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Thread: snow problem

  1. #11

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    If you want snow to sparkle then you need to increase local contrast. The yellow filter that Juan mentions does that by affecting the blue sky reflections that all sunlit snow contains.

    Another means of increasing local contrast would be to meter and open the lens one stop (after adjusting for filter factors) which would place the snow values on Zone VI and then giving the film plus one or one and one half development. Since increased development is more affective of the higher film densities (snow) the local contrast is increased.

  2. #12
    rogueish's Avatar
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    You can also meter off the back of your hand if nothing else is available. Also off a friend's gray coat, cement walls, old pavement (new pavement is still black), off a gray dog once, and trees (as already mentioned) are good too.

  3. #13
    Lee L's Avatar
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    I always carry the palm of my left hand with me. I know from comparing to a gray card that it's 1 stop brighter than medium gray. So in difficult lighting, I put the palm of my hand in the same light as the subject and then open up 1 stop from the recommended exposure. I'd bracket in half-stops over what seemed an appropriate range if the lighting were very contrasty.

    Here's the Ansel Adams rundown on snow:

    Shadows on snow in sunlit landscapes Zone VI - open up 1 stop
    Average snow with acute side lighting Zone VII - open up 2 stops
    Textured snow Zone VIII - open up 3 stops
    Snow in flat sunlight Zone IX - open up 4 stops

    These all assume that you're spot metering off the snow itself under the given conditions.

    See my gallery for a woodpile in the snow. I metered with the camera's spot meter and opened up 2 1/2 stops from the sunlit snow reading. Reflected light from the snow was filling in the shadows, so the contrast range wasn't that excessive. Donald's advice is good for flatter lighting than I had.

    Hope this helps.

    Lee

  4. #14
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    I have observed that many photographers (including your's truly)make the mistake of thinking that snow is white. It really isn't, especially in shadow. Sunlit scenes will have so much contrast you will probably have to consider reducing it during development. I made the mistake of thinking a Wratten 11 or 15 would bring out the "sparkles" in a local scene - wrong! The result was completely dark shadows without any detail (TX400). I rephotographed with a Wratten 47 (blue) and the shadows popped out perfectly. This seems to fly in the face of general logic until one considers that the shadows in a sunlit scene are illuminated by blue light.

    Several posts have advised the use of incident metering which is good. I use the palm-of-the-hand method when using a spot meter in such situations but mostly just guess based on "sunny-16". Contrast can be modified, slightly, through development but keep good records. (How many images in the galleries have "unknown, unrecorded, et c. given as the exposure specs?)
    I love the smell of fixer in the morning. It smells like...creativity!
    Truly, dr bob.

  5. #15

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    [QUOTE=dr bob] I made the mistake of thinking a Wratten 11 or 15 would bring out the "sparkles" in a local scene - wrong! The result was completely dark shadows without any detail (TX400). I rephotographed with a Wratten 47 (blue) and the shadows popped out perfectly. This seems to fly in the face of general logic until one considers that the shadows in a sunlit scene are illuminated by blue light.

    QUOTE]

    Dr. Bob it seems to me that your stated experience verifies that shadows are illuminated with blue light. Yellow filtration would be minus blue and that would account for the deepening of shadow values that you noted. The 47 blue filter is plus blue and would account for the lightening of shadow values that you indicated.

    This blue filter would have the effect of lowering local contrast within the snow itself since local contrast within the snow itself would contain small shadow areas that are lit by the same blue light that you noted in the shadows.

    While a full scale scene may have shadow and snow both included, the actual scene would need to be evaluated to determine the exposure and development considerations. However for local contrast in the snow itself yellow filtration and expanded development would enhance local contrast.

  6. #16
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    Leon, I meter from the snow and open up two stops as has been suggested and it works for me. One point that has not been mentioned is to use side lighting or back lighting to provide the shadows that gives the texture that makes large areas of white look like snow in a black and white print.
    "Digital circuits are made from analogue parts"
    Fourtune Cookie-Brooklyn May 2006

    Website: www.lesmcleanphotography.com

  7. #17
    rbarker's Avatar
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    Mmmmm, Zone III snow. That would be different.

    I agree - if metering the snow itself, open up, not close down the aperture to push the snow value up the scale. But, I sometimes confuse that myself.

    Assuming a sun angle sufficient to create some texture, Leon, the highlights in the snow will be full spectrum, but the micro shadows will be heavily blue. Thus, the yellow filter accentuates that by darkening the blue shadows, as it does with blue sky. Even heavier filtration can work, depending on what else is in the scene.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  8. #18
    Dave Miller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ole
    Open up two stops, not close down!
    Well, at least I got the number right.
    Regards Dave.

    An English Eye


  9. #19
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leon
    any tips?
    Provia F100, 81A
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  10. #20

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    Leon, you use of a staining dev like pyrocat (which I know you use) will help enormously if you get hot scintilations or whatever they are called. From experience in full sun in Spain and South Africa on small rocks, logs etc these devs really help to hold things within an easily printable (or burnable) range. You will have good margin for error with local overexposure etc with these devs, which you will be thankful for if you get shaded wnow and sunlit etc. Personally I dont just meter one area, I would meter a few areas of snow therefore getting a fuller idea of the range to be meshed with the neg, but I am sure you would do this anyway. You'll have no problems.

    Tom

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