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Roger Hicks -- Author of The Rangefinder Book

Roger Hicks is a well known photographic writer, author of The Rangefinder Book, over three dozen other photographic books, and a frequent contributor to Shutterbug and Amateur Photographer. Unusually in today's photographic world, most of his camera reviews are film cameras, especially rangefinders. See www.rogerandfrances.com for further background (Frances is his wife Frances Schultz, acknowledged darkroom addict and fellow Shutterbug contributor) .


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"Expose for Shadows, Develop for Highlights"
Old 02-26-2011   #1
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"Expose for Shadows, Develop for Highlights"

Roger,

I come across this phrase quite often, and I would like your opinion of what it means.

My understanding is that exposure controls shadow details, and development controls contrasts.

So for example, if i were to shoot with Tri-x 400, and expose at 320iso, then there are more details being captured at this 320 iso, within the constraints of the film. Conversely, if I were to "push" the film, ie. underexpose it by say 2 stops at 1600, then shadow details tend to be lost.

In the development area, an increase in development time will increase contrast.

thanks!
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Old 02-26-2011   #2
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You are right.

First, you need to give enough exposure to ensure detail in the darkest area in which you want detail. This does not need to be the darkest area in the picture: you can let that go black if you want. This is 'exposing for the shadows'.

The only sure way to give the required exposure, no more (which will reduce sharpness and increase grain) and no less (which will lose detail) is to meter the shadows directly. This means going up close with an ordinary meter, but with a spot meter, the narrower the angle, the further away you can be when you read.

You do NOT use the main index on the meter -- in fact, there is little or no reason for a 'mid-tone' index on a true spot meter -- but the 'shadow' index, I.R.E. 1 or similar, typically 2-1/2 to 3 stops down from the 'mid-tone'. If there is only a mid-tone index, go 3 stops down.

Next, you consider the subject brightness range (SBR). Read the brightest highlight in which you want detail. If it's 5-7 stops brighter than the darkest shadow, it's an 'average' subject and requires 'average' development. If it's under 4 stops (highlights dim compared with shadows) give 50% extra development time to increase contrast. If it's over 7 stops (highlights much brighter than shadows), give 15% less to reduce contrast. This is 'developing for the highlights'.

All of these figures are approximations. You may find that you're happier with 2-2/3. 2-1/2, 2-2/3 or even just 2 stops down, instead if 3, if there isn't enough shadow detail. You may be happier with treating 4-6 stops as 'normal' instead of 5-7. You may be happier with 30 or 40 or 60% more dev time instead of 50, or with 10 or 20% instead of 15. You may even decide to do the whole Zone bit, with more than just 'standard', +50% and -15%, though that starts getting interesting with roll film, let alone 35mm, where you have different SBRs on one film.

Alternatively, of course, you can rely on the inherent latitude of pos/neg photography, and on the fact that latitude for overexposure is a stop or two before sharpness falls too far and grain gets too big, especially with larger formats than 35mm. This is what saves a lot of people who think they are being scientific, but (for example) start off with highlight readings.

There's a lot more about this on my site.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-26-2011   #3
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In itself, the phrase doesn't really tell you anything. I suspect that many of the people who say it have no clue what it really means themselves, because you'll see many of them show disdain for exposure and development methods (like the Zone system or Phil Davis's BTZS system) that bring the idea into actual practice.

I expose using a spot meter. If there's something black or heavily shaded that i want to retain detail in, I meter it and give 2 stops less exposure than the meter says. Then I point the meter at a white or highlight araa, if there is one in the scene and it should meter about 4-5 stops brighter than the exposure you set on the dark area if you want full detail retained in that white area. If it meters higher than that, you reduce developing by 25% and give one stop more exposure. The reduced developing time lowers contrast and because the reduced dev. time lowers the film's effective speed one stop, we give the extra stop exposure too. I virtually never see a time when one must increase contrast, not in the lighting conditions where I live. Much more common to need to reduce it.

