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  1. #1
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    Printing night time shots - how's it done?

    Hello

    I've been printing for a couple of months now, but I'm still having trouble with night time shots. I like to shoot at night, by street light, and would like to print some photos but they're just not coming out. The darks are fine, but I'm loosing the lights.

    My enlarger is setup at f8. I've been doing test strips, but they're not coming out either

    Can someone tell me what the secret is? Longer exposure, shorter exposure? Different f-stop on the enlarger lens?

    I use Fujiblo paper and either Dektol or Korektol-E.
    Those who know, shoot film

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    It's likely your negatives are too thin, probably under exposed. Ideally you need to post some images, try stopping down a bit more to f11 or ven f16 and see what happens, increase the paper grade if necessary.

    Ian

  3. #3
    hpulley's Avatar
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    Graded or variable contrast paper? What grade? What exposure time? What developer time?
    Harry Pulley - Visit the BLIND PRINT EXCHANGE FORUM

    Happiness is...

  4. #4
    IloveTLRs's Avatar
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    Okay, I'll try stopping down next time and see if that helps.
    Those who know, shoot film

  5. #5

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    If you are losing highlights, you are probably exposing the paper too much. Also consider increasing the contrast (I'm unfamiliar with the particular paper you are using and whether it is VC or graded).

    If you want the best (in my opinion) methodology for printing consistent images, check out the darkroom automation meters and timers. Armed with the meter and the charts you can print just about any negative that is properly exposed or developed, and many that are not. What you end up with is a workmanlike print, and a good starting point for specific adjustments (much like using auto-exposure). It is based on spot metering, though, so you get to pick the shadows and highlights rather than the midtones, and it works well for high contrast / dark scenes.

  6. #6
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    What exactly do you mean by "losing the highlights"? are they blown out, without detail, or are they gray and mushy? That will help a lot in giving you printing guidance, because the fixes for each problem are quite different.

  7. #7
    Nicholas Lindan's Avatar
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    The problem is likely in your negatives. Night shots with street lights need special care in developing - try using a divided developer like Divided D-23 or Diafine.

    The problem is made much worse if you are pushing the film as this increases contrast. Better to use a tripod and pull the film a stop or two.
    DARKROOM AUTOMATION
    f-Stop Timers - Enlarging Meters
    http://www.darkroomautomation.com/da-main.htm

  8. #8

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    The trouble with night time shots with street lights is that it is easy to get the exposure for the street lights or the dark areas but difficult to get them both at the same time. When am shooting by street lights I try to compose the shot with the head of the light hidden by something like a tree. As that is not always possible then try cutting contrast by lowering iso and reducing development and/or use a developer like D23.


    You may want to look for a copy of Night Photograhy by Andrew Sanderson, this is a great resource and addresses your problems.

  9. #9
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    For night time photography, I basically over expose and under develop quite a bit. One issue is reciprocity failure. If you are making long exposures, say over a second or two, and not accounting for this you are likely going to have underexposed negs for that reason. Different films have differing amounts of reciprocity failure. You can get an idea from the data sheet provided by the manufacturer, but testing will be helpful too. Also, as indicated above, contrast is very high when shooting scenes with streetlights and such, so by increasing exposure and reducing development, you can reduce the contrast in the negatives.

    Good luck.

  10. #10

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    If you mean by "blowing out the highlights" that any bright area becomes completely blank, you might want to try split printing. Print the paper with an appropriate contrast (for night shots, I use VC paper at grade 3 or 3.5 to fully bring out the contrast between bright and dark....which is what makes night shots so appealing). Then I have cut out a mask which allows me to burn in the bright areas, often using a very low contrast such as 0.0 or 0.5 until they are as you want them.

    Also, I have been using Ilford Delta 100 (120), following the reciprocity failure graph on the Ilford site to set the exposure times, and then pulling off about 1 min of development time in X-tol 1:1 based on temperature to avoid making the highlight part of the negative impenetrable

    I hope this is of some help.

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