Two unrelated questions!
1. I'm having real trouble with my outdoor shots. While human subjects are usually exposed well, I am always getting blown out ugly skies, which is pretty lame. How do I expose for good skies while the subject is exposed as well?
2. I am also looking to achieve cleaner, more "glamorous" portrait shots. When I use tri-x 400, I get an in focus, well exposed shot that looks slightly dirty (if you know what I mean). Can someone recommend a great black and white film that is very clean and great for portrait with very nice tones?
Thanks in advance...
Fill flash maybe.
Originally Posted by lft
Delta or T-Max?
Originally Posted by lft
Mark Barendt, Beaverton, OR
"We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin
1. Problem is a range of subject brightness greater than the film can handle. Mark has it right: anything to throw some light into the darker areas so that they are closer in brightness to the sky. That way, exposing/developing so that the sky looks more natural doesn't result in relative underexposure of the darker areas. Even a large white foamcore board or a light-colored wall can serve as a reflector.
2. Second the vote for TMAX or Delta. I like 320TXP as well but it's trickier in bright outdoor light. Not sure what you mean by "dirty". Do you mean flat and lacking contrast? If so, try downrating 400TX to 200 or 250 and developing the same as you are already. See what you get and adjust development time accordingly.
Guess I really didn't need to post this, since I basically reiterated everything Mark said earlier, and better!
I guess I should rephrase! I'm looking for smoother tones rather than the real grainy pictures that I usually get from Tri-X
MikeSeb is right you need to drop the contrast, increase exposure and cut development slightly, and that will help with both your questions.
I guess by dirty you mean the gritty grainy look that Tri-X in particular is known for and was exploited by photo journalists in the 60's & 70's. If you want the speed then switch to Tmax or Delta 400, or the 100 ISO versions if speed isn't an issue. All those film will give you better tonality.
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you want to "darken" the skies it sounds like? Maybe orange or red filter and a polarizer. Lengthen exposure appropriately and highlight subject (flash).
* Just because your eyes are closed, doesn't mean the lights in the darkroom are off. *
* When the film you put in the camera is worth more than the camera you put the film in... *
* When I started using 8x10, it amazed me how many shots were close to the car. *
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As to the grain, are you processing your own film or sending out?
"Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti
Its not clear if your problem 1) is with B&W film, but if it is then I second the suggestion from Jeff - it will work a treat (and a yellow 1 stop filter would give the most subtle change, a red the greatest).
Originally Posted by Jeff Searust
If the skies are blue, as Jeff says, use a yellow, orange, or red filter or a polarizer. If the sky is hazy, use a graduated netural density filter. It will be darkened, but still won't have much detail.
For outdoor use, I would recommend a slower, finer grain film. Something like Ilford FP4 might be good. Relatively fine grain and higher contrast. If the contrast seems to high, pull it a little. It will give smooth skies and sharp detail. Do you even need the speed of Tri-X for portraits? Even there I would go with a slower, finer grain film.
My philosophy has always been, go with the slowest, finest grain film that will do the job. Unless you're looking for the grainy look, why make things difficult. Just IMHO.
I develop my own.
Originally Posted by Christopher Walrath