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Tuesday, 17 May 2022


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Thank you for the advice. I usually apply DxO Film Pack of Nik Silverfast, making some adjustments to the presets if I find it suitable. I particularly like the new Nik Preset "More Silver".

...the spectral response is different...

You showed us how you modified the curve, but not the spectral response. Please elaborate on the latter. Thanks!

Talking about gif's-

The problem I have with the auto-changing GIF is that I don't remember which state was first, which makes talking about them hard! Maybe you could include a word in the bottom of the image (even outside the original image area) to label the two states to be sure we're talking about the same things?

Although I never even thought of using a GIF for this (partly because my first cases of needing it were in color maybe; don't remember why). I first used a javascript method that shows one image when you are not hovering over it, and a different image when you are (so it's clear which is original and which is later, and so the user is in control).

Lately I've seen a tool that lets the user drag the dividing line between the two forms of the image back and forth, so you can compare them locally across a dividing line whereever you want. This must be more complicated, but I'm sure free versions are out there (yep, here's one, with a bad but working example

I suspect “tastes have changed” in B&W simply because people can’t emulate the more pleasing tones of B&W film with digital.

If Ms. Lange used Kodak Panatomic-X film*, then her 'sunny 16' exposure would have been 1/25 sec @ 16. Had she set her Rolliflex Standard to 22, for the maximum depth-of-feild, then her exposure would be 1/10 sec @ 22.

*this was the first b&w film I ever used. Fell in love with it instantly. Kodak discontinued it the very same year. :(

I think that curve you advise is closer to the curve of human eyesight, at least according to the 1000 page Z6 manual I bought from Thom Hogan. I've been using variations of it ever since you last advised it. I tend to pull from a slightly higher point for a little more contrast, but that's about it.

Current taste is a good way to describe it. I really like photographers who master shadow details. It seems like there were more of them with film. Maybe because digital is so good at shadows, people don't put as much thought into them. Or maybe pulling up in post just doesn't look as good with digital... don't know. Roy DeCarava is one of my favorite shadow specialists.


Yes it's changing every 5 seconds. That trick works great for most of my B&W quick looks.

The Lange photo is amazing. Wow-the composition! Thanks.

That's why I shoot my B&W in colour, even on film. It's the absolute control over the outcome. Want to have a TRI-X look? Acros? T-MAX? one push of a button and you're set!

Mike said: "I love Dorothea"
Oh, how I agree!
I bought "A Vision Shared" and although Walker Evans' photographs are perfect, Dorothea's work is beyond that.

Good point.
But, could the GIF's delay be shorter than those 5 secs.? Let's say 3, or so. Things are faster now... ;)

I was puzzled when I read that was the first GIF you ever made. In the early days of digital imaging the GIF format was just a lossless alternative to the JPG format that uses lossy compression. Later, being a more flexible format than JPG or others, it became used for short animated video files too. I would call the file you created an animated GIF.

And thank you for the link to Shorpy*com! An amazing resource.

The Dorothea is a superb print, it’s alive with those luscious tones. It places you at the scene at that moment in time, but then again I’m old school when it comes to B&W printing. The other examples I am hoping you prefer the one where the whites, (in the blouse) are kept in check with detail rather than blown out. Far too many B&W images I see today are too contrasty, overused HDR, no subtle detail in the dark shadows and of course blown out highlights, YUCK !!!!

GIF is cool. Sure agree on style changing.

I caveat this question by pointing out that I've never exposed film, only silicon. But what's to recommend the "before" frame with the blown highlights? Is it that capturing the full tonal range of the scene wasn't possible with film, but it is with digital? The frame with the full tonal range seems obviously better to me, which suggests that I'm missing something . . .

MIke, this is a bit of a tangent, but your comments on your tonal curve reminds me of this.

I don't know if you're a movie fan, but if you are, I'd be interested to hear your take on Greig Fraser's last two movies where he was director of photography: Dune and The Batman. I see a lot of interest in the shadows, and it's a different (and more beautiful) aesthetic than most other big budget movies out there, which seem to be converging on a bland kind of visual style with no point-of-view.

Of course, the color in both movies are a big part of his style as well, but his take on shadows intrigues me the most and your comment on your tonal curve reminded me of that. The preservation of highlight details is also a big feature, but that seems to be the flavor du jour for filmmakers who chase after highlight dynamic range.

Both films also went through a film printing process as their final step after the digital image was finished, with The Batman going through an interpositive with bleach bypass. There's an interview on YouTube with Matt Reeves (the director) and Fraser where they talk about the film thing as well their lens selection process, and it's an intriguing conversation: if you search for the "Dolby Matt Reeves interview" you should find the video.

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