Overexposing then pushing

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by FDP, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. Sirius Glass

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    None of us was born with this knowledge, someone helped us learn.
     
  2. MattKing

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    To the OP:
    Can you show us the results that you are not happy with.
    If you are basing your exposure on metering shadows, what criteria are you using for choosing which shadows you are metering, and where are you "placing" that shadow metering on the exposure/Zone scale.
    Are you printing optically, or scanning?
    Can we see backlit photographs of negatives that gave you both good and bad results?
     
  3. Vaughn

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    Just a thought. The words, 'Over and under exposing', to me, define mistakes. It assumes there is one perfect amount of exposure for a specific condition. I like to just say I gave the exposure one more stop of light -- rather than say I overexposed by a stop. After all, I exposed it just the way I wanted to!

    Silly me.
     
  4. DREW WILEY

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    I done hundreds of densitometer plots with TMax100 - many many "families" of curves using different developers, different times of development, and respective filters, esp tricolor relative to color separations. I've done it very low contrast for masking, straight-line high-contrast, and more ordinary usage. D76 is incapable of a straight line, but OK for general use.
    HC-110 is better, but not perfect either. Just depends of the curve shape you need. I use both TMax films (100 and 400) for technical lab applications as well as general shooting (plus a number of other films too; but TMax emulsions are especially versatile). In ordinary photography, TMax deep shadow values can be placed on Zone I. I never place shadows on Z III except for Pan F, which has a horrible S-curve (but can be lovely for low contrast scenes). Why on earth waste all the space in the basement? Overexposure can be useful for getting better shadow separation on long-toe films; but TMax films have a steep toe, and overexposure just creates a lot of redundant stubborn printing density, and even risks blowing out the highlights. Yeah, yeah, someone's going to argue. But I've got an awful lot of large-format mountain shots containing glistening glaciers in full sun in the same scene as very deep shadows. Just printed a couple of those this afternoon. Even with pyro developer tweaks, TMax needs careful exposure. In this case I do use box speed. With most other films I don't. Thank goodness I've used spot meters for the last forty years! ... Come to think of it, under the grain magnifier in one of
    those negs I put in the enlarger, behind some trees, there was a hairy Bigfoot-looking creature that had a striking resemblance to the previous poster !
     
  5. DREW WILEY

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    Now to that fourteen stop nonsense ... Sure, you can select highly compensating developers that smash the sandwich thinner, so to speak; but that comes with a substantial penalty to microtonality in between. You can also pick certain contact "alt" processes more amenable to "thick" negatives. Or you could try masking the hell out of the negative. Probably very few if any of you have done more of that kind of thing than I have! - but I try to reserve that tweak mostly for color printing (not entirely). But in a general framework of black and white silver-gelatin printing, it's pretty hard to think of fourteen USEABLE stops. I could get twelve out of certain classic 200 "straight line" films using careful exposure and pyro development. Either TMax is more like eleven stops, plus a bit of spare change, maybe. But in terms of crisp shadow separation way down there, TMax films are not in the league of ole Super-XX or Bergger 200, which could handle Zone 0. Fomapan 200 goes there, but has serious shortcomings otherwise.
     
  6. Berkeley Mike

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    Back in the day I rated my Tri-x by deciding what my viewable D-max was in good light. I rated it at 600. In rough terms a high-contrast scene would be "pulled" 10% to avoid blocking in the highlights and in a low contrast scene pushed 10-15% to bright out highlights.

    Over exposure and pushing may be effective depending upon the contrast in the image. In a medium to high contrast situation exposing for the shadows and then "pushing" may just block-up your highlights. In a flat scene you might get away with pushing.

    Why one might overexpose and overprocess escapes me.
     
  7. Berkeley Mike

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    This is key in the digital process as well.
     
  8. Berkeley Mike

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    Last night's Intro to Digital class had its first Portraiture work after 15 weeks of 17, building fundamentals. In the studio I created two sets, one hard, one soft:

    1. A Rembrandt; a hard quartz light about 4 ft diagonally overhead to the right. Fall-off from the head to the lap was nearly a full stop, a very bright highlight on the forehead. Deep shadows we incidentally filled by a white wall 8 ft to the left was the only fill. ISO 200.

    2. A full light set-up; a tungsten Octagon, 4 ft way front left with a flex-fill 3 ft away. ISO 400

    Starting with my Sekonic we had 1/125 @ F5.6. The DSLRs captured the 3-tone targets and we read our histograms, mapping the resulting 3-spikes in the center of the graph. 18 cameras showed 1/80-1/125, which is normal when you use Nikon, Canon, Sony, Panasonic, Lumix from the last 5 years standing in slightly different positions.

    We all took turns as "victim" with skin tones from light European to dark African-American. On to the lab.

    All semester I have tried to build an awareness and skills for a good capture. As the files came up on the iMacs everyone was excited by the character of the shots. Simple development with very slight color and brightness adjustments, and cropping were standard.

    Notably, though, we had a Rembrandt shot of a dark African American and the chiaroscuro dazzling. As such, deep textureless shadows and burnt highlights were not noticed by the students as problems. Yet further development brought back texture in highlights and shadows. Side-by-side comparison revealed the value of that move. It was a trip to see the amazement in their eyes.

    So I said: "this is not magic or the "post-processing" rescue gimmickry film folks, in their ignorance, like to belittle. This is a solid development of a well-captured file. The information is there because you worked to record it. Now you are learning to bring these values, hard-earned, out in your final image. You could see lightbulbs going on throughout the lab. This what we have been working to get to all semester. The information is there to use."

    Of course not every file was perfect; that comes with years of experience. The point, however, was made.
     
  9. Berkeley Mike

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    Excellent! Quit messing around with things you don't understand and do the foundational work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
  10. jtk

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    Excellent point. And for many of us, that "someone" is Struggle. .
     
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