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  1. #11

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    Almost all my stuff is done at night - or in dimly lit interiors with extremely high contrast lighting which is challenging. Obviously the larger the format, the longer the exposures will be, but even in 4x5 I would say hours of exposure are rarely required other than for specific effects, unless an exceedingly small aperture is required, filters are used etc. However exposures of at least several minutes are common, often longer. Even in 35mm I've had exposures run 8 minutes or more after adjusting for reciprocity failure. I like a lot of shadow detail though.

    Reciprocity adjustments can vary greatly depending on the film and how you will develop, and how you will print so some of your own testing will be required. But to start out, if you happen to use Tri-X, TMax, Delta or HP5, Howard Bond's data is quite good.

    You can also refer to Kodak's and Ilford's tech publications, but these are actually problematic. Ilford's current tables are "generic" and outdated, and Kodak's tables are sparse (some people disagree with them too).

  2. #12

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    How come Michael Kenna's nighttime shots always look so bright?

    Reciprocity effects are probably more important when shooting colour at night. With B&W I would tend to experiment and keep notes. To avoid reciprocity problems, it is often suggested that you use a set speed and vary aperture. This is not very helpful if you are making images which require front to back focus. I would tend to use an aperture of f8-16 and try to calculate a base exposure time. You can then bracket plus one or two stops. There are some books on low light photography that contain useful exposure charts for various subjects. You could also try a faster film. I have had good results with Delta100 in 35mm for night work. If you are using 120 you could go to 400ASA. Get a locking cable release and a stopwatch to help with long exposures. I use a keyring LED torch to see what I'm doing. One approach that has worked for me with urban night images is simply using aperture priority auto and letting the camera choose the speed. It's not very scientific, but it has produced some usable negatives. Alex

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    Holy smokes! Several hours?! I've heard and understand to some extent the reciprocity failure rule for 30 seconds+, but how do you work out the exposure for scenes requiring exposure of several hours?
    Easy answer is use Pinhole Assist (iphone app).

  4. #14

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    don't forget that beside experienting with long exposure to overcome reciprocity failure, you'll also have to experiment to find the correct developer and developer time to assure good tonal range
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Ted -- When MK was a faculty member of a workshop I assisted at, he passed out a sheet with suggested times based on the one's meter readings (times for Tri-X and Tmax400). And included were suggested times for both films at f5.6 under different night lighting conditions. I assume he created the times through personal experience. I hand them out to our students all the time...great starting points.

    MK would often have more than one camera making exposures at the same time.
    Can you share said sheet by any chance? Perhaps send a link via PM if it's not something that can be posted publically?
    Ted Smith Photography
    Hasselblad 501CM...my 2nd love.

  6. #16
    Matthew Wagg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    Holy smokes! Several hours?! I've heard and understand to some extent the reciprocity failure rule for 30 seconds+, but how do you work out the exposure for scenes requiring exposure of several hours?
    If you've an iPhone there are some reciprocity calculators available. I have one called called film timer.

    My iPhone is fast becoming my most indispensable tool in my photo bag.
    Light meter, Depth of field calculator, golden hour calculator, posing app.
    Not to mention the massive dev chart app which is brilliant as well.

  7. #17

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    He's just lucky like that?

    I suppose the only possible explanation is that he makes really long exposures. How else? Unless NASA make his lenses and his film was manufactured in Zeta Reticuli - which also happens to be where Ansel came from, look it up.

    But anyway, Kenna always talks about making day look like night and vice versa. He seeks out unusual atmospheric conditions. Many of his pictures, being devoid of direct sunlight and having limited tonal range could, for all we know, have been shot at night or day. There's very little reference to time of day, which makes his pictures so evocatively 'still'. But due to the practicality of shooting wild landscapes at night, I'd assume very few of his pictures are. It's more to do with his cleverness in the darkroom.

  8. #18
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Photography as an art is not an exact science. Brassai would time his night exposures with how long it took him to smoke certain cigarettes. – A Gauloise for a certain light, a Boyard if it was darker. Forget the reciprocity charts an experiment.

    “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

  9. #19
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    How come Michael Kenna's nighttime shots always look so bright?

    As others have mentioned the exposure time is usually many minutes and sometimes hours long. My night shots I shoot mostly Acros and expose anywhere from 3 to 15 minutes depending on the ambient light, usually at f/5.6 to f/11. I use Acros as its well known for handling reciprocity failure well. This one was about 11pm:


    Portero Hill/China Basin, San Francisco
    Contax RX
    35/2.8 PC-Distagon
    Fuji Acros in Diafine
    by rich8155 (Richard Sintchak), on Flickr
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  10. #20
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ted_smith View Post
    Can you share said sheet by any chance? Perhaps send a link via PM if it's not something that can be posted publically?
    I MADE MY OWN TABLE USING HIS DATA, SO IT SHOULD BE COOL -- I WILL TRY TO SCAN IT TONIGHT.

    Sorry for the caps...the original document I made got eaten by the computer, I only have paper copies. Reading it right now, using Tri-X, a meter reading of 10 minutes yields a corrected exposure of two hours. A meter reading of 40 minutes should be exposed for 8 hours! (reduce dev times by 20%)
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

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