How to shoot B&W's...a q for for e_ (and others)...

Mask of Sanity

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e_:

In your topic thread "Catches" in the Eye...a simple trick, you mentioned when describing how you shot that pic that the Kodac T-Max400 was, quote, "pushed to 1600 for added contrast", which leads me to my question...

I am very "green" when it comes to shooting B&W, and am trying to learn how to deal with it (on a whole) to get good, meaty, images. My problem is, the images are coming out "flat", and I would like to punch up the contrast some. Typically, when I shoot B&W, I have been applying the same "rules" I employ for color film (expose @ +2/3 to +1 stop EI, then develop normally), but that isn't seeming to work as well as hoped. I have tried manipulating light to introduce more "brights and shadows" (or waiting for high contrast light), and this has helped...some...

What I want to know is this: are there some "rules of thumb" that I can employ, when shooting B&W, to increase the contrast (and effectiveness) in my images? I have heard about the Ansel rule, "expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights", but my problem is, I have all my work commercially developed, since I am not "darkroom proficient" (i.e., I don't understand the darkroom stuff). What can I ask my photomart to do? What should I do? ANY advice would be appreciated, thanks...

P.S. If ANYONE can offer any advice, for that matter, please feel free to comment...
 

oriecat

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It's late and I'm tired, so it's entirely possible that I am thinking wrong or getting confused... but it seems to me that if you are overexposing everything and then having it processed normally, that could be where a big problem is, because all of your shots will now be overexposed, so possibly too bright or washed out. When you want to change contrast, if you overexpose, you need to underdevelop. (And I think that's actually to lessen contrast so you can get more details in the highlights. But I could very well be confused on that part...)

Have you tried just shooting a roll without adjusting exposure to see how they come out when shot as metered?

Have you talked to your lab to see if they are able to push or pull process? I think most can, altho they may charge more.


(Editing to add a missing "r")
 

~rosey~

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you could try using a red lense whilst shooting to create higher contrast, depending on the film etc, they may come out grainier than usual. although you get your photos developed commercially, using filters in the process of enlaring also create higher contrast
 

alexanderhip

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Try using some filters:

yellow: More contrast for skys,subdues ambient light, good for portrait helps lightne the skin.

orange: Brings out texture in stone, darkens skys

red: Contrasts blue sky almost to black, clouds become more brilliant, ambient light is very subdued.

green: You can obtain greys which are impossible to obtain without, it will also lighten greenery. Portrait work it will darken the color of skin and lips.

You will lose a stop or 2 so make the necessary adjustments.

I use Kodak T-max, and Ive had very good results with it. Its a lot cheaper then the pro film.

hope this helps.
 

Josh

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yup try filters.

Don't overexpose quit so much. About 1/3 of a stop is good. You could try a high contrast film too.
 

motcon

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if you have NO control over the development and printing then, as mentioned, try filters.

examples:


http://motionless-continuum.com/tpf/image.jpeg

OR

e_ is correct; pushing film will increase contrast, but you must tell the folks that process your film that you pushed 'x' number of stops.

OR

shoot at the normal ei and expose for the shadows, but tell your lab to add about 20% to the development time. (this varies from film to film. i can speak for ilford films and kodak hie).

OR

if you want drastic contrast, try kodak tech pan. it's very close to a 'lith film', but not. shoot at around an ei of 12 (yes, twelve). TACK sharp grain, but it is a fickle film. i shoot it at 12 and bracket a 1/3 over and under and can still end up with not a single good neg. if you can control it, it's fab. btw, the lab should know to develop it in technidol.
 

motcon

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an example:



z1.jpg





i placed the upper part of the stem on zone 3, then increased development time to bring out the highlights (whites).
 

fadingaway1986

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I would say you would have to know the people in the lab pretty well to get them to speed up the processing on one film.

I work in a lab, and the machine we use accepts lots of films at once, so in order to speed one up, it would have to have the machine running one film, or risk ruining other films...

The films generally take about 10 minutes to go through all the chemicals & come out... So on a busy day, the labs generally don't have time for a film to be going through on its own...
 

motcon

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fadingaway1986 said:
I would say you would have to know the people in the lab pretty well to get them to speed up the processing on one film.



professional labs here in the states are the only labs that will do true b&w and will gladly push or pull a stop or two.
 

ksmattfish

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fadingaway1986 said:
I would say you would have to know the people in the lab pretty well to get them to speed up the processing on one film.

For pushing film you'd actually want to slow it down.

Similar to Motcon's statements, my experience is that pro-labs (at least out here in the midwest USA) are using Jobo rotary processors for traditional BW dev, and can set the dev time to any time, although they are probably going by whatever Kodak, Ilford, etc... recommends.

But for pushing E6 or C41 it is important to talk to your lab, because as fadingaway said, not all labs are equipped to do it or have the time. Even the pro labs I visit can't really push E6 or C41 more than once. I have to drive off to the big city (KC) or mail it away.
 

fadingaway1986

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We have a C41 at work...

I am pretty sure we would be able to do it, however, it would be extremely time consuming. (There is a dial on the back of the machine, and I would say it would have to be set so that we have to manually turn it. at the moment, the dial takes 4 seconds to do a full 360 degree rotation. So if the films generally take 10 minutes - do you want to be the lucky person having to turn the dial for the exact right amount of time for 10 minutes? - Not me!)
 

jack

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hey everyone

fadingaway1986 - would you know what the best automated machines
are that i currently being used in commercial labs ? also, any standard
software that they all operate ?. im curious to see how these labs actually operate.





fadingaway1986 said:
I would say you would have to know the people in the lab pretty well to get them to speed up the processing on one film.

I work in a lab, and the machine we use accepts lots of films at once, so in order to speed one up, it would have to have the machine running one film, or risk ruining other films...

The films generally take about 10 minutes to go through all the chemicals & come out... So on a busy day, the labs generally don't have time for a film to be going through on its own...
 

jack

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pro-labs (at least out here in the midwest USA) are using Jobo rotary processors for traditional BW dev said:
that answers my question already a bit. :wink:
 

fadingaway1986

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I really wouldn't have a clue what the best equipment is... I think our lab is reasonably old, and therefore a lot of the stuff is outdated...
I think the software on the printer is Kodak software, and the OS is Windows 98... All I can tell you is our printer is Noritsu. And it runs on Kodak Chemicals & Kodak Paper...

I am not sure what anything else in there is though. I'll have a look if I get time at work tonight though and try to work out the machines...
 

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