Orange or Red filter for dark skies

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ericdan, Mar 6, 2018.

  1. ericdan

    ericdan Subscriber

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    Which filter will give me darker skies? Orange or Red?
    I have an Orange B+W 040 and a Heliopan Red No. 29

    this is going to be for city shots in the summer. I want to shoot fast film during the day but didn't like the blown out skies I got.
     
  2. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Subscriber

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    Red wratten 25 so a red 29 maybe even darken more than an 25? Of the 2 I prefer an Orange or dark yellow, red is just too dark for my taste.
     
  3. MultiFormat Shooter

    MultiFormat Shooter Member

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    A red filter will darken blue skies more than an orange filter will.
     
  4. OP
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    ericdan

    ericdan Subscriber

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    That's interesting. I thought since orange is the opposite color of blue, orange would cut out more blue light than red would.
     
  5. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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  6. Jarin Blaschke

    Jarin Blaschke Member

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    The sky is actually somewhere between cyan and blue, this may have some effect on why red is more effective. Red also has more density and saturation as a filter.
     
  7. M Carter

    M Carter Member

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    Red filters - all of them I've seen - have way more density than the average yellow or orange sky filter, and usually turn cyan skies black.
     
  8. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    You're confusing additive (B, G, R) with subtractive colors (Y, C, M).

    Remember the adage that less is more. In addition you don't want the sky over powering the pricipal subject.
     
  9. awty

    awty Subscriber

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    As others said, red is the darkest, but orange isnt far behind and will give a little less contrast.
    I usually have a few colours and chop and change depending on what im after, experiment is the key and dont over look a blue filter.
     
  10. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    The progression of filters that darken blue skies goes from yellow through orange to red. A green filter will darken skies too.

    The sky seems blue, but except for very highly saturated skies, it contains green and even a bit of yellow and red. A yellow filter will block the blue component. Orange will block the blue and a bit of the dark green. Red blocks everything except the red component, which in very saturated blue skies (e.g., high altitudes) is almost nothing; therefore, very dark skies with the red filter in this case. Green will block the blue and red component of skies, darkening them more or less depending on the green component of the sky.

    Blue and cyan filters will lighten blue skies.

    The more saturated blue the sky is, the more effect a specific filter will have. On the other hand, milky blue skies like one often finds at the coast or on continental Europe react less intensely to filters. Here, a red #25 filter may only slightly darken the sky. It all depends on the spectral content of the skylight.

    Keep in mind that whatever happens to the sky with a filter also happens to the skylit shadows in a scene. Blue-lit shadows can go awfully dark even with a yellow filter, especially if they are on the exposure threshold anyway.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus
     
  11. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    If you can find one online, I would recommend using a Wratten 12 (Minus Blue) filter. This only costs you one stop but is particularly effective for skies when they are blue.

    Bests,

    David.
    www.dsallen.de
     
  12. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    everything here said I agree with. while i find a red filter great from certain skies, especially when there are nice puffy clouds, I dislike what it does for trees and grass in most landscapes. just makes them too dark. So I find I use an orange or dark yellow for most shots. You can also try and add a polarizer to the lighter orange and yellow filters to help with skies and be more forgiving on vegetation.
     
  13. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    The sky is really cyan. The opposite of cyan is red. so I would think that a red filter would make a cyan sky darker than an orange filter would.
     
  14. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    If you want REALLY dark sky you could shoot Rollei Retro 80s with an 87b filter but that will produce pronounced Wood effect on most foliage. Or with the same film you could use a #25 red for less foliage lightening or orange for even less effect but still very dark sky.
     
  15. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    You really need to test for yourself. It's a matter of taste, but also affects exposure length. Clarity of sky and the position of the sun are also a factor; and skies tend to be bluer at high altitude, where the shadows might also be particularly blue. (Don't forget the effect of filters on shadows and texture - that's an even more important use for them). I routinely carry both a 25 red and 22 deep orange, but sometimes might use a light orange or 29 deep red. It depends on the specific film, type of green foliage, how windy the day is, etc.
     
  16. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Ha, my big cat friend - I remember back when my brother took a color shot in the high country and they kicked him out of a Nature Photo contest in LA for tinting the print! It wasn't a dye transfer print, and it was long before the days of PS; so those LA judges had apparently never seen a deep true blue sky. Brown skies seem to have been the norm there.
     
  17. Patrick Robert James

    Patrick Robert James Subscriber

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    You can also stack a polarizer in there too if you want. That has it's own drawbacks. It will only work at certain angles, and wide angle lenses are problematic. If you use a polarizer though you don't need a red filter to get a black sky. You could get it with a yellow. Just depends though.

    Keep in mind too that when you use a red filter you are blocking the blue light from shadow areas and that makes them kinda dark. I've all but abandoned red filters these days because I like a little tone in the shadows. When I do use a red filter I give it an extra couple of stops. Works out much better that way. By couple of stops I mean a couple stops more than the filter factor just to be clear.
     
  18. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    It all depends on how your specific exposure and film development is calibrated. Don't forget that a DEEP GREEN filter will also appreciably deepen blue skies and bring clouds out. Handy in the desert Southwest in particular, where reddish sandstone can come out pasty-looking using an orange or red filter.
     
  19. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Don't forget to look up. A filter won't help gray skies.
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I mostly use the yellow filter, next is the orange filter which produces a darker ski, then a polarizer. I use the red filter the least since it makes the sky black or almost black which often is too dark.
     
  21. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    It would be easy to fill the frame with just buildings, but if you are shooting from a distance, the clear and unbalanced nothingness of a summer sky is a very real irritant. The best thing to do is to exclude as much of blank sky as possible and concentrate the composition on those elements in the scene that really matter — think of the technique that Clyde Butcher applies to his landscape work with clouds, and extrapolate that to buildings; fill the frame with meaty elements and get rid of the sky entirely, unless it compliments the scene. My preference is neither too light nor too dark skies (certainly not broad daylight clear, summer skies: overcast, grey and lightly patterned work well for me). I don't use a red or a yellow filter for any of my B&W work, just a polariser. A wholly black sky from the use of a red/dark red filter comes across as alien and abnormal to my eyes. :smile:
     
  22. OP
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    ericdan

    ericdan Subscriber

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    wouldn't a yellow-green filter be the best all around tool then?
     
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    YG like Wratten 11 or Hoya XO is a nice filter to own for minor tweaks to lighten foliage and slightly darken sky, and tends to balance out the dip in green sensitivity of typical pan films. But it's too weak for any dramatic effect. And ironically, a lot of green foliage reflects a lot of orange light too, so the effect of YG is often similar to a pale orange filter! Hint: when leaves lose their chloropyll in Fall, what color are they? - it's there all along, just masked.
     
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