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Archive 2013 · B&W toddler in bath
  
 
xopowo
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · B&W toddler in bath


Hi,

Comments?

Thanks!

Todd




Jan 16, 2013 at 10:20 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · B&W toddler in bath


Cute shot.
Great expression, eye contact.
I like the BW but the grain is too strong for my taste.
Bright object along the lower edge could be darkened to become less of a distraction.
I would also darken the edge of the tub and consider some additional darkening of the RLC. +/- vignette.

Scott



Jan 16, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · B&W toddler in bath


Welcome Todd,

Kids make the greatest subjects, especially for candids such as this lovely image.

I think Scott touched upon points I'd mention, grain, contrast, etc. For an image like this, you might want to consider a hi-key approach, for my taste it is a little too dark.

I've taken the liberty of re-working slightly - given the grain etc, could not go too far but I used Dfine 2.0 to remove noise/grain and then Viveza to add brightness - these simply because they are easiest and quickest but LR can certainly accomplish the same results. Added a crop and vignette. If you object I will gladly remove the image.

My two favorite subjects, 3 1/2 & 18-month old grandchildren return to the Netherlands in a week - gonna miss them and must find new subjects as well

Regards,

Bob







Jan 17, 2013 at 12:59 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · B&W toddler in bath


+1 @ too much grain


Jan 17, 2013 at 01:53 AM
xopowo
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · B&W toddler in bath


Grain: I don't understand why the grain is so pronounced (this is TriX pushed to 1600). Now I am thinking it might simply be a bad scan.

Scott: perfect

Bob: thanks so much for this. (I had to Google Dfine and Viveza). Very interesting to see this approach (I like it). I am going to experiment with some tabular grain film, it should give me something similar to work with.



Jan 17, 2013 at 03:06 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · B&W toddler in bath


It's a bit much, even for pushing Tri-X to 1600 if it's the full frame, although 1600 is rather heavily pushed. Back in the day I occasionally used 3200 ASA film pushed some to get that much grain. Of course developer choice also matters as does the processing temp/technique. If memory serves, I used to use a fairly dilute soft-acting developer when pushing Tri-X to avoid excessive grain.


Jan 17, 2013 at 03:19 AM
 

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dmacmillan
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · B&W toddler in bath


xopowo wrote:
Grain: I don't understand why the grain is so pronounced (this is TriX pushed to 1600). Now I am thinking it might simply be a bad scan.

Grain that large would not be unusual, especially when pushing Tri-X (which is grainy to begin with) this much. What developer did you use?

The scan can be a factor. What dpi did you use? I've read that sometimes there's an interference pattern set up and that scanning at a different dpi will actually reduce the grain. BTW, what are you using to scan?



Jan 24, 2013 at 07:40 PM
xopowo
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · B&W toddler in bath


Hi!

Turns out it was a bad scan, I've been having this issue and never realized the cause. The issue is the film curl, not laying flat. I purchased a piece of glass to weigh down the negative (from betterscanning.com but much too expensive) but, alas, it makes a huge difference. Re-scanned below. Still lots of grain, which I like, but a big difference. (Forgive the dust!).

This was Rodinal 1:50 for 20min at 20deg C.

I use an Epson V500 to scan. It's inexpensive (~$175) but I can't really recommend it. You can do two strips of 6 at a time, which is nice, but the plastic holder is very flimsy and cheap. A nice replacement for 120 film is $80+, and the glass for 35mm is expensive also. . It is the least favorite part of my workflow, and one of the most important!

Thanks!




Jan 24, 2013 at 08:11 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · B&W toddler in bath


xopowo wrote:
Hi!

Turns out it was a bad scan, I've been having this issue and never realized the cause. The issue is the film curl, not laying flat. I purchased a piece of glass to weigh down the negative (from betterscanning.com but much too expensive) but, alas, it makes a huge difference. Re-scanned below. Still lots of grain, which I like, but a big difference. (Forgive the dust!).

This was Rodinal 1:50 for 20min at 20deg C.

I use an Epson V500 to scan. It's inexpensive (~$175) but I can't really recommend it. You can do two strips of 6 at a time, which
...Show more
Well, Rodinal has great acutance and was my favorite devleoper. Since it doesn't have sodium sulfite like D-76 and similar developers, grain is not softened.

I recently upgraded from a V500, which is a fine scanner, to a V700. It made a noticeable difference. I had a much older Epson that could scan 4x5 (2475?), but it isn't supported on new operating systems and doesn't have great specs. I moved to the V700 to get back the ability to scan 4x5. It will even scan in some vintage 5x7 glass plates I inherited. I'm really looking forward to scanning them!

I haven't scanned much 35mm, but I did some scanning of 4x5 negatives for a project for my adult son last weekend. The negatives were on Agfapan 400 developed in Rodinal. We did 13x19 prints on a Canon Pixma Pro 9500 using its ability to print true B&W. I post processed using NIK's Silver Efex Pro. The resultant prints are as good as anything I got out of my wet lab using a Beseler 45MCRX with a Nikkor and Schneider 150mm lens. I just love the fact that I can dodge and burn to my satisfaction, then all resultant prints are exactly the same.



Jan 24, 2013 at 09:06 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · B&W toddler in bath


Yes, that's what I'd expect from pushed Tri-X. The first looked more like what I got pushing Kodak P3200 (as I recall) back in the day.


Jan 24, 2013 at 10:10 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · B&W toddler in bath


Speaking of enlargers and scanners, I miss my old Bessler 45MXT. Had a nice old dichro head and some nice lenses. Had to sell my darkroom kit before leaving The States. I bought a v700 some years ago, but I confess I still haven't installed it. Have a Wacom penpad I've had for three years and finally got around to installing it last week. Haven't decided if I like it yet. I *hate* installing/learning new kit. I'm bad that way.


