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  1. #11
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Henderson View Post
    I spent a whole day photographing there on an overcast day last October. I just checked through my settings. ISO 1600, f4-f9.5 with probably f8 being the commonest; 1/15 handheld with IS. Even at these settings I'm exposing dark rather than light. The issue isn't helped by the fact that to get other than bland wide-angle shots you need a longish lens and so depth of field isn't something that you can forget about. I was using pretty much the same settings in pit 1- where the volume is- and in the glass cases/other pits.

    Based on this I couldn't possibly suggest that you will be OK with ISO400 film. You either need something faster or hope for more ambient light getting into the pits. I did see a Chinese guy photographing with a tripod but it was quite a quiet day, and for all I know he got pounced upon by the guards right after I saw him. Probably wouldn't be physically tenable on a busy day anyway.
    Based on what you have said, it sounds like 400 film is fine if one does not use f/8. I certainly would not expect to be able to use f/8 there with a 400 film. As always, photography is a balancing act. What is more important to you? Depth of field, or the qualities of a slower film?

    Whatever the choice you make is, it would certainly seem prudent to bring fast fixed-length lenses instead of zooms, as it is obviously a place with somewhat-low light levels. 50 1.4, 85 1.4 or 1.8, 100 f/2 or 105 f/2.5, etc.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  2. #12

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    I got my slides back today and thought I'd (1) thank everyone for their very helpful contributions, and (2) summarise how it went.

    As it turned out, it was raining buckets the day I went, but quite bright for a rainy day. There was enough light that I ended up shooting Provia 400X at box speed. My main lens was an 85/2; I had a 135/4 but generally couldn't find stable enough places to use it. (Contax IIIa and Sonnars, with a separate handheld meter, if you're keeping score at home.)

    There's a "no flash, no tripods" sign, although a lot of people were futilely using flash on their digicams anyway without apparent consequence. You don't get terribly close to the actual warriors, so the longer lenses were really necessary. I did find that 85 was long enough to get useful shots into the pits, and while there were times when I wished the 135 was faster, I didn't really feel the need for a longer lens.

    What I found most frustrating is that there's not much contrast: you end up shooting dirt-coloured statues against a dirt-coloured background and just hoping that something makes them stand out. In colour the results are OK but not especially dynamic; in b&w they would have been hopeless unless I targetted extremely high contrast. (If I were to go back and shoot in b&w, I'd probably want something like Tri-X in Diafine, more for the contrast than for the extra speed.)

    I've seen the slides now but haven't yet postprocessed any of the scans---I'll post some when I do.

    Thanks again to everyone who helped me out!

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  3. #13

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    These two are probably the best of the bunch. The first is with the 135/4, and an exposure too long for handholding, maybe 1/8 (I used the railing); the second is the 85/2, probably 1/30 at f/2.

    To my mind, the most visually interesting thing about the warriors is their individuality, which I was trying to show especially with the second image; these aren't just assembly-line statues, every one is different.

    -NT
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 5108770137_833c2639a4_z.jpg   5109364992_4d06cf04c8_z.jpg  
    Nathan Tenny
    San Diego, CA, USA

    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  4. #14
    mooseontheloose's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info and pictures Nathan -- very useful! I hope to visit China in the near future and the terracotta warriors are definitely on the list.
    Rachelle

    My favorite thing is to go where I've never been. D. Arbus

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