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  1. #1

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    Dense negatives. Overexposure.

    This past winter, I shot a variety of simple landscapes. I do not have a spot meter, so I was relying upon my nikon fe2 meter to tell me what a proper exposure was. Because ALL of these photos were taken during heavy snowfall, I wanted to make sure I gave the negative enough exposure as to render the snow white, so I opened up two stops (actually one stop and cut the film speed in half). Having just gotten back my negatives, it appears this may have been a bad idea. The majority of the negatives are so dense, that they may be washed out. I'm not sure what to do!??? Interestingly, the two rolls I shot without messing around with cutting the film speed in half/ect, rendered some rather nice negatives. I know many advocate exposing to the right, which is precisely what i did. Will I be able to print down properly?

    I'm going into the darkroom later this week.

    Thanks,

    Mark

  2. #2

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    "expose to the right" (i.e. exposing for the highlights) is pretty useful for digital (which I think is where you've come from), but isn't really applicable to film, where the general rule of thumb is to expose for the shadows

    (this caught me out for my first couple of rolls when I came back to film after a long digital sojourn)

  3. #3

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    I could be misunderstanding.... is to the right overexposure?

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    You may find that your negatives aren't overly dense, they just record a lot of white.

    Can you read newspaper text through the darkest part of the negatives? If so, they should print easily.

    Even if they have extra, un-needed density, they may still print easily. Modern black and white films have excellent capacity for over-exposure.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5

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    Have you tried printing the negs or getting a lab to print? With large amounts of white snow in each neg the negs will look very dense and dark or black but you need this to be the case so the prints in the snow areas will be white. The meter records the predominantly white landscape as grey and using this reading the snow will appear grey so using two stops more to get zone VII correct is the right thing to do.

    Until you try printing you won't know if the negs have been exposed correctly but unless the snow was only a small area of the scene percentage-wise exposing 1.5 to 2 stops extra is correct

    pentaxuser

  6. #6
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    mporter012,

    As MattKing pointed out, and I believe it too. Your overexposed negatives should be fine. In the enlarger, you print for a longer time than you would for a normally exposed negative, but that's not a serious problem.

  7. #7

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    mporter: You are new at this. Until you are more experienced you should make contact sheets and test prints of your negatives rather than trying to evaluate them by eye. It takes practice. With current films you typically have to be WAY overexposed for image detail to actually be "washed out".

  8. #8

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    hi mark

    the best thing to do is to print them if you have access to a darkroom.
    i ALWAYS over expose my film and over develop sometimes too, so i know i recorded
    as much of the good stuff on my film as i can. paper can't come close to offering up
    what the film might deliver, though, but that's ok ...

    if worse comes to worse, you might just use a filter in your enlarger when you print ..
    that's OK vc papers are the norm these days ...

    have fun!
    john

    ps. my film is usually bulletproof ( you can't even see through it ! and it prints beautifully )

  9. #9
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    When you print them, if the mid and low values are correct but the whites are light gray (it is a pretty characteristic type of print) then the negatives are over exposed. It is similar to a print of an under-exposed negative where the mid and high values are correct but the shadows are dark gray



 

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