Jan 24, 2013 at 10:12 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · B&W toddler in bath


Beyond how to fix the what was captured and nostalgia about the capture medium (bringing back memories of Tri-X and fixer stained clothing for me too) let me discuss what could have been done better at capture.

You will automatically love any shot of your kid because you know how adorable the little bugger is in person. Me? I see a cute smiling kid with dark "dead" eyes, shaded by the brow and devoid of catchlights and just a hint of mom holding his hand distracting me off his face.

The dark eyes are the result of the high angle the light is hitting his face. You'll see shaded eyes like that when ambient light comes mostly from overhead fixtures and also see it with bounced flash and natural light when sun is high in the sky, both in direct sun were the shading is very obvious and also in skylight where the eyes are still shaded by the brow but there's more side fill. The lack of catchlights is the result of the light source (any source) not being at an angle where it's reflection is seen by the camera.

Is there a rule that there must be light in the eyes? No. But if you compare a shot with a smiling face looking at the camera with and without light in the eyes you'll like the one with bright eyes better because the lighting clues will match the clues in the expression. Shaded eyes in the photo create a viewer reaction similar to meeting a stranger and having them look away. Part of the reason you don't react the same way I or a stranger seeing that photo to the shaded eyes is your familiarity with the subject. You react to stored emotional memories. I just react to the lighting clues you put in the photo.

How to improve it? First understand the cause. His brow is shading the "key" modeling vector of the light that creates the shadows. To the extent there is detail in the orbits it's because the same source is also bouncing "fill" vectors from many different angles off the ceiling and white walls.

More fill will make the shadows in the orbits lighter but they will still be darker than the cheeks below and look dull by comparison. Just adding catchlights will add a sparkle but the surrounding orbit will still be darker than the cheeks. The problem is a shaded KEY vector not the fill. The solution is to get the KEY LIGHT INTO THE EYE SOCKETS. There are two ways to do that: lower the source (relative to the brow) or raise the face more into the light.

Adding direct flash would lower the "KEY" source vector by virtue of overpowering the ambient light. You may be thinking "But I'm adding "Fill" flash aren't I?". Not in terms of actual cause and effect. When the flash is brighter than ambient AND creates directional modeling via highlights and shadow it casts it becomes the "KEY" vector and the ambient light, while still directional, reverts to the role of filling the shadows the flash casts.

But like the ambient source on the ceiling indoors the flash is also going to bounce a lot of "spill fill" vectors around the room. That's the concept behind most speedlight modifiers, seen best with the cap and dome style. A StoFen on a flash aimed at the ceiling creates an up>< down "key" vector off the ceiling but also radiates "fill" vectors in all directions sideways off the walls and ceiling. One of those would be ideal for getting both "key" modeling past the brow and overcast day soft scattered fill vectors off the wall in the small space. But even with the diffuser you need to be mindful of the distance to the subject and / \ downward angle of the bounced light. When the camera and flash move closer the angle gets steeper and the light, while more diffuse with lighter shadows, may still get shaded by the brow, especially when the subject is looking down.

That leads into the second strategy: get the face up into the light. The simple way to do that in candid situations is stand on something and get higher. Stand on a chair in a crowded room at a wedding reception and every head will turn and raise to see what that fool is doing on the chair. Snap, you capture a photo with all the faces looking at the camera with light in the eyes. In a situation like bath time if you are over standing on the toilet your kid is going to find that hilarious and look up and laugh at Daddy being silly. That how without changing the lighting in that situation you'd capture a better photo with light in the eyes. Odds are if he was looking up more you'd see the catchlights from the high (now shaded) source the brow is blocking in your shot.

In terms of overall composition? Mom don't take this badly but you are a distraction from your darling boy. Why? What will everyone gravitate towards and dwell on first? His face. What will they do next? Follow the leading line of the arm off that strong heart rendering focal point to a less interesting partial view of Mom.

What by comparison would be a better way to compose the shot? First ask if Mom wasn't in the shot at all would it change message here, which is simply "Look at the cute baby taking a bath". Not for me. Mom had to be there holding the hand for safety - yes I realize that. So "Plan B" in composing the shot should be trying to find a way to compose the shot so Mom is seen first and the leading line of the arms winds up on the baby's face last and DON'T GO BACK TO THE MOM.

What I'm suggesting is trying to control the eye movement from Mom to baby with the composition. How to do that? Compose the shot looking more over the shoulder of Mom so baby appears more directly behind and closer to her head in the photo. That that eliminates is the two wider spaced focal points in your shot that causes the eye to leave the face and follow the arm to Mom. In technical parlance you will be creating a parallax shift between the two heads and the one showing the face will get the attention but the other will not distract attention off it because it is seen at the same time. In terms of what happens compositionally you be would "unifying" the two centers of interest (the heads) so there's no reason to leave the face of the baby and follow the leading line of arm to check out the back of Mom's head because it's "framing" the face of the baby. The arm probably wouldn't even be seen in that suggested "over Mom's shoulder" POV. It will also read more like the impression of what Mom is seeing rather than the POV of an external third party observer to the right.

Yes it's just a "snap" shot, but when you learn to think out those problems in advance moving to the ideal place in the room to pull those things off will become reflexive and you wind up with "snap" shots with lighting, facial angles and composition which looks like it was carefully planned. It will be but you'll be able to do the planning in about 2 seconds when you look at the face and see the room light is shading the eyes. Getting light in the eyes drives the rest of the composition / lighting actions you'll need to take.



Jan 25, 2013 at 04:51 PM





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