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  1. #11
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmcd View Post
    Brian,

    I think your images look great, and most importantly you are getting what you want to see on paper. Also, a great topic for discussion with much to think about from many perspectives.

    If you are experimenting with FP4+ and so on, try developing it in Xtol stock or D-76 stock—not for fine grain but for the brilliance.
    jmcd, funny you should mention Xtol because today I'm actually going out to shoot (blaring sun of course) and plan to try out Xtol 1:3. I've heard nothing but good things. Rodinal 1:50 gives me incredible sharpness with FP4, some of the best I've ever seen in photography. I know Xtol won't be able to even come close, but I'm hoping at 1:3 I can get improved sharpness.

  2. #12
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    Sounds good, Brian. Just to be clear, I recommend you also try the FP4+ in full strength solution for comparison.

  3. #13
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    jmcd, I've never developed anything in stock Xtol. I have plenty of experience with 1:1, I used it for years with Neopan 400 and loved it. I used it once with FP4 and found it to be lacking sharpness. Maybe Xtol undiluted for something that doesn't need sharpness, like clouds. I will definitely try!

  4. #14

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    Print for the white to have detail if there is detail, and use contrast to set the blacks.

    If you have set up your development correctly, a full sun pic should print out with perfect whites & blacks on #2 or the paper of your choice.

    If the blacks are grey, develope less. If they go too black, then develope longer. When you do this, the printing time will shorten and lengthen respectively to get proper whites.
    What you are infact doing is decreasing or increasing negative highlight density. Exposre controls the shadaw density.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    ...Highlights to my work are the most important thing. Shadows to me, depending on how important they are of course many times can come or go, but an important highlight needs to be just that perfect tone to make a print sing.
    For me both highlights and shadows are important. They are a means to an end - which is a convincing sense of substance throughout. This is true for me even if the image is quite a departure from what the eye would have seen.

    Highlights, if too white, tend to look like holes in the picture.

    Printing for the highlights and letting the shadows merge into featureless black always seems to me a cheap trick. We have a very highly regarded photographer around here who does that almost all the time, and the images are always very dramatic. The public loves them. The reason that they work so well is that she has a terrific ability to see the potential for coherent design when working with the camera. She also has had a long lifetime of experience.

    Uncharacteristically, when printing for a recent show, I actually allowed an area which had plenty of detail in the negative go totally black. I thought of the person mentioned above as I was doing it. I don't think I've ever really done that before, at least since about 1965, and probably won't do it again anytime soon, either, but for that particular image it was perfect. It can be effective. However, even if you want to do something like that, you make it a lot easier for yourself if the negatives have a good foundation in the shadows.

    The challenge with sunlight (expanded from a point source) is that without keeping the image fairly simple, it is easy to fragment the image. It may be counter-intuitive, but sunlight doesn't reveal; it tends to obscure.

  6. #16
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowzart View Post
    The challenge with sunlight (expanded from a point source) is that without keeping the image fairly simple, it is easy to fragment the image. It may be counter-intuitive, but sunlight doesn't reveal; it tends to obscure.
    bowzart, can you elaborate on this?

  7. #17
    bowzart's Avatar
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    To take it to an extreme, consider lith film which produces an image with no middle tones, just black and white. Most photographs just plain can't work with it, unless they are kept very simple. Think of a sidelit face with the triangular nose shadow and dark eye sockets, maybe with part of the eyelid completely white. Both eyelids? White shapes that aren't descriptive emerging from black void. Not only that, which is pretty obvious, but the turning of the surface away from the light would cause a break; one side being white, the other black. The shape of the edge would be produced by the shape that the light is falling upon, but would do something quite different from a legible description. The point is that the shape the light makes against the dark must read to the eye; the light makes it's own shapes as it falls upon a surface.

    You don't need lith film to see effects like this. A disorganized pattern (or lack thereof) of light on even a fairly clearly defined form will produce an image of its own doing, having very little to do with how we see the image. You can destroy form quite easily.

    Minor White used to call light from an overcast sky "revealing light". That's because the light from all parts of the sky lights underneath forms extended out into space. Sunlight, with the same form, would produce shadows which might not show the form clearly at all.

    Sunlight can be very challenging. Overcast isn't anywhere nearly as difficult. Here's an assignment. Have someone blindfold you and lead you around so you don't kill yourself, on a sunny day. Make exposures. Print them ALL, so you aren't selecting for "good" ones. You are bound to produce a great example of this. You won't see it as clearly in your normal work because you are looking for organization whether you know it or not. Being aware of what the light is lighting, the shapes it produces in its interaction with the surface, makes a big difference. "Critical Seeing".

  8. #18

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    I think the technical quality of your photographs look great. Here in Greenland I always struggle with the exposure when outside in bright sun light. Especially when I'm one the ice. I use 35mm only. I tend to guess the exposure and leave the meter alone. So far it works. I use Neopan 100 Acros and ADOX CHS 50@100 in Rodinal a lot. Always with a UV filter. When I have to use a fast film in bright sun I use Tri-X or Neopan 400 always in Tetenal Emofin (2-bath developer). When printing I try to get as much detail in the important areas of the photograph as possible so that means sometime I have to sacrifice other zones if the negative is really extreme. Though, I never let some of my highlights go pure paper base white. I use Ilford MGFB Warmtone Glossy for most of my work.

    Greetings from the high north

  9. #19

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    When it comes to exposure in bright sunlight I use a handheld meter,Weston master V, and either take a reading from my hand and open up a stop, or take a incident reading, as for the printing, it depends onwhat I see on the neg, and what I want,sometimes I go for detail, sometime I would emphasive the shadows,depends what I "Feel" the negative says to me.Richard

  10. #20

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    A question: does negative compression thru BTZS (or similar) methodology result in loss of information? In the digital world, compressed image files, such as with jpeg, is information lost as compared to saving as a "tif". I wonder if the analogy is appropriate? I normally try to capture as much information as possible in the negative, then deal with it in the darkroom. Of course its easier to do when contact printing on long-scale processes/media.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

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