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Edworthy Bridge compositions

This is a discussion on Edworthy Bridge compositions within the Black and White - Monochrome/Monotone - photography forum forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; 1. Under (Kodak Tri-X 400) 2. Circles (Kodak Tri-X 400 3. Circles II (Kodak Tri-X 400 4. Shadow (Kodak Tri-X ...

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    Default Edworthy Bridge compositions

    1. Under (Kodak Tri-X 400)


    2. Circles (Kodak Tri-X 400


    3. Circles II (Kodak Tri-X 400


    4. Shadow (Kodak Tri-X 400


    5. View (Ilford Delta 400)
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    I am digging #2. The dark line down the left side of #1 is throwing me off.
    "The worst thing about taking a great image is that your next one has to be better!"

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    I'm all about shot 4 here. Cool set
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    Thanks for the comments. AT, it threw me off too, as I couldn't decide if it was actual debris or dust on the negative from the scan. I think it's debris because I can see it in the shadow photo, #4 in the right location. I'll clone it out before I print it.
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    My preference is Circles 1. I really like the last one, but it has the appearance to me of underexposure. I know nothing about film and processing so please educate me.

    Is this because;
    1. It is a bit underexposed.
    2. It is the film processing
    3. This is one of the properties of Ilford Delta 400.

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    Quote Originally Posted by asnow View Post
    My preference is Circles 1. I really like the last one, but it has the appearance to me of underexposure. I know nothing about film and processing so please educate me.

    Is this because;
    1. It is a bit underexposed.
    2. It is the film processing
    3. This is one of the properties of Ilford Delta 400.

    Good questions. Quick answer is yes to all three.
    Long answer follows:
    For me the charm of shooting black and white film is exactly that there are so many variables that can affect the exposure. I find myself seeking out sharp contrast, bright sunny days at noon for example, that digital photographers tend to avoid, to highlight the black and white. In #5 here, there was a lot of white and the reflections of the footprints immediately attracted me. In the background there are the trees on the shoreline that are in shadow and underexposed, but not completely black. So it became an exposure problem, capturing the white foreground properly without obliterating the dark background.

    Exposure compensation is my friend. Sometimes the mantra expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights works for me. (Do I have that right? I can never remember.) Film slows me down thinking about the correct exposure, and bracketing is much harder and costly than in digital.

    The film type seems to play a part in the end, but in general, faster film like Delta 400 has more grain (like higher ISO settings in digital producing more noise). The type of grain and the contrast levels are unique to each film type, but I do find it hard to distinguish film types just by looking at photos. So I buy both Kodak and Ilford film and experiment with both. I have several cameras each loaded with different film types.

    The film processing also affects the result, with different types of developers changing the look of the photo by changing the contrast. When I was using a commercial developer at a camera store here in Calgary, I found the resulting negatives came back with lots of spots and even scratches (at $10 a roll).

    So I bought the equipment to develop myself. There are many different developers and I chose to try Kodak XTOL, almost randomly. This proved a good enough choice. It would be costly and even more time consuming to try several different developers at once. Reading and looking at other people's photos has taught me a lot about advantages and disadvantages of different developers. When my XTOL is used up, I'll move on to try something else. At least my negatives are clean now, although they readily attract dust which I'm constantly blowing off.

    After developing, I scan the negatives in a flat bed scanner. This is possibly a weak point in my processing workflow, because my scanner scans only to 4800 dpi, whereas more sophisticated scanners go to 6400 dpi. And can cost as much as $1000.

    Then I have software to convert the negative digital scan to a positive, and I use Photoshop and Lightroom as well to process "to my taste". I've learned to "love the one you're with" as the song says.

    It's obvious that these film photos are nowhere near as sharp or as well exposed as most of the digital photos on display. In some ways I feel relieved of the responsibility to deliver consistently sharp, well exposed photos. The grain and blur are features, not bugs.

    Looking at photos in a film only group in Flickr, for example (I Shoot Film is my go to) I see that my compositions and exposures are relatively decent, and I am learning to get better results the more I shoot. I like what I have achieved so far. But I do almost always carry a digital camera with me for those times when only a sharp, well exposed color photo will do.
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    Hard for me to decide what might be the cause of the darker portion of the frame in the first shot. Do you use a scanner that has negative holders or is it one of the models that you feed the negative in on side and it comes out the other as it scans? Maybe that particular frame on the roll sat in the camera for a while before it was exposed and if the camera wasn't stored in a dark bag it could mean there is a leaking light seal? I doesn't look like debris to me, I'd be more inclined to chalk it up to the processing, scanner, or camera.
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    Looking at the photo and negative again, I think I misinterpreted AT's original point about that photo. I was looking at the piece of debris next to the bridge, not the broad dark strip running down the left side of the frame. This frame was actually the first shot on the roll, but the last to be shot because the camera winds the roll onto the spool when loading the film and then winds backwards shot by shot. So when loading onto the spool to get the film into the developing tank, it was the first one. And sometimes the developer doesn't spread out evenly over the film wound on the spools, in spite of the slots that are meant to keep the film from touching other film. And in spite of agitating the film in the tank while it is developing, as is recommended. Again, there are so many variables at play, and it isn't possible to see the final results until quite a few events have happened, any one of which could make a difference. And yet, film isn't dead...
    I do agree that it is bothersome for the picture as a whole, and probably not correctable.
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    Sometimes the mantra expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights works for me. (Do I have that right? I can never remember.)
    100% CORRECT. Once the shadows are clipped they are forever dead, so in film photography always always expose for shadows unless you are going for a particular effect.
    (I printed BW and used the zone system to shoot and print for years...it's a bit similar to RAW in digital, in that you get a meatier (more info) negative.) And the prints from those negatives will always sing louder. They will have more 'dynamic range'. The blacks will have more shadow detail - the whites will have more highlight detail. If you've never seen an Ansel print up close, it's a thing of beauty...even the 35mm stuff.

    It's obvious that these film photos are nowhere near as sharp or as well exposed as most of the digital photos on display. In some ways I feel relieved of the responsibility to deliver consistently sharp, well exposed photos. The grain and blur are features, not bugs.
    hmmmm.....I disagree...If there is no flaw in your exposure technique, and your gear also has no flaws, your prints should be tack sharp and well exposed. They should sing.
    Any Photography modern masters BW exhibition should prove this to you.
    I'd check the negatives with a loupe.
    A reasonably well exposed but sharp negative should be the goal.
    Not in all frames, because we are human...but in most frames, yes.

    The area you focused on should be tack sharp. If it is, and it should be, the scanning is indeed the weak link. If it isn't, you should do a flat newspaper on a wall test with the camera on a tripod and parallel to the newspaper plane. Focus carefully on the letters and lock in that focus. Cable release or self timer each shot changing only the aperture apertures. The negs should be seriously sharp.

    The grain is another sorry, that's just seasoning. But blur, unless you wanted it, should not be present imo.

    This is an immense topic...if a phone call in the future may help, it's my pleasure.

    Hope that may help.
    Last edited by Marko; 02-14-2017 at 08:48 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbrager View Post
    This frame was actually the first shot on the roll, but the last to be shot because the camera winds the roll onto the spool when loading the film and then winds backwards shot by shot. So when loading onto the spool to get the film into the developing tank, it was the first one.
    You may have mentioned it elsewhere, but may I ask what camera these were shot with? Seems a peculiar method of loading. Im interested because I have over fifty film cameras, none of which load in this fashion. It appears you have a model that I haven't added to the collection...yet.
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