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  1. #1

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    Advice on exposing in a mechanic's shop

    In reality there is a lot of light. Flat light from translucent (sp) sky-lights and Two really big bay doors on the eastern side of the shop

    The times I have to shoot are in the afternoon, so the Bay doors are on the shady side.

    Basically the light is bright but extremely even.

    This is kind of an important project for me and I don't want flat lifelss images.

    Any advice would be helpful.

    PS-Images will be black and white as well as color.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  2. #2
    mrred's Avatar
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    Your choices are to increase contrast by creating shadows and / or control the light with brighter light.

  3. #3
    eddym's Avatar
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    The light may look flat, but I'll wager there will be some dark shadows somewhere. Only you can decide if they are important enough to render detail in them. Steve's advice is good; check the range of tones with a spot meter, and process your B&W film to match. You will also then know if you need to shoot a "normal" or a "vivid" color film. Kodak Portra NC and VC are the best examples.
    Eddy McDonald
    www.fotoartes.com
    Eschew defenestration!

  4. #4

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    If you can't use additional light to control the scene, check the SBR and overdevelop if you don't have enough contrast. If you can, do a quick test a few days before the main shoot.
    "The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation"

  5. #5

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    Good advise. Bracket if you can. I know film is not cheap but neither is you time nor reputation for a re-shoot. Whenever I had a shoot at a location where I couldn't modify the light I always bracketed 1-2 stops over and under, yes, it is a waste but at least I got a useable photo and that is what they where paying me for.

  6. #6

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    hi mark

    i have done similar things ..
    what i usually do is ..
    go the a spot with bright sun and shadow
    put your light meter with the globe towards your camera.
    get a reading for the light, and then for the shadow
    average them ... and over expose by at least 1 fstop and bracket.
    do some bracketed exposures after flashing your film too and use a compensating developer ..

    have fun!
    john

  7. #7
    lilmsmaggie's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I'm a newbie taking a beginning B&W photography class. This "SBR" thingy is interesting. I've wondered recently about properly exposing for good tonal range, especially after a recent shoot. My next assignment involves shallow DOF, but I'm trying to understand how I should meter a scene/subject using the camera's meter to obtain a properly exposed negative that is neither too light or too dark and would render a good print.

    In the past, I've just pointed the camera at the subject/scene and used the camera's meter to determine overall exposure and not exactly considering tonal ranges. But as I mentioned above, the last shoot got me to thinking if I was metering the subject/scene properly. That's why I'm interested in this "SBR" topic. I have a feeling I'm doing something wrong. I've heard: "Expose for the shadows, process for highlights," but not quite sure what that really means.

    Does my statement/question make sense?

  8. #8

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    Knowing the brightness range helps knowing the brightness range.
    Very often, that means that you know what will disappear into darkness and/or what will be leached by overexposure.
    You can only do something about that by asjustingboth exposure and processing. Exposure should suffice for the shadow details to register. Processing should be short enough that the highlights don't block up That's what that old, but very valid adage is about.

    Metering the scene to get the most important bit of it (your subject) exposed properly is the most important bit though.
    You do not necessarily also need to capture all detail on the extreme ends of the range as well to create a good image. And every often, you don't want to capture a large brightness range.

    But if you do (or if you want to decrease the range - which alsohappens), some playing around, testing different exposures and processing options to see how they affect contrast will be needed.
    I really hate to, but at this time giving the Zone System a mention is not inappropriate. It, despite the misplaced cult following it has, is a great teaching tool.

  9. #9
    lilmsmaggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    Start with post #3 on this thread. You don't have a spot meter, then go up closely and meter the darkest shadow detail you want and the brightest area and take a reading.

    I used the spot meter on my Nikon f100 and the zoom lens at 300mm [I was NOT going to walk up to the top of Half Dome, but you get the concept], then I took a spot reading of the shadow detail in the densely packed trees. Finally I took a overall reading. It was an SBR of 12 stops. I then adjusted the camera to between the two readings and compared it to the overall reading. If it is close I use the calculated reading, otherwise I take two photographs one using the calculated reading and the other the overall reading. The film captured the SBR without the brights blowing out.
    No spot meter. I have to rely on the in-camera meter. The subject that I had in mind when I read this thread was one of a building shot in morning light (around 8-8:30), clear skies. The building was surrounded by trees with heavy foilage. I had to shoot from across the street which meant that the building was side-lighted by the morning sun. As a result, parts of the building had darker shadows but still showed detail. I don't remeber the settings exactly, but I think I made the shot at 1/1000 @ f3.5, 1/500 @ f3.5, and 1/250 @3.5. And I tried a few other shots stopping down to f8, and f16.

    I probably should have used the DOF preview button - but I was being harrassed by a meter maid at the time, so I was kinda rushed.

    The class requires a choice of Tri-X, FP4, HP5, or Delta 400 or equivalent.
    I shot this scene with HP5. For the remainder of the class, I will be shooting Delta 400.

    The developer will be D-76.

  10. #10
    lilmsmaggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    The best bet is to process the film and see what you have. I do not think that you will need to reshoot, but you may have to.
    Whaa! you mean no instant gratification like with digital? It'll be at least two weeks before we get to develop this particular shoot in class.

    I guess I'll just need to get used to that aspect about shooting film.
    Looks like I better plan on bracketing like crazy and hope for the best.
    The other thing is I don't trust the meter in my Minolta X-700. I just get this feeling in my stomach that the roll may be overexposed But heck with 36 frames and maybe limiting the number of subjects I choose to shoot, I may just hit the jackpot

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