertising photography a bit, controlling the highlight to shadow lighting almost always gave perfect to print negatives. I would suggest a print from this negative be made to see just how close it is to what you are after. Then dress your subject up in warm clothes, and go outside on a drab and dreary day and try and replicate, it shouldn’t be hard.
For some time we had a native Texan living next door to us, she agreed that our Australian summer light seemed to be reasonably close in harshness to Texan summer light. Meaning that getting lighting like this is almost impossible from around 0900hrs through to about 1600hrs on a normal summer day.
I also agree that water coming out of taps is often around 24-26ºC and this does present some inherent problems. However if you can get the developer consistently somewhere near 24ºC, then you should be able to get repeatable and excellent results, no matter what. Fiddly but doable.
Last edited by Mick Fagan; 12-24-2011 at 11:59 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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Open shade is beautiful light. I don't know if I am insensitive to nuance or if it is so obvious to me that I know exactly how to achieve it.
Take a look at my recent gallery shot Bob and Abigail. Do the lighting and results seem similar to you?
Well, I usually get this kind of results with Medium format film alone, no special tricks.