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06-27-2018, 10:57 AM - 1 Like   #1
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B&W Film for Fireworks? Pull processing?

4th of July is coming up. I've got a random selection of film at home or should be at home in time for the 4th. Was thinking about shooting B&W this time around for fun. All of the B&W film I've got is rated at ISO 400. Thoughts on shooting a roll of Tri-X 400 or T-Max 400 with a wide-angle lens at f8, 2 second exposures (using bulb mode & a cable release), and having the lab develop at 200? Lens is a 17mm Tamron or a 24mm Tokina, probably the 17. Should I consider having it pulled to 125 or so instead of 200?

There's also some Foma 400 and Kentmere 400 that should be here in a couple days. I'm leaning towards the Tri-X as I don't think this is a time for high contrast. I'm not able to develop the film myself although I believe the lab I use is pretty good at what they do.

06-27-2018, 02:34 PM - 1 Like   #2
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You can push the Kodak Tri-X quite a bit; back in 2000 I was hiking around France and used a few rolls under the summer sun at ISO-100 with a Red-90 filter in place.
You'll be shooting with an F5.6 to F8 (or better), the film certainly can take that.
Also, just for giggles, here's two photos I took in Boston from 1999 / 2000 using Kodak's Color IR film.
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06-27-2018, 02:51 PM   #3
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So Tri-X 400 and just have the lab develop it at box speed? I think that's really my question. It seems like everything I've read recommends 100 ISO or very close for fireworks and I'm outside that a bit with everything I have on hand.

There's a single roll of Porta 160 hanging around my box of films but I was leaning hard on doing this with B&W.
06-27-2018, 03:30 PM   #4
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Absolutely

06-27-2018, 06:03 PM   #5
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That's a good idea, to shoot fireworks on film for a change, I might try some mildly expired velvia 50 this year.

---------- Post added 06-27-18 at 09:07 PM ----------

Last year on digital I used f8, 1s, and iso 100. I think getting the shutter around 1s or so is more important than other settings to get the trails right.

At iso 400 and shutter around 1.5s, I would stop to f11-16, or even over exposing a bit is fine, I remember having to compensate exposure up a bit for my series last year.

These were pretty close, across Charles River in Boston, so I had to frame vertically with the da 15.


Last edited by aaacb; 06-27-2018 at 06:13 PM.
06-27-2018, 06:24 PM   #6
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Okay, cool, thanks for the feedback.
06-27-2018, 10:27 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Highlight compression is over exposing and under developing the film. It's know in the zone system as N-1, N-2, etc. You can get much more dynamic range out of your BW film employing that technique. But it is film and developer dependent how much you under develop the film. You need to work on it to get it right. The tabular grain film of 400TMY is very receptive to different exposure indexes.

I haven't done any work with the cubic grain of 400TX in that regard to say if it works better. But of the highlight compression trials I've done, I've had better success with the modern tabular grain films than the older cubic grain in general when you start going beyond a stop for an EI.

Here I exposed at f8 for ~30 seconds with 400TMY @ EI 100 using PMK Pyro developer. No out of gamut low or high values.
Pentax 67, 67 55/4





EDIT: A couple of other examples of testing the high value results using 400TMY metered as if it were ISO 100 film.

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Last edited by tuco; 06-27-2018 at 11:40 PM.
06-28-2018, 07:34 AM   #8
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tuco, thanks, this was very informative. Your first shot is very much inline with what I am hoping to accomplish. Will give the T-Max 400 pulled to 100 a shot. 30 seconds seems a little long only due to the falling/moving nature of fireworks; if I opened the aperture from f8 to f5.6, what exposure time would you recommend? 15ish seconds?

06-28-2018, 08:15 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
tuco, thanks, this was very informative. Your first shot is very much inline with what I am hoping to accomplish. Will give the T-Max 400 pulled to 100 a shot. 30 seconds seems a little long only due to the falling/moving nature of fireworks; if I opened the aperture from f8 to f5.6, what exposure time would you recommend? 15ish seconds?
Thanks. Give f5.6 and 15 seconds a try as well as some other exposure times. At about 10 seconds, reciprocity failure starts to kick in for 400TMY. And if you ask a lab to under develop your film, will they have done tests to know how much to under develop it for your exposure index and film? I'd quickly go take some night shots of some bright lights with your indented exposure index and get the film developed to find out before the fireworks if you can. Good luck and have fun.

Last edited by tuco; 06-28-2018 at 08:20 AM.
06-28-2018, 08:21 AM   #10
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That would be great, but, not really. Can't buy much film at all in the town I live in and I've just got the one roll of T-Max 400 on-hand now. I dropped off some film to be developed yesterday (in a different city) and "the black and white guy" is out until Monday on vacation.

I'll shoot it and see what happens.
06-28-2018, 08:58 AM   #11
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I was exposing based on how many fireworks went up. I didn't want too many in the frame and the times ranged from about 15 - 30 seconds depending on how long the gap was between them. And there wasn't much difference in the exposures at 15 vs 30 seconds. So bracket your shots.
06-28-2018, 09:26 AM   #12
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I will.

This is another one of those times where digital makes it so much easier just due to instant feedback via chimping. Which I guess is another reason why this is a good thing to try and do.
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