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

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• 12-31-2012, 11:13 PM
MattKing
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Burk
I don't doubt your correctness but can't get my head around your statement... Don't know how you can have one without the other (unless for instance you are saying there isn't a significant difference between an intentional 10 stops overexposed 2 minutes exposure compared to a 10 stops overexposed but 1/10th second shot)...

The reason I like to point this out because I think it helps people understand why things happen, and also opens people to considering another way of solving the problem.

For low light reciprocity failure, there isn't something magical about a long exposure that somehow affects the film in a mysterious way. What happens is that the light hitting the film has so little energy/intensity that the film doesn't respond as strongly to it - there is a threshold light intensity at the film plane. Below that threshold, the film responds much less to light than would otherwise be predicted from extrapolating the straight line portion of the film's curve. So with light at the film plane at these low levels, exposing the film, for example, for twice as long gives you a result that is actually twice a lesser result than what one would otherwise expect.

The benefit of understanding this is that it encourages people to consider another solution - increasing the intensity of the light reaching the film.

As Vaughn says, a similar thing happens with very high intensity light that would otherwise necessitate very short exposures - the response isn't linear there either.

Although as I understand it there are additional effects one must take into account for very, very short exposures - my memory of the physics involved is a bit hazy though.
• 01-01-2013, 03:59 PM
Brian C. Miller
Quote:

Originally Posted by MattKing
For low light reciprocity failure, there isn't something magical about a long exposure that somehow affects the film in a mysterious way. What happens is that the light hitting the film has so little energy/intensity that the film doesn't respond as strongly to it - there is a threshold light intensity at the film plane. Below that threshold, the film responds much less to light than would otherwise be predicted from extrapolating the straight line portion of the film's curve. So with light at the film plane at these low levels, exposing the film, for example, for twice as long gives you a result that is actually twice a lesser result than what one would otherwise expect.

I came up with this analogy: Imagine that film is like a bucket, and light is like water. Normally, when you click the shutter, the right amount of water flows into the bucket. When the light is low, the water trickles or drips into the bucket, and its rate is so slow that some of that water evaporates out. So to get to the proper "full" mark, it takes more time to fill the bucket.

(And for making photographs like Michael Kenna, scene selection is important. One time I photographed a landscape by moonlight, and Kodak E100S looked like daylight after 15 minute exposure at f/2.8. I'm sure Mr. Kenna made lots of test exposures to get the appropriate reciprocity data for his needs.)
• 01-02-2013, 02:20 PM
JimO
do a you tube search for michael kenna....

jvo
• 01-02-2013, 03:45 PM
DarkroomDan
The Tacoma Art Museum is showing a two part retrospective of Kenna's work. I have seen the first half - about 100 prints, and will be going to the second half when it is hung. The first show ends this week, Jan 6th. The second half opens Jan 11th and runs through March 24th. If you are interested in Michael's work and are able to get there, you will not be disappointed. Kenna will also be giving a lecture and book signing at the museum on Jan 12th.

Dan
• 01-02-2013, 05:19 PM
Vaughn
I visited friends right before the New Year and looked at the few Michael Kenna's they have on their walls. No matter what advice, charts, etc one looks at, the skill and eye of Micheal Kenna will only be approximated by much thought and experience.
• 01-02-2013, 06:05 PM
StoneNYC
How come Michael Kenna's nighttime shots always look so bright?
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vaughn
I visited friends right before the New Year and looked at the few Michael Kenna's they have on their walls. No matter what advice, charts, etc one looks at, the skill and eye of Micheal Kenna will only be approximated by much thought and experience.

I would say, "why aren't my images on the wall?"

~Stone

Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
• 01-02-2013, 06:52 PM
Vaughn
Quote:

Originally Posted by StoneNYC
I would say, "why aren't my images on the wall?"

One is...and in the company of many other fine photographers. I am honored that I have one up on the walls!
• 01-02-2013, 07:32 PM
StoneNYC
How come Michael Kenna's nighttime shots always look so bright?
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vaughn
One is...and in the company of many other fine photographers. I am honored that I have one up on the walls!

:)

~Stone

Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
• 01-02-2013, 08:33 PM
Vaughn
Both friends are master photographers, master teachers, and incredible people. Most of the work has been given to them or in trade for their own work. Ruth Bernard to John Wimberley, Jerry U. to Linda Conner, etc etc! Truly amazing.

I was mentioning this thread to one of them, and he walked me over to one of MK"S print and he said, "You don't pull out this detail from a chart."
• 01-02-2013, 08:47 PM
StoneNYC
How come Michael Kenna's nighttime shots always look so bright?
Quote:

Originally Posted by Vaughn
Both friends are master photographers, master teachers, and incredible people. Most of the work has been given to them or in trade for their own work. Ruth Bernard to John Wimberley, Jerry U. to Linda Conner, etc etc! Truly amazing.

I was mentioning this thread to one of them, and he walked me over to one of MK"S print and he said, "You don't pull out this detail from a chart."

Nice to know good nice honorable photographers exist.

My "teachers" who I assisted only 3 times stopped talking to me when I was accepted into the same competition as them, blocked from social networks (Facebook) etc. I felt bad, I wasn't bragging I had in fact said I was honored to even be considered in the same realm as them (they shoot for Vogue etc.) and in turn they cut me off, as if I had stolen all the talent from them.

So it's nice to hear stories like that.

~Stone

Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
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