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  1. #1

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    going soon to shoot at night - any words of wisdom?

    I'm meeting a few friends uptown (it's dark here) to try some night photography. I'm taking my Hasselblad, shooting Tri-x. I've never done this before. I have a Minolta IVF meter.

    I looked first in the chatroom to see if any of you more-experienced night shooters were there, but nobody's there tonight. It's 7:30 p.m., Sat. night (1/15/11), in case anyone wants to offer advice. Or here. I'll watch for a few minutes before I leave.

    I imagine lots of you know things I've not thought of yet. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Good Evening, Janet,

    1--Rock solid tripod
    2--Cable release (locking, unless your shutter has a "T" setting)
    3--flashlight
    4--watch
    5--warm clothes
    6--black card (Hold in front of lens as shutter is tripped, especially with SLR; wait for vibrations to subside; remove card for exposure.)
    7--T-Max 100 or Acros instead of Tri-X for better reciprocity response
    8--soft-working developer (Technidol, if you can find any)
    9--High boredom tolerance as minutes-long exposures take place
    10--Expectation that future trips with exposure/development fine-tuning will be required.

    Good luck, and have fun.

    Konical

  3. #3
    phaedrus's Avatar
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    EV -1 to -2 or same correction in manual.

  4. #4

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    Konical - Gosh, I wish I'd gotten this before I left for town! But for #10, this will be great. I had TMax film, but was thinking it had less latitude so didn't take it. rats. And the black card idea is a great one I never came close to thinking of on my own. I'll try that next time for sure.

    #9 makes me think I may get nothing because I didn't have any exposures even close to a minute. You're right - further trips will be needed, and we're looking forward to doing it again. Thank you!

    Phaedrus, I'm not at all sure how the -1, -2 applies to my camera. I guess I don't understand, but it's ok. Thank you for replying. I'll look into that.

    Thank you both.

  5. #5
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    Another good use for the black card is if you are shooing near a road and don't want headlights in it, use the black card to cover the lens whenever cars go by. Just make sure to extend your exposure by the amount of time you cover your lens.

    As for number 9, were you shooting the film at 400? If so, depending on the kind of light you had where you were shooting, exposures will often be several minutes. I use T-Max 100 and get exposures from 1 to 20 minutes depending on conditions and the aperture I chose. Exposures of less than a minute are pretty rare for me, I would have to be shooting at 2.8 or below to get that and since I use an RB67, I don't have such large apertures.

    As for the -1 and -2, I am guessing that he is referring to adjustment for reciprocity failure. If you did not adjust for that, you will likely have severely underexposed negatives, especially with Tri-X. The tabular type films, such as Acros, T-Max and Delta, tend to do somewhat better with reciprocity failure. From the specs provided by the manufacturers, Acros would appear to be the champion in that regard.

  6. #6
    phaedrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgcull View Post
    Phaedrus, I'm not at all sure how the -1, -2 applies to my camera. I guess I don't understand, but it's ok. Thank you for replying. I'll look into that.

    Thank you both.
    You're welcome. What I meant was: don't be fooled by the metering system of your camera, it will try to pull something out of the deep shadows. If you want color (or detail) in you highlights, expose with an appropriate minus correction. Often makes hand-held possible again.

  7. #7
    phaedrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Sorensen View Post
    As for the -1 and -2, I am guessing that he is referring to adjustment for reciprocity failure. If you did not adjust for that, you will likely have severely underexposed negatives, especially with Tri-X. The tabular type films, such as Acros, T-Max and Delta, tend to do somewhat better with reciprocity failure. From the specs provided by the manufacturers, Acros would appear to be the champion in that regard.
    Nope, you'd *add* exposure time to correct for reciprocity failure. Agree with you about the uncannily good reciprocity characteristics of Acros, though. Even if he isn't a tabular grain film.

  8. #8

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    >>If so, depending on the kind of light you had where you were shooting, exposures will often be several minutes.<<

    That makes me wonder if I'll see much of anything at all on my film. There was a little light in places (streetlights in a parking lot, and an occasional window light) but not much. I don't think any of my exposures were even as long as 1 minute. I'll see what I get when I get into the darkroom, and try again.

    I love the tip about the black card when cars pass. That was a challenge as we tried it without dark cover over the lens.

    Thank you all!

    Now off to photograph friends rounding up cattle to take to auction... in daylight.

  9. #9
    Rudeofus's Avatar
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    One more thing I would add: think of the extreme contrast you will encounter in most night scenes because of the dreaded 1/r² fall off of light. If you consider a scene with a few street lights, you'll essentially end up with a few bright spots in an otherwise black image. Unless you want just that, spend some time measuring light and make sure that at least some area of your image is neither bright white nor pitch black.

  10. #10

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    >Unless you want just that, spend some time measuring light and make sure that at least some area of your image is neither bright white nor pitch black.<

    How would I do that without a spot meter? Should I overexpose it a bit?

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