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  1. #1
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Bracketing and how many?

    I know some photographers bracket exposures to later select the best exposed negative. Others bracket at the same exposure with slight changes in composition. Which are you? An exposure bracketer or composition bracketer and if so, on average, how many? Some may also bracket in a different way. Any thoughts?

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #2
    blansky's Avatar
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    Isn't the definition of bracketing that it involves exposure?

    Moving for compositing means its an entirely different picture.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  3. #3
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky View Post
    Isn't the definition of bracketing that it involves exposure?

    Moving for compositing means its an entirely different picture.
    Yes Blansky, but let's not be pedantic and try and employ a little imagination here.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  4. #4
    pstake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    I know some photographers bracket exposures to later select the best exposed negative. Others bracket at the same exposure with slight changes in composition. Which are you? An exposure bracketer or composition bracketer and if so, on average, how many? Some may also bracket in a different way. Any thoughts?
    If I have time for another shot and I'm not sure about the light, I bracket. This is pretty easy with portraits and such. Candids / street / documentary stuff is hard to bracket but I do if I can and feel that it's a good idea based on the lighting/.

  5. #5
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    I usually bracket with one other exposure -- often with the same exposure. I mostly use 8x10. So if it is an important image, I'll always expose a second sheet of film. Perhaps a stop more exposure if there is substantial dark areas in the image I want to make sure of...or at the same exposure if I think I may want to play with the development a little. And since I edit a lot before and while setting up the camera, most of my exposures end up being "important" and are thus 'bracketed'. On a day's stroll through the redwoods I might set the camera up 4 times. Eight sheets/4 holders with usually one to two more holders in the pack still. Of course occasionally I'll take a sheet of film out of the developing drum and go "Why in the h-double-L did I waste two sheets on this for?!"

    Okay -- so perhaps not fulfilling the dictionary definition of bracketing. It is kinda like it...sort of...

    I rarely shift the composition once I have taken that first image, but it has been known to happen. I have even have taken a vertical and backed it up with a horizontal.
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  6. #6
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    I don't bracket or really know anything about it, but I'm curious to hear what others have to say. I generally shoot too few pictures, always trying to get the first shot perfect and then move on. When I don't get it right, I am always really disappointed that I didn't try different exposures/compositons/apertures.

    So keep the comments coming. I have a gut feeling I'm going to come away from this thread with something useful.

  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I bracket - especially with slide film.

    But the size of the brackets varies with the film and the lighting.

    I don't consider changes in viewpoints to be bracketing, but rather "exploring".
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #8

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    I never bracket film, but I carry a digital with me and if I feel I need to bracket, I bracket 3 on that and use the same exposure on the film camera.
    5x7 Eastman-Kodak kit / B&L 135mm Zeiss Tessar + Compur Deckel
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    RB67 Pro S /50 4.5 / 90 3.8 / 180 4.5 / WLF / prism finder / polaback
    Random 35mm stuff

  9. #9
    polyglot's Avatar
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    No bracketing, not even for chromes. Get your metering right and you don't need to bracket.

    (I had 1 bad frame from about 300 on my last trip)

  10. #10
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    For personal work no bracketing ever; not in exposure, not in composition.

    I have a reliable and calibrated spotmeter. Development regimes N, N+1, N-1, etc, are all worked out and repeatable. Negative densities and the positive tones corresponding to them are predictable. The real challenges in photography lie way beyond the simple basics of exposure and development that anyone approximately competent should have worked out as step one.

    My view camera is steady on the tripod and I can look and re-look at the ground glass image maybe for half an hour or more. Sooner or later I will accept or reject the composition and in accepting it I will make it right. A photograph as personal expression cannot, even in principle, be wrong if the photographer chose it.

    When I did professional photography I bracketed everything, exposure and composition. I don't know about you but my clients were astute and perceptive people who knew exactly what they wanted; but only after they saw it!
    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.

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