Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Immense Power of Film

Seven stops.  That's a downright killer for Digital and Slide film.  Seven stops of over exposure will completely blow out mid-tones, highlights, and bring shadows to a point where they will become highlights.

Seven stops is unheard of for even getting an image with Slide and Digital, and yet.

Take IR film with an IR filter, and that's what you have to do.  Take the film's speed, and drop about 7 stops off the rated speed to account for the filter, and hope the light comes through enough on the film.  After all, IR light is a funny thing.

Using Rollei IR400, I was exposing for 3 to 6EI, which is between 6 and 7 stops over exposed.
This allows enough light to get through the filter and expose the film, giving an image.

"Humber Light" - Bronica ETRs - Zenzanon 75mm ƒ/2.8 @ ƒ/11 1/8s
As you can see it has an absolutely gorgeous look that standard B&W film just cannot see.  It is a wonderful effect.

Now that said, what happens when you meter for EI3 or EI6 and expose the film without remembering to attach the filter?

Well, what happens to a digital image 7 stops over exposed.
Why, you blow it out.  Basically you have no chance of saving even the tiniest bit of detail.

Well, this is the thing about Negative film.  It has such immense latitude that you can save images that are essentially blown to pieces.

"Broken" - Bronica ETRs - Zenzanon 75mm ƒ/2.8 @ ƒ/16 1/4s
I wondered the same thing.  I had shot this image, and as soon as it was finished exposing I looked down and noticed the filter still in my hand.  Yup, I shot this without attaching the filter to the camera.

I thought, "Nope.. I've lost this image.."
It was also the very last frame on the roll.  I know I had a whole roll of great images, but this one image was, well... lost!

Apparently, this film has such incredible power, incredible latitude, it is, for lack of a better word...  Incredible!

It blew my mind, not the highlights. Yes, I know that the some of the highlights ARE blown out, but considering that the detail in the mid-tones is still there, and there is still shadows, I cannot imagine this image even being remotely salvageable on anything but Film.

+Holger Drallmeyer had an oopsie where he forgot to attach the filter and blew out two sheets of IR film.
I suggested stand-developing in a Rodinal 1+200 mixture for 60 minutes to help even it all out.  But this was developed in Rodinal 1+50 for standard times, and it worked out .. well quite amazingly well!

For those that have accidentally done something similar and were not sure how to develop the film.  Well, why not try developing it normally. You never know, you might be surprised!

Until next time,  Keep those shutters firing!

1 comment:

  1. That's just it, though.. With a digital camera you have one choice.. Shoot a positive image. Digital sensors are much better today than they have ever been, and can capture a wide latitude of information, but with film you have the option of shooting a negative instead of a positive, which increases the amount of information you can capture.
    I never stated a thing about slide film since slide and digital share a common result being.. A positive image.
    I was shooting negative, and therefore a lot of the image information was still there..
    If I reversed this imaged, all I would have been left with is a bit of shadow detail that was in deep shadow, but would simply have become my zone 4/5 while everything else would be blown out.
    I know both the limitations of negative and positive images.
    Digital and film photography both have their merits and flaws..