Having a wide-angle-of-view camera helps to retain some detail in the edges of the sky due to under-exposure caused by the extended focal ratio at the edges (i.e. the focal length gets longer toward the edges and corners), but for the most part attempting to retain detail in the sky through under-exposure usually results in under-exposure of the landscape, which is my primary interest in these images.
Keep in mind that paper's emulsion is UV/blue sensitive, extending a bit into the green, but many landscapes are lacking in UV and blue reflectivity, hence the exposure required to gain significant detail in the landscape usually blows out the sky. That's okay, it's part of the aesthetic of the medium. It reminds me of 19th century landscape photography that used plates of similar sensitivity, whose images you'll recall appear to have blown-out white skies.
As an experiment, a few years ago I did a series where I was taking pictures of the sky and white, fluffy clouds using paper negatives in a pinhole camera. Whereas a normal landscape exposure in this particular camera might require a 30 second exposure, I found exposures less than 10 seconds would give "normal" appearing skies.
I've also found that photographing landscape images under cloudy conditions gives favorable tones, muting the harsh contrast and in many cases permitting one to retain some detail in the sky (albeit cloudy detail). Of course, the exposure times will be longer under cloudy conditions, which can be an issue, especially if it's windy and the camera begins to shake.
Last edited by Joe VanCleave; 04-11-2011 at 09:40 AM. Click to view previous post history.