Night time photography questions

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by darin3200, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    I plan on doing some night time photography today and I have some questions. I am thinking about shooting my kodak t-max 400 at 800 or 1600 and push processing.

    First question deals with film speed, I understand that higher speed film reacts faster to light, but what changes in my film camera when I set it to shoot 1600? Is a 1/256th shutter speed going to be the same at 400 and 1600? Why even change the camera iso settings?

    The light meter in my camera has a little needle that goes up if there is too much light, down if there is too little and therefore won't be much help at night. Any tips of how to judge what shutterspeed I should be shooting at?
     
  2. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    Pushing your film from 400ISO to 800ISO gains you 1 stop. That is, the film needs one stop less light.
    The practical effect of this is - if your exposre at 400 is 1/125th @ f8 then pushing to 800 changes the exposure to 1/125th @ f11 OR 1/250th @ f8.
    The pushed film needs 1 stop less and the change in settings reduces the amount of light getting to the film by 1 stop.
    If you didn't make any changes to your exposure then you would still be shooting at 400ISO.
    Pushing to 1600ISO will give you an increase of 2 stops.
    What you are actually doing is underexposing the film and you therefore have to extend your development time to cope with this.
    The rule of thumb for processing is to give 20% extra time per stop increase. But check the manufacturers data as some developers may need more or less adjustment.
    It's always best to shoot a test roll first and use that to assess your development time.
    Do remember that pushing B&W film compresses the tonal scale and increases grain.
    Two stops is just about the maximum you can push most B&W films.

    As for the light meter.
    You realy need to get a good hand held that can cope with low light levels.
    One trick you could try is to set up your camera and hold a white card in front of your camera, angled to get the maximum illumination. Take the reading and then drop it by 2 to 3 stops. It's a very crude hit-or-miss method but it may work.
     
  3. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    Cool, thanks a lot of the help, now its time to go do some stree photography :)
     
  4. wharrison

    wharrison TPF Noob!

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    Darin3200:

    The following suggestions might be of some help.

    1. You might search Amazon.com, abe.com, or alibris.com to see if you can obtain a recent edition in good to excellent condition of either the Kodak Master Photoguide or the Kodak Professional Photoguide. Either one will probably be outdated, but buried within are several different movable exposure guides to aid you in your beginning endeavors.

    Here's a link to the listing and reviews of the Kodak Professional Photoguide at Amazon.com

    [ame]http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0879857595/ref=pd_sxp_f/102-7448605-0349751?v=glance&s=books[/ame]

    2. If you continue in your night time photography endeavor, you might wish to explore the option of purchasing a good hand held exposure meter, such as the Luna Pro or the Luna Pro SBC; there are several other good meters, but I am not entirely familiar with them.

    A few test rolls should put you in the correct exposure ball park.

    3. If you are into developing and printing your own B & W negatives, I'd also suggest switching to Diafine and using Tri-X at ASA/ISO 1250/1600 (1/3 stop difference). Keep your temperatures and timing (pouring in, agitation, etc.) consistent all the way through the entire developing process.

    4. A search on the internet, through Amazon.com, your local book store, or through the Porter's (Cedar Rapids, IA) catalog might reveal some useful books on night time or available light photography

    Sorry this will probably not be of much assistance this evening, but it will hopefully be so in the future.

    Best regards in your photographic endeavors.

    Bill
     
  5. Artemis

    Artemis Just Punked Himself

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    When I do night photography I use ISO 100, with f22, cause personally if your doing not so fast moving objects, it gives a great effect!
     
  6. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    Artemis do you ever notice a problem with "starburst" from the small aperature? I dont know what the technical name is but was told that using a small aperature will cause that around lights.
     
  7. DIRT

    DIRT TPF Noob!

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    yeah, I personally use 100iso and a small aperture about f22 on 4x5 and f11 for 35mm. the faster films are okay if you need to stop action but the grain is milky with 100 and i personally dont mind listening to my ipod and waiting out a 30min+ exposure.

    and your negs are gonna be CONTRASTY. you need to use development to compensate. I use a water bath development.
     

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