MPJ: Ep.24 (Pondering Black and White)

In this week’s episode, I discuss my view on both color and black and white photography.

3 Responses to “MPJ: Ep.24 (Pondering Black and White)”

  1. Matthew Saville Says:

    Like you said, if you ask for input you’ll probably get a list of every film ever made, but I will say that Fuji Acros is fantastic. I thoroughly enjoy shooting it, when the conditions are right. Grab a really dark ND filter and go for some 1-5 min long exposures in broad daylight, that’s always fun!

    =Matt=

  2. Greg Says:

    Ben,
    I have enjoyed your video journals. I also would suggest Acros. In 8×10 you will have to order it from Japan. It has the best reciprocity numbers of any B&W film. Delta 100 is nice as well. It’s a cheaper alternative when shooting shorter exposures.

    Greg

  3. Alex Says:

    Im a bit different to you in that I shoot primarily a black and white photographer, who occasionally shoots colour when I feel its required to tell the tale or convey the feeling I’m trying to project with an image..

    I shoot a mixture of B/W films depending on two key factors.

    Light quality:
    In beautiful, buttery soft light I like to shoot something that compliments that feel, Fuji Acros is really great for this. I generally record up to 12 stops of range in a well exposed and developed 4×5 Acros negative, I get flat negatives that take contrast enhancement in post processing (or darkroom printing) very well.

    Scene:
    For a scene like a seascape, or perhaps a shot like your Salt Lake shots, I like a really punchy, contrasty film that will render deep shadows and bright highlights. I like a monochrome version of velvia. For this look, I shoot Fomapan 100, I expose it as ASA 50, and under-develop it by about 10%. This gives me shadow texture and hints of detail while retaining all highlight information. negatives are contrasty and scans/darkroom prints basically come out looking much like the negative.

    A waterfall or canyon floor image on the other hand I want something that can dig into the shadow areas and give me detail, I like a bit of grain as it adds a sense of texture to these shots.. Kodak T-Max 100 is great for this..

    I develop my own black and whites, and my own E6 also, however E6 is a regimented, clear cut process where by you have 0 room for interpretation. Development is done for set times at a very strict temperature and what you shot is what you get.

    Nearly every black and white film can be rated differently to box speed depending on what you want to achieve… you can then alter your development times and temperatures to manipulate the contrast and range of what you captured to either extend or contract dynamic range and tonalities, you can use a plethora of different developing chemicals to create entirely different images from identically exposed negatives (or blend two developers together to get a “best of both worlds” scenario if you want to.. Once scanned, you can adjust the contrast and tones much easier than you can with scanned E6 and darkroom prints (either contact prints or enlarged prints) can be manipulated in many ways quite easily..

    I honestly think you would love B/W… Its sad to say it, but I have 60 sheets of 4×5 Velvia 50 left, thats probably the last velvia I will ever buy, Ektar 100 is far more readily available but I struggle with scanning C41 (although its easier to develop than E6).. Every B/W emulsion that I enjoy is still readily available and CHEAP by comparison. I’m paying $136AU for 20 sheets of 4×5 velvia, and $48AU for 50 sheets of fomapan 100….

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