how do I get twilight to LOOK like twilight?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by adampugh, Apr 16, 2007.

  1. adampugh

    adampugh TPF Noob!

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    Hi - I wondered if anyone could help... I've been shooting quite a bit at twilight but whilst the results are technically OK, the images taken as metered end up looking more like daylight - they're perfectly exposed, I guess, but I don't want them to look like daylight! I want the deep blue sky and so on. I do bracket the exposures but still don't really get close. What am I doing wrong? I'm using available (natural) light only and am shooting on a 6x7 using fuji provia 100. hope someone can help, adam
     
  2. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    With what are you metering and how? You need to understand that a meter of any kind, incident or reflected, will try to render the target to 18% grey. If you are metering a twilight sky, chances are, it's not middle grey. It's probably a stop to a stop and a half below that. I don't know how much you are bracketing. Before I give any more advice, I'd like to know how you are deciding on your initial exposure.
     
  3. adampugh

    adampugh TPF Noob!

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    Hi - thanks for replying. I'm metering with a Gossen lunasix, using reflected light. My bracketing's not as consistent as it could be, but I generally take a shot using the actual reading, and then two shots with it opened out a bit more to compensate for reciprocity failure - so with a long exposure (over 1'30), I generally take one with no adjustment, one at 1 1/2 stops below and one at 2 1/2 stops below. They all seem to come out pretty well, but the sky is always a bit washed out and the foreground's as bright as in daylight. I'm working on shots of trees, both inside and outside of forests, which no doubt has its own problems as there's so much contrast between the dark trees and otherwise light sky. Does that help you get a picture of what I'm doing? thanks, adam
     
  4. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Are you metering for the sky, or for the trees? With slide film, you aren't going to have much leeway in your exposures, and slides don't retain much highlight detail. You need to expose for the highlights. The film is not going to cover that dynamic range, so you are going to have to decide what kind of shot you are looking for, and compose accordingly.

    Fuji recommends NO compensation for reciprocity from 1/4000 to 128 seconds (2 min 8 sec). That's just a guideline. I probably wouldn't worry till 3 minutes or so. That being said, if the sky in your images is too bright, at 1:30, obviously you don't need to worry, as your exposures are going to need to be shorter anyway.

    Long exposures are always going to be a bit of trial and error, but I would say that if you are trying to retain a twighlight sky, you should meter the sky. If it's a dark blue, twighlight sky, you will probably want to start your exposures at 1 stop under. Bracket over and under this reading. At this point, I would recommend bracketing in 1/2 stops up to two full stops. It will be a good lesson when you see the final exposures.

    There might be a fair amount of light pollution also adding to your exposure. It's not something you can see with your eye, but in a long exposure, it will build up. Hope that helps.
     
  5. adampugh

    adampugh TPF Noob!

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    Hi Matt - thank you, that's fantastic. I've been metering for the trees as I assumed this would give the me the detail I wanted on the forest floor whilst keeping the deep sky, but I guess that's just a bit optimistic without flash for the forest floor, or whatever. I'll try what you suggest and see how it goes. thanks very much for your help! adam
     
  6. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    Meter the trees, and then meter the sky. Compare the two readings. If it's more than a 5 stop difference, you'll never get it. You can try using a graduated neutral density filter to cut down the exposure of the sky. The general rule with slide film though is definetly to expose for the highlights.
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It is a matter of exposure compensation. The meter will try to expose everything for the equivalent of medium gray. Twilight is darker than that so you have to adjust what the meter recommended by a stop or stop and a half. If you shoot snow it will be rendered as a medium gray by the meter. If you shoot a night cityscape, it will be rendered as medium gray by the meter. Take the meter reading as a recommendation not an answer. You can adjust the recommendation to get what you want as long as you understand what the meter is recommending and why.
     
  8. adampugh

    adampugh TPF Noob!

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    thank you both - I went out last night again with Digital Matt's advice in mind - definitely an improvement. Trouble is now I have silhouetted trees and dark foregrounds, of course, which I kind of knew would happen... and kind of knew I should probably take the average of two or more readings but didn't do. Exposing for the highlights alone seemed to work best with the lens opened out 1 stop above the meter's recommendation, interestingly. I'll go back and do one shot at 1 stop below the highlights reading, then, and then two variations on a combined reading and see where it gets me. This is getting expensive! thanks, adam
     
  9. cosmonaut

    cosmonaut No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Get your hands on a graduate filter. The filter is dark at the top and gradually turns light to the bottom. It balances the sky to the ground. It was the best investment by far that I have made epuiqment wise. No more blown out skies. Here is one I used the filter on.
    Cosmo

    [​IMG]
     
  10. adampugh

    adampugh TPF Noob!

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    one last question... would you recommend slide or neg film for this type of work? I've a sneaking suspicion that neg is best, but that would be annoying as I've been shooting on slide so far and want to ensure uniformity in prints as far as poss...
     

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