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Sunday, November 6

From mind's eye to blog post

 In an earlier post, Internal v External Visualisation, I wrote a little about a photograph I'd visualised whilst standing in a forest weighed down by my Rollie SL66E outfit. At the time of writing, the film had still to be developed and I wondered if I was tempting fate. Happily, the developer Gods were kind and the result is above.

Without some backlighting, this shot would not have been worth taking: the framework of upwards spreading branches would have been lost in the general clutter of the forest. As it is, the branches are well-differentiated from the lighter background for a nice effect.

After picturing this look in my mind's eye, the next thing was to figure out how to translate that image into the two dimensions of a piece of silver gelatin film. I wanted the main trunk area to be quite dark but didn't want to over-cook the highlights and end up with a soot-and-whitewash look. I took a meter reading close up against the base of the trunk where the branches just start to split apart and closed down two stops to place it on Zone III. That would mean a dark but not featureless tree.

I metered the lightest part of the sky and was pretty sure that the two-bath developer I'd be using would prevent the highlights blocking up, and so it proved. The negative is one that Barry Thornton used to call "flexible" in that there's enough information all over for it to be capable of a number of interpretations.

There was enough room to have managed the shot using the 80mm Planar but I went in close, set the tripod up a foot off the ground with the 40mm on the camera and shot upwards to emphasise the height of the tree.

The film was T-Max 100 rated at 80 ISO. I bought 15 rolls at a decent price from AG Photographic and it's proving a nice combination with the two-bath. T-Max 100 can be a touch on the contrasty side and some people complain of losing the highlights through overexposure and/or over-development. I can't say I've seen any sign of that with the two bath.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

great shot! i bet it would be a marvelous print.