Last edited by Doug : 02-26-2011 at 22:54. Reason: "is stupid because it"
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Old 02-26-2011   #4
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I don't know anything about 'push' but develop time also is very important in controlling highlights from blowing. In my case (roll film), like above, I set the shadows (or expose for the shadows)(there are a few ways to do this) and then develop my roll of film, as I have determined from previous developments; so, on average, highlight will not be blown.
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Old 02-26-2011   #5
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One of the most useful articles I've read on the subject and its application to roll-film cameras: Mike Johnston's Not Much of a System System.
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Old 02-26-2011   #6
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The phrase has been around a long time. I found a reference to it in a manual from 1908, before meters were in wide use. The way they described it: look at your scene and describe the quality of the shadows, such as hard edged or diffuse, then choose an appropriate exposure time based on that. They offer some advice based on the sensitivity of the plate one is using. Then, develop the plate (this is back when develop by inspection was commonly done) until the highlights look right. How does one know what is "right"? Experience mainly.
100+ year old advice, probably not too useful today.
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Old 02-26-2011   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik View Post
The phrase has been around a long time. I found a reference to it in a manual from 1908, before meters were in wide use. The way they described it: look at your scene and describe the quality of the shadows, such as hard edged or diffuse, then choose an appropriate exposure time based on that. They offer some advice based on the sensitivity of the plate one is using. Then, develop the plate (this is back when develop by inspection was commonly done) until the highlights look right. How does one know what is "right"? Experience mainly.
100+ year old advice, probably not too useful today.
Well, at least they were developing in real time for the highlights. I still do the same with roll film but I have to shoot a whole roll and develop. Then I wait for it to dry and process one way or the other. And finally I see if I did it right. By that time, I have forgotten what I exposed for and what ISO (EI) I used, or was my metering right, and if I developed exactly the same as the last try. Notes are great but somehow I have to guess at them too. Thank goodness, film is forgiving, and we still have experts to guide us.
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Old 02-26-2011   #8
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I think it is easier to get if you first understand what a characteristic (D log E) curve shows. Compare curves of the same film/developer, but with the exposure and development time altered and you get a good visual that makes this very clear.

Cheers,
Gary
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Old 02-26-2011   #9
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Some say: put your Zone III on the curve so it is on the upslope of the curve, but that is at box speed; generally. Others reduce their box speed which puts Zone III on the upslope of the curve: which is Zone IV for the first group. But what, I think it boils down to is pick which way you want to meter and do it. And then develop to your highlight taste. Roll film (multiple scene variance) will always be difficult but we have to live with it.

Last edited by charjohncarter : 02-26-2011 at 17:00.
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Old 02-26-2011   #10
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I don't know all the science stuff, as some of you do. And it is interesting to read.

I use 1/3 stop overexposure on my meter, and I use a semi-spot meter, and meter for the shadow/mid area... I find an area that contains these values and just use it. Then I develop for the box speed. I use Xtol, I find if I use "Stock" (full strength), I get more contrast, if I want a little less contrast, I use Xtol 1:1. I use the Masters Developers table as my base. I get my temp to 20c/21c and just use the time listed. I agitate every 60c for 15s. And the highlights are always great, and I get great shadow detail also.

Sample from my last roll of Acros 100 @ 64 Xtol 1:1


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Old 02-26-2011   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNG View Post
I don't know all the science stuff, as some of you do. And it is interesting to read.

I use 1/3 stop overexposure on my meter, and I use a semi-spot meter, and meter for the shadow/mid area... I find an area that contains these values and just use it. Then I develop for the box speed. I use Xtol, I find if use "Stock" (full strength)
With roll film that is as good as anything. Weston just used to guess. And that was with LF.
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Old 02-26-2011   #12
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The concept is based on the fact that changing development time has a greater effect on the highlight than it does on the shadows. Longer dev. pushes the highlights up but has little to no effect on the shadows. Likewise, shorter dev. pulls down the highlights without altering the shadows much. Exposure will change the shadows. This what comparing the D log E curves will show you.

So, you set exposure correctly for the shadow areas and then determine dev. time depending on the contrast of the scene.

The zone system is just a sophisticated system for applying this. Many people (like me) use some much simpler approach. If the scene is very contrasty (say, fifth avenue in a strong afternoon sunlight), you want to make sure you give plenty of exposure to get detail in those dark shadows, then cut down the development time to prevent the highlights from getting out of control. Hence a well known street photographers formula is to rate their tr-x at 200 (or even 100) and cut back 30% or more on the development.

