Shooting b&w in snow...?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by 6Speed, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. 6Speed

    6Speed TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys, question. Is there anything I need to do when shooting in snow? I will be on a ski trip next weekend and I want to shoot a lot. I don't want the prints to look washed out, or overly grey. I have been doing some searching online, and read a few tips, but I want to get other opinions. I read that I could change my ISO setting to a lower setting. I have shot all 400 speed tri-x all semester, with my ISO set to 200. Will the 400 speed be ok for snow?

    Thanks!
    Zack
     
  2. paul rond

    paul rond TPF Noob!

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    I guess you are shooting your ASA at 200 because of the developer combo you are using.

    Expose as normal, keep your same ASA, just under develope your flim by 15% to 30% of your standard time to alow details in the highlights otherwise you'll block em up.

    To do some experimneting in your developing times... shooting a white towel in the sun is a perfect test. Expose as you normally would and bracket. Repeat this for an entire roll.

    To develope, cut your film strip into 1' lengths. develope one at normal time, another at -15% and the third at -30% to see at what point in your development starts blocking and details are unprintable.

    The bracketing will help you to rate your ASA since you say you shoot at 200 instead of 400.
     
  3. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    actually, shooting at 200 ei and under developing will make what whites you do have look like mud. shooting a 400 asa film at 200 ei is overexposing by a stop and under developing by that amount is essentially underexposing by a stop. you're back to shooting 400 asa and developing as normal.

    if you have been shooting at 200 and developing thus far and seeing good results that you would call 'normal', then it's merely an adjustment of stops. it's this simple.

    [​IMG]

    your meter wants the snow at zone 5 - middle gray. each zone on the scale represents a stop. to go toward the white zones, you need to open it up (overexpose) by the number of stops to get to that zone. or you could shoot as normal and over develop by 20% or so (depending on the developer). this will open up your whites so they aren't gray.

    this, of course (as mentioned), is all contingent on your results of shooting it at 200 ei so far. do the whites look ok to you or are they blown out?
     
  4. paul rond

    paul rond TPF Noob!

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    I think you have your zone system rules confused.

    If you are exposing for shadows with details, and developing for highlights, where does over exposing and over developing come in when contraction is what's need here?

    With properly tested development, you are under rating your 400 ASA film for the developer/film combo not as compensation for exposure. If for example, using Microdol-X with TMY, you tend to loose a stop because this developer has a low activity level, thus the need to rate the film at 200 to print 9 zones on a number 2 grade paper. It has nothing to do with exposure but more about the activity of the developer used in combination with the emulsion to render a "Normal" print. If using HC110, on the otherhand, there is no loss of ASA rating in this combination since the activity level of this developer is much higher than Microdol-X, which will tend to block the highs faster, making the film rating faster in this developer.

    After rating your film/developer, expose for shadows with details then place that reading in in Zone 3 to render a rich black with detail. Read the white highlight of the snow and you'll see it will be well above 7 stops difference. This situation requires under development in order to keep the highs form blocking up since the shadows have fully developed in the first half of the development process but will continue to develope the highs to an unprintable desity. This scene needs contraction not expansion in order to be able to print 9 zones and yet maintain details in both shadow and highlights. So underdeveloment will not effect the shadows but will underdevelope the highlights forcing them to fall in a printable range of the #2 paper.
     
  5. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    hardly.

    as i stated:

    you don't know if contraction is needed; he hasn't answered the question. if you know your zone system properly, then he has his development time worked out for shooting at 200ei, which means under development will muddy the highlights.
     
  6. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    and you are also assuming that what he will be shooting is predominantly zone 9/10. making a blanket suggestion as you made without understanding his current procedure is, at best, misinformation.
     
  7. paul rond

    paul rond TPF Noob!

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    What? Please explain?
     
  8. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    i'll elaborate.

    he's looking for answers that you and i have, but (and this is in no way offensive to you, 6Speed; believe it or not we're trying to help :) ) a zone system shooter would know how to shoot and develop these situations. would you give him the same recommendation if he were shooting matrix metering with 80% of his ttl view being snow? no, and neither would i.

    what i'm saying is that we don't even know if the 200 speed is working out for him (i'd like to see some shots posted), nor do we know his metering practices. these are critical to zone system shooting (i don't need to tell you that), but reading into the question, i don't think he's looking for a zone system answer (yet). we need more info is all i'm saying.
     
  9. 6Speed

    6Speed TPF Noob!

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    My whites have looked fine with an ASA of 200. I'm using tri-x 400 speed, with a developement time of 7 minutes (don't know what kind of developer, it's what's in the lab). This is my first photography class as I'm sure you can tell.

    The tips thus far that I've gotten online have ranged from simply opening up an extra stop, to metering a graycard before shooting my subject.

    I'm sure that snow is going to be the majority of what is in my shots. However, I would like to go out early mornings and shoot things like ice, or frost before too many people are out.
     
  10. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    how are you metering, my friend? matrix auto metering?
     
  11. 6Speed

    6Speed TPF Noob!

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    More terms I'm not completely familar with. :) I am shooting with a Pentax k-1000 with a 50mm lens. I normally just adjust the exposure/apature according to the meter, for the overall picture. However, I do some spot metering in some situations.
     
  12. motcon

    motcon TPF Noob!

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    ok, so you have an off camera meter that does spot, correct?

    we aren't trying to confuse u here ;)
     

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