Drew, I think I am beginning to get some of this, but one thing that confuses me is: How do you know what filter to use? For example, in my sunlit scene of a barn in a field, where the distant hills are blue: My brain does not see it that way, so I can't really say, "Oh, this is an 8000 kelvin scene" or "I see it's 6,000 in the foreground, but 8,000 in the background" and adjust accordingly. Are we talking about intelligent guesswork in choosing an appropriate filter?
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
For me, I found that an 81A will generally suffice. That's during the day, early morning or evening hours will need a stronger filter. It also depends on the lighting, 100% clear skies need maybe an 81B.
Regarding color temp issues, I recommend using a high-quality color temp meter for a little measuring
practice. After that, it's pretty easy to estimate the best filter. The practical difficulty will always be
when different parts of a scene are very differently illuminated. So you either have to make a creative
judgment as to which part to let drift, or find a compromise filter. As long as you're somewhere in the
ballpark, you're still going to have an exposure improvement over doing nothing. I've never tried warming grad filters which split the scene, but I suppose it's inevitable someone will if a scene is somehow evenly divided. Certainly not every problem can be solved using Ektar, but the same could be said for any other film, and you always have the option to carry more than one type. My own immediate
goal is simply to make true darkroom prints from Ektar etc which will set the standard for burning at the stake for incompetent witchcraft those who still does it the clumsy old crude way using inkjet!
I pity all these folks who judge images over the web and have yet to see a well done darkroom print.
That is true but it's kind of hard to pass darkroom prints around.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
Yeah, the web is basically for business use or general crude visual information. But maybe it's time for
the smart alecs to get off their butt and start looking at some real work, or start learning to print color themselves. Certain laws of physics and color theory just can't be cancelled out with the click of a button. One doesn't need a phD to figure any of this out. It's basically being delivered to their doorstep. It's what cinematographers are expected to know, it's what Kodak Color Guides told you for
decades, it's what every decent studio pro did. Now presto - nobody needs to even screw a filter on a
lens, yet expects miracles from the film. But even if they got a miracle they wouldn't recognize it because everything looks like mush nowadays, that is, if the web is the standard of communication.
Well, that's perfectly fine for a lot of people. But why would such persons even want to tinker with
Ektar to begin with? They go out an purchase a thousand buck lens then don't bother to understand the
film that goes behind it. It's like purchasing a Ferrari and refusing to put gas in the tank. No wonder
someone can move faster on a skateboard and call the engineers a bunch of idiots.
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I can't afford a god quality color temp meter - I guess I'll just be in the uncomfortable position of using my digital camera as such a meter for a while to assess optimal white balance - better than nothing.
A color temp meter simply helps but is not essential. I recommend using one if creating a printing master neg from something like a Macbeath chart. But for general outdoor shooting, two or three filters
will keep you in the ballpark. I recommend an 81A for general drab overcast situations, and an 81C for
deep shade under blue sky. A light salmon-colored skylight filter is useful for minor warming or cutting
UV at altitude, and might also be useful on your digital camera. Other than that, there's no sense getting too complicated.