Cheers,
Gary

Last edited by gns : 02-26-2011 at 20:38.
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Old 02-26-2011   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisN View Post
One of the most useful articles I've read on the subject and its application to roll-film cameras: Mike Johnston's Not Much of a System System.
Thanks for that link, Chris, I have enjoyed reading that.

The main message is:
"Johnston's Not Much of a System System, depends from the following principle: Firstly, get the picture. That is, it's worth it to pay attention mainly to what you're shooting and end up with a decent print of a great shot, as opposed to paying attention to your meters and measurements and end up with a perfect print of a dreadfully boring shot of nothing."
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Old 02-26-2011   #14
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Roger, thanks for that very concise and clear explanation! I'm bookmarking this one for future reference. I'll be sure to check your site, too. Thanks also, to the OP for asking this important question.
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Old 02-26-2011   #15
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You're right. The phrase is a bit zone system related (all previous to Adams B&W too) and basically talks about giving film enough light for placing the darkest detailed values you need, on zones II-III and and then placing -based upon appropriate development time- your desired detailed highlights on zones VII-VIII (depending on your preferences and how much detail you need), but you need to know well your different development times for the same film to really work the way the phrase describes... For example, you can't do different contrast scenes on the same roll unless you cut it...

I don't like the phrase, by the way, but lots of photographers and teachers do... It can be confusing IMO... Not all scenes have shadows and highlights, to begin with... And shadows and highlights can also be pure black and pure white on print on some photographs and it's not a problem, except for theory fanatics... I prefer to say "expose film for the light it really needs, and develop depending on the scene's contrast." It's not too simple either, because the real (not box) ISO can be great for some scenes, but on a real dark gray, flat day, exposing ISO400 film at 800 instead of 250, for a longer development, produces better tonal separation for dull scenes... And on direct harsh sunlight, metering at 125 for a short development is the way to get rich and clean shadows if the case is we need them... The subject plays a decisive role too, because different subjects are emphasized or thank different final levels of contrast or shadows/highlights detail... All this, related to the quality of light and not to its quantity, is a lot more important than simply metering to "expose for the shadows".

Cheers,

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Old 02-26-2011   #16
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But what happens when you have a bunch of differently lit scenes on the same roll?
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Old 02-26-2011   #17
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Some of them will receive better (more appropriate) development than others... Some will be fine and some a bit/too soft or contrasty...

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Old 02-26-2011   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dyao View Post
But what happens when you have a bunch of differently lit scenes on the same roll?
That's why you own more than one camera body if you shoot 35mm. Some medium format SLRs have a really neat system of interchangeable film backs that can be changed in mid-roll. So, you carry two backs, one for normal developing and one for N-1 (lower contrast developing).

Seriously, when I shoot 35, I shoot the whole roll in the same light and I have extra bodies. For my Olympus SLR system, I have 3 identical OM-4T bodies. One is loaded with my low-light film, Tmax 3200, and the others are loaded with Tri-X (one for normal, one for N-1 developing). For my Leicas I keep normal Tri-X in one bod and the other body I load with either 3200 or N-1 Tri-X as needed. I need a third body...but Leicas cost too much!
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Old 02-26-2011   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dyao View Post
But what happens when you have a bunch of differently lit scenes on the same roll?
Well, obviously you can't get optimal results for all frames.
There will always be some compromise. But knowledge of this stuff will only help you make the best choice.

I think most people shooting 35mm or roll film will shoot enough film (whole rolls) in a given situation that it isn't normally a problem.

Cheers,
Gary

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Old 02-27-2011   #20
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It's not so much advice as a statement of the obvious, once you understand what it means, so it's as valid now as it was when in was first formulated in the 19th century (it goes back well before 1908).

Bear in mind that in those days, most people developed glass plates by inspection. There were however meters in surprisingly widespread use as early as the 1890s: there's a review, and a copy of the instruction book, of a Watkins Bee meter here: http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...n/w%20bee.html

Yes, the terms 'shadows' and 'highlights' are confusing until you realize that they are shorthand for 'the darkest area in which you want texture and detail' and 'the lightest area in which you want texture and detail'.

