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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deit39 View Post
    Are there any general rules of thumb for metering in fresh fallen snow?
    So.. what are your tips for shooting in the snow?
    OK, take it from basic principles.

    Snow is white, so you want it to look white in the print (metering without exposure compensation will render it as grey in your print).

    You want the snow to show texture in the print? Open up (let in MORE light: use a smaller "f" numer, i.e. a larger opening in the aperture) 2 to 2.5 stops.

    None or little texture? Open up 3 stops.

    Taking it another way.

    Snow is white = 90% reflectivity (meter assumes 18%).

    So, snow reflects 5x more than expected, so increase exposure time 5 times.

    (Hence, for example, 1/250th becomes 5 x 1/125th = 1/25th

    In the negatives, snow should look dark as snow is a "highlight".
    Last edited by Galah; 12-21-2009 at 06:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Galah View Post
    OK, take it from basic principles.

    Snow is white, so you want it to look white in the print (metering without exposure compensation will render it as grey in your print).

    You want the snow to show texture in the print? Open up (let in MORE light: use a smaller "f" numer, i.e. a larger opening in the aperture) 2 to 2.5 stops.
    It will already show texture when you take your reading directly off the snow itself, i.e. put it in the middle of the scale.
    No need (on the contrary) to open up the aperture for that.

  3. #23
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    If your negatives are super dense, you may be over-developing. I'm surprised no one mentioned that yet.

    Have you run tests with this film and developer combo? Does it give you consistent results in other high contrast situations?

  4. #24
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    If you read the snow on the middle of the scale it will certainly show texture but it will land in that part of the curve (straight line) where tones are separated the most. Also, all those dark things like trees, skiers, space aliens, schmoos, will be featureless black (holes in the world). What you'd naturally do then in the darkroom as an intuitive remedy to a vastly underexposed negative would be to increase the contrast to bring it back up to a full scale, and then your snow will look like chromium plated on sandpaper. Try it and see.

    You've got a meter capable of straight incident reading. All you have to do is use it.

  5. #25

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    ok. my temp of chemicals was roughly 70F and according to D-76 I required 14 mins.. I did an initial water wash for a minute then developer I did an initial 30 sec agitation and then 10 seconds every minute for the remaining 13.5 mins.. Sprint stop for 2 mins, Ilford Rapid Fixer 1:9 for (from memory) 10 mins, wash for 3 mins, Hypo clear for 3 mins, another wash for 5 mins dumping frequently, then photoflo for 30 secs or so..

  6. #26

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    bowzart is right. And as alluded earlier, if you compensate the Zone V placement of the snow with +1 or +1.5 development, sparkles and textures will sing... perhaps even a bit TOO loudly especially if you print the now Zone VI or VI.5 down to V or V.5. I know it sounds strange but SOMETIMES that's the way to print snow. You can also compensate with selenium toner in lieu of the overdevelopment for a smilar effect plus the added benefit of archival treatment of the negs... all else done properly.

  7. #27
    bowzart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1234 View Post
    ... And as alluded earlier, if you compensate the Zone V placement of the snow with +1 or +1.5 development, sparkles and textures will sing... perhaps even a bit TOO loudly ...
    It's not just the sparkles and textures, although that is certainly an important element.

    Snow covers things that together may constitute a very complex surface creating a new surface that modulates light in a very subtle way. Placing the whites at mid value and increasing development or printing on higher grade of paper exaggerates these subtle differences and makes them scream when singing a lullaby would be more appropriate.

    If the snow isn't represented by the part of the curve where it belongs, the tonal relationships can never be correct no matter what you do in developing the film or in printing. Also, the absence of shadow densities and the attempt to represent mid values by densities that more appropriately belong to shadows will give a strange, and generally unattractive appearance to the image as a whole. The net effect would be similar to "pushing film," which relies on a simplistic assumption that exposure and development are interchangeable. They aren't. It may be possible to help the shadows (see dfcardwell's thread on shaping the curve with Rodinal) by using minimized agitation, but that requires some background experience. The last thing one would normally do with a snow scene would be to "push", but that is exactly what would be done if placing the snow at mid value.

  8. #28
    Andy K's Avatar
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    My rule of thumb for shooting in snow: Meter with the camera and open up a couple of stops.


    -----------My Flickr-----------
    Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by bowzart View Post
    The last thing one would normally do with a snow scene would be to "push", but that is exactly what would be done if placing the snow at mid value.
    Everything you stated is correct. This is why I said you might "sometimes" want to use that method. It depends on the condition of the snow, lighting, compositional elements, and what you want to achieve. It was only one of many options I listed.

    I only did that a couple of times:
    1. When shooting a frozen snow covered lake and all I need to show (enhance) were very subtle tones.
    2. When the lighting was a bit soft so shadows and textures were softened.

    It just depends on the particular situation.

  10. #30
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    I'm curious.
    I did take a quick photo of a snowed path, overcast white sky, and trees (dark) in the middle of the composition. Snow doesn't have much texture, but it's white (at least to my eye). I can remember that all I did was follow the meter reading, maybe just 1/2 stop over.
    It has come out well to the trees, that affected the reading (center weighted metering), so I overexposed; Negatives look quite dense. Or the drugstore lab corrected it magically?

    With slide film, do you recommend to expose 2 stops over the meter reading? Negatives holds this extra light well, but slide...

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