Rocky Shores

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by darinwc, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

    Dec 14, 2003
    Multi Format
    I've been dissapointed by some of my black and white shots taken on rocky shores. The rocks are very very dark and often in shadow while the ocean, sand, and sky are usually very very bright.

    Will a yellow or orange filter help with the contrast or should I try using a neutral grad?
  2. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

    Sep 10, 2002
    Oregon and Austria
    4x5 Format
    I would use neither...

    Although the graduated ND filter might work for you, I don't usually like the look... An orange filter will darken shadows lit by blue skylight, thereby increasing the contrast, the opposite of what you want.

    If you want the rocks to be detailed and lighter than black, you need to give more exposure. In Zone System parlance, place the rocks higher (Zone IV). Then you need to meter the highlights and adjust development to keep them in a printable range. If you're not using the Zone System then "pull" your film (a term I dislike that means give more exposure and less development...).

    If you desire to darken the sky, a polarizer will often do the job without the disadvantage of dumping the shadows. It darkens and removes reflection from water as well.

    If you feel you need an orange filter or the like to darken the sky, be aware that your shadow values will go down as well, and you'll need to compensate even more with exposure/development if you want lots of detail in the dark shaded rocks.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus Scudder