Small decreases in development time (10-20%) have surprisingly little effect on toe speed, because of the way it is defined. For much more on density and the D/lof E curve, see http://www.rogerandfrances.com/subsc...20density.html, which includes the following:

Armed with all this information, it is therefore possible to match just about any subject to just about any paper grade, provided you know the following:

1 Subject brightness range (easily determined with a spot meter)

2 Flare factor for camera and lens

3 Development time for a standard gamma in a given developer

4 Time-gamma curve for the film and developer in use, obtainable by experiment or from the manufacturers

5 ISO(R) of the paper, obtainable from the manufacturer

6 Flare factor for the enlarger and its lens

7 Any personal adjustments you need to make to compensate for your own equipment or working techniques.

In practice, headings 2, 6 and 7 mean that rather than wasting hours on formal experiments it is generally better to rely on trial and error, which eventually becomes consolidated under the heading 'experience', rather than trying to quantify everything.

This is yet another reason why we do not use the Zone System (a free module gives the rest of the reasons). With one camera, one lens and one enlarger it is tedious enough. Add further equipment, and to do it properly, you need to carry out separate tests for each enlarger, camera or lens. In practice, hardly anyone ever does, and they still get good results even when using wildly disparate equipment. This strongly suggests to us that they are deluding themselves about the degree of precision that is either attainable or necessary.

Even so, knowing what happens at each stage and what it means is extremely useful, especially if you want to avoid simplistic or reductionist theories.


Ignore any references to paid or free modules: it's all free now.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-27-2011   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriscrawfordphoto View Post
I suspect that many of the people who say it have no clue what it really means themselves, because you'll see many of them show disdain for exposure and development methods (like the Zone system or Phil Davis's BTZS system) that bring the idea into actual practice.

That'll be me then :-)

I made a serious attempt to use the zone system - or at least a version of it - some years ago when I began to take photography seriously as a hobby. In practice it didn't actually seem to make any real difference to the results I had been achieving hitherto, with my previous system of using the built-in meter in my camera, applying my judgement to the scene I was photographing to adjust the exposure, and then using such printing skills as I had in the darkroom.

Enlarging or scanning 35mm or 120 film is not the same as contact printing 8x10, and you certainly don't have the same cost imperative preventing one from bracketing and experimenting with different exposures. Whatever one takes the phrase to mean, my personal view is that it is a needless distraction from more important elements in photography, like composition, which have a much more decisive impact over whether the final image is of any merit or not.
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Old 02-27-2011   #22
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A 'hybrid' modus operandi IMHO consists of several simple steps:
  • Meter my hand in the same light as the subject
  • Bracket if I can
  • Develop whole rolls in appropriate developing process (standard, stand, push)
  • Scan, standard settings on lighting, contrast etc.
  • Correct in Photoshop using Levels, Contrast, Unsharp Mask, Dodge & Burn only
I'm always in awe for people who can work like Roger and Chris, I'm just too impatient and sloppy to get it right like that
Still, I like my results and see room for improvement
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Old 02-27-2011   #23
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I'm always in awe for people who can work like Roger and Chris, I'm just too impatient and sloppy to get it right like that.
Dear Johan,

So am I. I do only the easy bits, and if something takes too long, I don't do it. Photographically, I've always believed in 'shoot first and ask questions afterwards'.

It's almost certainly useful to know the theory behind what you're doing, but it's far from essential, so unless you're interested, or unless you're being paid to do it, it's not worth much investigation.

As Ade-oh points out, and as your own experience shows, a lot of people get altogether too excited about this sort of thing, and lose sight of making good pictures becase they're trapped in a morass of minutiae that often, they don't fully understand.

I'd lay odds that 99% of the time, I could use any of four different metering techniques (incident, spot, broad-area reflected, in-camera), and then arrive at much the same conclusion about the optimum exposure. About 80-90% of the time, if I guessed the exposure, it would be within 1/2 stop of the optimum exposure as metered, often spot on for the optimum.

