Developing long exposures...

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Senator75, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. Senator75

    Senator75 TPF Noob!

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    Does anyone else out there have problems getting long exposure shots developed? I recently shot several rolls of long exposure shots out in the desert at night, and the vast majority of them didn't turn out at all. I pretty much know what I'm doing, so without sounding too pompous, I'm blaming the developer (the local drug store). To back up my theory even more...the first roll I shot had some regular exposure photos on it, and the entire roll turned out alright. It was the rolls that had all long exposure shots that didn't turn out.

    Has anyone else had problems like this? Does anyone know how those automatic developer machines work? I think that might have something to do with it...like the machine was trying to compensate for the exposures and messed it up...

    Any ideas?

    Sen
     
  2. Protean

    Protean TPF Noob!

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    did you compensate for reciprocity?

    the machine doesn't know, or care the exposer times, especially since they'll change from frame to frame, and the whole strip is developed at once

    so if you have the exposer correct, then all will be well, and you can get something out of the film (rememeber films got crap for shadow details, and is really good with highlight details, so if you underexposed but more than a stop or 2, you won't get jack), if that is the case, then it is the developers fault, but if you didn't compensate for reciprocity, than its yours, and you most likely underexposed by 3+ stops (depending on how long they were)
     
  3. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There should be a data sheet available for your film which details the reciprocity exposure corrections. Also, when in doubt, bracket.
     
  4. Philip Weir

    Philip Weir TPF Noob!

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    I would need to know what exposure you were giving to know if reciprocity was a factor in the problem. When you say you were shooting in a desert at night, was there any light about, moon, stars etc. If you couldn't see anything, I suspect no matter what exposure you used, you would get nothing on the film. Check your lens is staying open on long exposure.
     
  5. j_mcquillen

    j_mcquillen TPF Noob!

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    If this is the case, then it is highly unlikely to be the fault of the developer. Film is processed without regard to the length of exposure - if some shots came out ok, then they all should have, if they were correctly exposed.

    It sounds to me as if the night shots simply weren't exposed for long enough, or that there was some other problem (shutter sticking, aperture not opening up correctly etc). First check there's no problem with your camera, then check your exposures, accounting for reciprocity failure etc.
     
  6. Senator75

    Senator75 TPF Noob!

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    Okay, thanks for the help, even though I'm not sure I've gotten to the bottom of this.

    In case anyone cares for more details...it was in the desert, during a full moon, and I bracketed all my shots. I couldn't tell you what the expsoure times were, but I know they ranged into the minutes at times.

    I'm still skeptical as to why the one roll, which started with normally exposed pictures, turned out the best for the long exposure shots. Why would the shots on that roll turn out while none of the other shots did, when they were all done on the same night, with the same exposures, etc? That's why I suspected the developer...

    Oh well...I'll figure it out eventually.

    Sen
     
  7. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Hi Senator

    it is to do with the processing machine automating development, the first few shots of correctly exposed shots are what the machine goes on, so if you decide to do night/long ex shots take 3-4 normal/correct exposed at the beginning of the roll.
    its also best to use a light meter and bracket shots towards overexposure rather than under, reciprocity failure will occur for colour film, some are better than others at handling this, trial n error will in time reap rewards though. B & W film is better for night shots and can handle exposures over long periods, I have several upwards of 30 minutes that are excellent. H
     

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