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  1. #1
    Holly's Avatar
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    Don't want blah-looking blown-out sky! Filters/clever exposure for LF landscape?

    Hey guys
    How would I make sure that the sky in a landscape scene of green trees, overcast sky/even light grey colour sky doesn't blow out, and the greens stay at the right value and don't go murky?
    I'm using a Toyo View, 135mm lens, Ektar 100.
    So far I've been thinking: a soft grad ND filter, exposing for the greens using incident.
    Trouble with that picture is, I can't afford an ND filter at present.
    So are there any genius ways I can expose/use my polarizing filter to balance the white/grey sky with very dense greens, and NOT end up with a white, blown-out sky, or dull murky foliage?
    Am I always going to have to compromise between the sky exposure and the foliage exposure? I want the sky to be the true mid-grey that it is, and not a blah field of white!
    Is this kind of exposure always going to call for filters?

  2. #2
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Polarizor filter
    Red filter
    Orange filter
    Yellow filter
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

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    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    Polarizor filter
    Red filter
    Orange filter
    Yellow filter
    Colored filter with Color film? Err.. Polarizor would help some though.

  4. #4
    Maris's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Holly View Post
    Hey guys
    How would I make sure that the sky in a landscape scene of green trees, overcast sky/even light grey colour sky doesn't blow out, and the greens stay at the right value and don't go murky?
    There is a big brightness range between green trees and a high bright overcast sky so there is no film exposure, no film development strategy that will deliver approximate mid-tone gradation in both.

    I'm using a Toyo View, 135mm lens, Ektar 100.
    So far I've been thinking: a soft grad ND filter, exposing for the greens using incident.
    This will work because the grad ND filter effectively becomes part of the subject matter. It just doesn't look like it because it is so close to the lens.

    Trouble with that picture is, I can't afford an ND filter at present.
    Grad ND filters, filter holders, and lens adapters are buyable off Ebay at low prices. They come from China and offer useful quality.

    So are there any genius ways I can expose/use my polarizing filter to balance the white/grey sky with very dense greens, and NOT end up with a white, blown-out sky, or dull murky foliage?
    I think no. An overcast sky is essentially unpolarised so a polarising filter can't do much to it.

    Am I always going to have to compromise between the sky exposure and the foliage exposure? I want the sky to be the true mid-grey that it is, and not a blah field of white!
    The sky is a blah field of white if you look at the foliage. The foliage is murky if you look at the sky. The only place where both have nice tonal values simultaneously is in the mind. The brain collects images from the eyes, stitches them, gives them the HDR treatment and then presents the results to the consciousness. This happens to every one of us and no one can turn this off by effort of will.

    Is this kind of exposure always going to call for filters?
    To make the picture in the camera look like the picture in the mind an additional piece of subject matter, the grad ND filter, needs to be present in front of the lens in addition to the sky and the trees.

    An alternative to ND filtration at the camera-work stage is mask the sky area of the transparency when using it as a source for further picture production.
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

  5. #5
    tomalophicon's Avatar
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    I know of someone who masks the the lens and exposes for some parts of the scene, then masks that part and exposes for the other part of the scene.

  6. #6
    Maris's Avatar
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    Pardon my error about transparency masking. I'd forgotten that Ektar is a colour negative film. As such it offers three darkroom procedures for getting sky tone, burning-in during projection on to photographic paper, pre-flashing, and positive masking.
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

  7. #7
    Holly's Avatar
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    Thankyou Maris, that was good advice. I do get annoyed with my camera's inability to see the world the way my brain does
    As my lecturers tell me, the camera is a very blunt instrument.
    Cheap Ebay filters work ok do they? I'm always a bit wary of the cheap ones, fear they are inferior and dunno whether to take the risk. I've seen countless ones on Ebay though, will investigate further.
    What's pre-flashing, I don't know if I'm familiar with that..?

    And thanks guys for the masking tip - if I can find a point in the scene which a join line wouldn't show up in too much, I can play around with doing separate exposures for sky and land on the same neg. Or could I just even layer the second sky exposure over the first, kind of burning-in that area? Hmmm

  8. #8
    SteveR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holly View Post
    I'm always a bit wary of the cheap ones, fear they are inferior...
    The way I see it, 'inferior' to what? Inferior to using no filter? Personally, if there was a shot that was not possible to photograph without a certain filter, a cheap screw thread filter on hand at the time would be worth much more than a full Lee system sitting in a shop window in town.

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  9. #9
    Maris's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Holly;1107316]
    Thankyou Maris, that was good advice. I do get annoyed with my camera's inability to see the world the way my brain does
    As my lecturers tell me, the camera is a very blunt instrument.
    Cheap Ebay filters work ok do they? I'm always a bit wary of the cheap ones, fear they are inferior and dunno whether to take the risk. I've seen countless ones on Ebay though, will investigate further.
    The biggest problem with cheap grad ND's is lack of exact colour neutrality. If you are exposing colour negative material this doesn't matter much because there is a valuable opportunity for colour correction when making the positive. Even for colour transparencies the need for exact neutrality is overblown since only rarely is the in-camera material the final product. Usually the transparency is a stepping stone to somewhere else and again there are colour correction opportunities.

    The world of grad ND filters is rather deep: soft grad, hard grad, 1stop, 2 stop, 3 stop, and so on...; wilful study required.
    What's pre-flashing, I don't know if I'm familiar with that..?
    Preflashing is giving photographic paper a tiny all-over exposure to use up the "inertia" of the paper but without (just) generating discernable density. Now any additional exposure, even from the dense parts of the negative corresponding to the sky, will produce discernable tone. The resulting tone is very light and acknowledges the presence of the sky but doesn't deliver rivers of detail. Accumulated knowledge about preflashing is a mini encyclopedia in its own right; wilful study required.

    And thanks guys for the masking tip - if I can find a point in the scene which a join line wouldn't show up in too much, I can play around with doing separate exposures for sky and land on the same neg. Or could I just even layer the second sky exposure over the first, kind of burning-in that area? Hmmm
    Contrast control of negatives usually proceeds via unsharp positive masking. The techniques are supremely exacting and precise. Special equipment such as masking film and precision register punches and pins is part of the deal. Those who excell at this have generally done an extended apprenticeship. Again, there is a lot of deep knowledge here.
    Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.

  10. #10
    lxdude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maris View Post
    Contrast control of negatives usually proceeds via unsharp positive masking. The techniques are supremely exacting and precise. Special equipment such as masking film and precision register punches and pins is part of the deal. Those who excell at this have generally done an extended apprenticeship. Again, there is a lot of deep knowledge here.
    Is wilful study required?
    Excellent answers, BTW.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

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