In fact, I've noticed something REALLY weird lately with my Ms. Quite a few times, I've turned the shutter speed dial and aperture ring to roughly the rght position, without reading the values I've set; put the camera to my eye; and found that the meter agrees. This is what comes from using basically the same equipment (M-series Leicas) since the mid-70s. I don't need to read the details: I'm doing it by a combination of touch, and an internalized view of what's where on the dials/rings.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-27-2011   #24
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The more you shoot and print the more you will learn when to make adjustments; however, the more time you spend printing, thee more you will learn about everything. And it will save your bacon when you make mistakes in exposure and development...

For the sort of work I do I rely on in the internal meters in my cameras and have therefore to be able to adjust to the different camera metering. I therefore rate film differently in different cameras, because this way I end up with uniform exposures! I change the EI depending on the light, or make an adjustment after the reading and still make mistakes. Sometimes big ones, but rarely so. Oh, and I find clever zone TTL metering in SLRs the worst by far when it comes to reliable predictable exposures for B&W. I prefer center weighted on the canons and have no choice on the Leicas.

If shooting street or documentary, you just cant be messing about with diffferent bodies (no time) so you get used to making the best possible compromise and fixing as best you can any deficiencies in the darkroom.

PS you can deal with a much broader SBR when wet printing compared to scanning. Chris Crawford is using a 4-5 stop range as normal. I believe Chris scans and digitally prints, so undoubtedly has to aim for a slightly lower contrast neg than I would aim for in the darkroom.

PPS if you are serious about darkroom work I strongly recommend becoming competent then getting a RH designs paper flasher for about $100. This has changed 'nightmare' into 'mildly annoying' when I have very dense areas on the neg. Loooovely accessory.
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Old 02-27-2011   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzardkid View Post
A 'hybrid' modus operandi IMHO consists of several simple steps:
  • Meter my hand in the same light as the subject
  • Bracket if I can
  • Develop whole rolls in appropriate developing process (standard, stand, push)
  • Scan, standard settings on lighting, contrast etc.
  • Correct in Photoshop using Levels, Contrast, Unsharp Mask, Dodge & Burn only
I'm always in awe for people who can work like Roger and Chris, I'm just too impatient and sloppy to get it right like that
Still, I like my results and see room for improvement
I think many of us use the above method. I know I do. AFA the Zone System with 35mm roll film... As Chris mentioned, you need separate bodies to get closer Zone Developing results for each roll.

The way I see it, if you can get good shadow & highlight details for scanning, you can tweak the tonal range in Post.

I typicaly have my roll of 25x frames at one or two locations on the same day, with the same lighting, 80% of the time, If the light changes, from Sunny to cloudy &/or Cloudy bright, I will adjust my exposure to -1 in stead of my norm of -1/3. But develop normal (for me, that is shoot @ 64, use 100 dev. times for 100 speed film), So the -1 frames will get a little more time then developimg the whole roll at -1. (Example: Delta 400 at 200 = 6m in Xtol Stock, Delta 400 at 400 = 7.5m in Xtol stock). So the 200 frames get 1.5m more time, {the less contrasty frames} where my 400/320 frames get standard developing on the same roll.

With wet printing, you have to have a negative that you know you can work with, applying paper grades, condenser or diffuser enlarger, dodge and burn techniques to tweak the tonal range.

So, I believe the negatives need to very close to optimum exposure for wet printing... (I still remember my late teens and wet printing in my Dads Darkroom).
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Old 02-27-2011   #26
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But what happens when you have a bunch of differently lit scenes on the same roll?
Chris Crawford has one solution. Another possiblity is to print with different grades of paper, or fiddle with levels and curves. I was always not finishing an overcast or indoor roll using Chris' method (which is a good one), so I gave up and either avoid low contrast shots or fiddle.
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Old 02-27-2011   #27
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If shooting street or documentary, you just cant be messing about with different bodies (no time) so you get used to making the best possible compromise and fixing as best you can any deficiencies in the darkroom.
Hi Turtle,

I find it means no messing at all... If I have sun, I point and shoot, and if I have shadows, I point and shoot with the other camera... I don't like changing lenses either... Very fast and easy, (I don't even meter or focus) and as Chris says, you develop your rolls a) normally or b) for less contrast, and everything's fine on negatives, and all's easier and faster both while shooting and while printing...

