Keeping Texture in Snow Shots

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Francesco

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To those that measure a scene using EV readings, what is your experience in measuring a scene where snow is the dominant theme? Do you measure the snow as the High EV value or do you make adjustments to the EV reading that your meter shows? Do you compare this reading with other "light" areas, as in the sky for example, and make adjustments? Do you make any adjustments to development times applied to those scenes that have no snow but are of similar measured EV range? I have never taken any shots of snow and the first of many showers has arrived here in Stockholm. Many thanks in advance.
 
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Take a reading of the snow and then open UP two stops.

Ie: If the meter says you should use 1/125 at f11, you should then shoot at 1/125 at f5.6.
 

MikeK

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I use two methods. First is to use the incident light setting on my meter and measure the light falling on the subject. This works very well for most of my work. My second method os to use my spot meter and measure something in the scene as well as determine the contrast range and set my exposure accordingly.

But as Robert says, you will need to open up somewhere in the region of 2-stops to get white textured snow.

- Mike
 

Donald Miller

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Opening up two stops from a snow (Zone V) indication on a meter is a sure recipe to gain gray snow. I would filter the lens with a yellow filter (internal reflections within snow are normally blue in color). The yellow filter will tend to darken those reflections and gain separation of the white snow and the internal reflections. This will help to indicate texture. I would open up three stops (Zone VIII value rather then Zone VII). If your film is properly rated and your development times are correct this will give you a nice tonal separation within the snow.
 
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Francesco

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Thanks Donald. Is that 3 stops more from the indicated exposure after adjusting for filter factor or is that 3 stops more without filter factor included?
 

Donald Miller

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Francesco,

That is three stops more exposure then a reflected meter reading on sunlit snow after allowance for the filter factor.

If I were making an exposure in "flat" lighting due to overcast sky or early or late light I would not filter the exposure and I would place my snow values at Zone VII and make my exposure but I would then give the film N+1 development. The filter would not be effective under flat lighting since the blue reflections within the snow are caused by the blue sky.

Good luck, I anticipate seeing the results of your efforts.
 
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Francesco

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Thanks Donald. Weather forecast for tomorrow seems ideal for the yellow filter scenario - sunny and hardly any clouds. Had a lot of snowfall since last night and this should prove interesting for tomorrow.
 

chrisl

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Good tip on using a yellow on sunny snow Donald.
I've had pretty bad luck photographing snow capped mountains in the past...early morning w. white clouds and blue sky...which Id guess is filtered light. Anyway, just muddy looking mountain tops that showed poor seperation from the grey mountain rock. I'll give a yellow a try next time.
 

Mark Layne

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A good approach if the snow is dominant without shadows needing detail is to open 2 stops from a zone V (after applying filter factor) reading and develop N+1. Better separation

Mark
 
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Francesco

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Donald, I just finished the first two 8x10 negs using the techniques you suggested. The negatives are quite dense - is this the expected result?
 

Donald Miller

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Francesco,

A zone VIII density should be fairly dense. Of course the film (EI rating) and the developer dilution and time will all have an effect on the density. Are you planning on enlarging these negatives?, or are you planning on contact printing the negatives? If you are planning on contact printing them on Azo then the negative densities should be up around 1.45 to 1.60 above low value densities to fit on Azo grade two paper.

I would try to print the negatives to see how they print because the print is the final determiner of your process.

Please keep me informed of your results.
 
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Francesco

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Donald, just got my AZO G2 and G3 today. Looking forward to contact printing this negative, and others. Will definitely post the results if successful.
 
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