Exposure advice for overcast skies/Flat Light
I am shooting at my mother's family farm Monday prior to it being auctioned in December. The weather looks like it will be overcast at best, I am looking for advice on the best ways to rate my films to get the best negs I can. I will be contact printing 8x10 and 5x7 as well as shooting some MF with my Rolliecord. The films I am using are:
8x10: JandC 200, typical ei@100
5x7: TMY (ei400) and FP4 (ei100)
MF: TX, Foma 100, and EPY all at box speed.
available developers: HC-110, Rodinal, Pyrocat HD, Diafine
Should I lower my EI and overdevelop to increase contrast? or just go with what know and work on it when I print?
Since you won't be able to repeat the shoot, I'd say go with what you know. But when you get back, I'd say study the Zone System or BTZS and learn a system for altering your exposure and development. For such a valuable shoot, I wouldn't want to experiment.
If you are printing on VC paper then going with what you know will work.
If you increase your development to increase contrast, then you would RAISE not lower your EI. Unless this devlopment time was quite extendend the amount of change would likely be in range1/3-1/2 stop.
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
As Claire says, reduce exposure (increase EI) modestly, and try increasing development for flat light.
If you haven't run development tests for expansion development, you could shoot a couple of frames of each shot, process one, proof it, and adjust development time for the second shot to increase or decrease print contrast. If lighting conditions will be relatively consistent, you could do this for just one or two shots, pin down development time, and then process the remaining sheets using the development time that works.
Less exposure and more development = higher contrast
More exposure and less development = less contrast
I typicaly shoot flat light using box speeds and 'standard' development times to get a #2 filter negative. When the light is casting normal shadows I cut my film speed by one stop and dev times by %25. When the shadows are harsh, I cut film speed a bit more (total of -1 1/3 stops) and development by %33. This gives me negatives that regularly print well with either a #2 or #2 1/2 filter on VC paper.
As the others have stated, stick with what you know since you won't be able to go back and shoot again. IF you want to try to work with it a bit, stick with the sheet film for the experiments and expose both sheets in the holder on the same subject - one with your standard methods and the other with your trial method. Mark each side clearly so that you don't have problems finding which is which when it comes time to develop them. You can then compare the results of the new method with your standard method and see the differences while still having one good negative made with known values.
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
My standard flow has me shooting both sides of a filmholder with identical exposures, I develop one sheet, and then have the option of shifting my development on the second sheet.
If in doubt, overexpose - easier to pull detail out of overexposed highlights than underexposed shadow when printing....
Just curious - why are you planning on shooting so many different types of film? - I generally find that one film will give me what I want, and can tweak with development. Standardizing on one film will allow you to get to know it better, and not have to guess as much about what your results will be.
If you do not have time to investigate a number of exposure systems I would say Keep Things Simple. If the lighting is truly "flat" there is no reason that a simple incident meter reading increased by one stop would not work just fine. Just point your meter at your camera. Check yourself by reading an 18% grey card on the same plane as your incident meter reading and putting the grey card reading on Zone VI. I would bet that these readings are pretty darn close if not dead on.
Originally Posted by juan