Cheers,

Juan
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Old 02-27-2011   #28
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I like the science but I struggle to understand it. I tried to learn the Zone system, but is seemed to be far more complicated than what was already working for me. I read the "not much of a system system", and I was almost with him until he started talking about scenes with more range than the camera can handle. I hope I don't get off topic, but if I do it is because of ignorance rather than intent...I know my system makes me happy, but am I doing the opposite of expose for the shadows?

I used to shoot some B&W, but my true love was Kodachrome and Velvia. Now I'm almost completely digital, and I'm constantly trying to replicate the look of those 'chromes. I learned photography with a Nikon FE, usually set to aperture priority and used the center-weighted meter and a Sekonic L-28 (old version of the L-398). My first roll of Kodachrome was almost entirely silhouettes, but they had great colorful sunsets. It didn't take long to determine that my composition and style required a modification to how the camera's meter interpreted what I was seeing. When I used an incident meter, my exposures were almost always what I wanted, but I knew when to adjust a stop or two based on what I wanted to emphasize in the photo.

My system has evolved to the concept that only one tone can be properly exposed on the film or sensor, and I have to determine the exposure for that. Some shadows and highlights will certainly fall beyond the range of the film or sensor, but that is a limitation of the medium, and I don't worry about it. For example, in the photo of my dining room, the candle is what I wanted to emphasize so I spot metered it with the camera. I knew I might not capture the details outside, so I bracketed. The -1/3 was my favorite because the darkness seemed to convey more of a mood when the room was dark. The candle was the one thing I wanted the correct exposure on.



Kind of the same theory on the fountain at the Detroit airport. I knew I wanted the Delta 747 to be exposed properly, and the fountain wasn't beyond the range of the camera so that was a tremendous bonus. I suspected the windows and the man would be silhouettes, and so be it. Knowing the scene had some contrast, I underexposed a little, which gave me the bright light I remember on the 747. The sensor exposed as I suspected and I am personally very pleased with this image:



The focal point on this is obvious, and I spot metered on her left cheek. I again underexposed to compensate for the overexposure on her--from the window:



I can't remember exactly how I metered this, but I suspect it was Nikon's matrix meter with the bottom of the frame just above the horizon. I then locked the exposure and composed to get yet another damned silhouette. But, the picture is of that cloud, and the horse just happened to make the composition.



Apparently I am descendent from moths, because I seem to be drawn to the light--so I underexpose to compensate. Because I seem to photograph some scenes with a wide range of luminance or high contrast (I hope I used the right terms), histograms don't seem to be of much value to me. I know everyone else loves them, but I usually get some spikes on the sides and a deep valley. This is partly why I meter for one thing in the photo, or I just trust what my assistant tells me:


Exposed on manual, f/4 1/60th just as the incident meter said. The histogram was a perfect--one that I rarely see

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Old 02-27-2011   #29
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Slides are supposed to be exposed for the highlights, or the highlights will 'blow'. ISO speeds for neg films are 'keyed' to the shadows, and for slides, they're 'keyed' to the highlights.

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R.
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Old 02-27-2011   #30
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Quote:
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Slides are supposed to be exposed for the highlights, or the highlights will 'blow'. ISO speeds for neg films are 'keyed' to the shadows, and for slides, they're 'keyed' to the highlights.

Cheers,

R.
So, I was doing it correctly--but by accident?
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Old 02-27-2011   #31
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So, I was doing it correctly--but by accident?
No, no no. Not accident -- native intelligence!

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R.
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Old 02-27-2011   #32
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Exposed on manual, f/4 1/160th just as the incident meter said. The histogram was a perfect--one that I rarely see
Either she's thinking...
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Old 02-27-2011   #33
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Keeping multiple cameras in the bag sounds too heavy...I think I'll just stick with my sub-optimal negatives, thanks!
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Old 02-27-2011   #34
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Keeping multiple cameras in the bag sounds too heavy...I think I'll just stick with my sub-optimal negatives, thanks!
If you scan, you have a little better leeway., but meter for the mid-tones and develop normally. It works for me... it should work for anyone.
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Old 02-27-2011   #35
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Keeping multiple cameras in the bag sounds too heavy...I think I'll just stick with my sub-optimal negatives, thanks!
Reminds me of when I was in art school. Students would ask me how I got such good quality in my images, and when I told them how to do it, they either declared that it was too much work or they'd try to claim that working precisely 'destroys creativity'. Funny thing, none of them are doing any creating anymore. They've all lost interest and gone on to other things. Only three of my classmates from my photo classes still take pictures. One is a woman who does portraits of children professionally, one is a nature photographer and does glass blowing too, and the other does the kind of work I do (he moved to Portland, Oregon to do that). All three of those still photographing were hard workers.

Basically, you want quality, it takes work. No getting around it.


Depending on the weather where you live, you may not need two bodies anyway. John Carter mentioned earlier that he uses one body because his body with film to be developed for overcast light never got used enough. He's in southern California, where the sun shines constantly. Where I live, the light changes rapidly. It can go from sunny to cloudy and back several times in ONE DAY, so you need to be prepared when you go out to photograph. When I lived in Santa Fe, I usually carried just one body because the weather didn't change fast and I could shoot a whole roll of the same light easily.

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Old 02-27-2011   #36
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Reminds me of when I was in art school. Students would ask me how I got such good quality in my images, and when I told them how to do it, they either declared that it was too much work or they'd try to claim that working precisely 'destroys creativity'. Funny thing, none of them are doing any creating anymore. They've all lost interest and gone on to other things. Only three of my classmates from my photo classes still take pictures. One is a woman who does portraits of children professionally, one is a nature photographer and does glass blowing too, and the other does the kind of work I do (he moved to Portland, Oregon to do that). All three of those still photographing were hard workers.

Basically, you want quality, it takes work. No getting around it.


Depending on the weather where you live, you may not need two bodies anyway. John Carter mentioned earlier that he uses one body because his body with film to be developed for overcast light never got used enough. He's in southern California, where the sun shines constantly. Where I live, the light changes rapidly. It can go from sunny to cloudy and back several times in ONE DAY, so you need to be prepared when you go out to photograph. When I lived in Santa Fe, I usually carried just one body because the weather didn't change fast and I could shoot a whole roll of the same light easily.
Dear Chris,

Spot on. But you know how some people hate to hear the truth...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 02-27-2011   #37
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Reminds me of when I was in art school. Students would ask me how I got such good quality in my images, and when I told them how to do it, they either declared that it was too much work or they'd try to claim that working precisely 'destroys creativity'. Funny thing, none of them are doing any creating anymore. They've all lost interest and gone on to other things. Only three of my classmates from my photo classes still take pictures. One is a woman who does portraits of children professionally, one is a nature photographer and does glass blowing too, and the other does the kind of work I do (he moved to Portland, Oregon to do that). All three of those still photographing were hard workers.

Basically, you want quality, it takes work. No getting around it.


Depending on the weather where you live, you may not need two bodies anyway. John Carter mentioned earlier that he uses one body because his body with film to be developed for overcast light never got used enough. He's in southern California, where the sun shines constantly. Where I live, the light changes rapidly. It can go from sunny to cloudy and back several times in ONE DAY, so you need to be prepared when you go out to photograph. When I lived in Santa Fe, I usually carried just one body because the weather didn't change fast and I could shoot a whole roll of the same light easily.
Good point, but having a look at your site it seems we do different types of photography. When I shoot I'm on my feet about 8-9 hours a day, so keeping a light kit is pretty important to me.
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Old 02-27-2011   #38
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Very well said, Chris.

Cheers,

Juan
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Old 02-27-2011   #39
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Good point, but having a look at your site it seems we do different types of photography. When I shoot I'm on my feet about 8-9 hours a day, so keeping a light kit is pretty important to me.
If you feel two small cameras are a burden for beasts, maybe you're in need of a non-photographic solution: have you tried a bigger breakfast?

Sorry, just kidding!

Cheers,

Juan
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Old 02-27-2011   #40
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Leicas and chrome Canon lenses are pretty heavy! Chris's suggestions are impractical for me for other reasons as well; where I live I can go (and my subjects as well) from direct sunlight to open shade to closed shade to mixed interior lighting within 5 minutes of walking.
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