evening & night photography in B&W

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Jan T, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. Jan T

    Jan T Guest


    I want to shoot some evening & night scenes in the center of town and was
    recommended to use the zone system and develop N-2.

    I intend to use Tri-X Pan Prof (320, 6x6) and Delta 400 (35mm).
    Do you have experience with those films in the given circumstances?
    In order to avoid too many experiments (the shooting is planned next
    week...) I would like to have some starting guidelines with regard to film
    speed and dev. times, using D-76 for the Tri-X and Ilford DDX, Kodak HC-110
    or D-76 for the Delta-400.


    Jan T, Aug 25, 2003
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  2. Jan T

    GP Guest

    You came to the right place, we have a guy here who really loves to talk
    about the zone system, I am pretty sure you'll "hear" from him very soon!
    BTW. his specialty is ZS with 35mm format, he just plain loves it!


    GP, Aug 26, 2003
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  3. Then I would follow that advice without question. Wheoever told you
    that surely knows a lot about B&W photography. Do you have your
    official zone system spot meter?
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 26, 2003
  4. Jan T

    dr bob Guest

    There will be some good responses to your questions. There are
    many knowledgeable experts on this news group who will understand your need
    for advice and who will respond graciously. If you have been reading for a
    while you will know who they are. Then there are a very few who take
    sadistic pleasure only in ridicule. Please have the courage to stick with
    us for a while and take the advice for what it is worth - every penny you
    pay. Don't let the turkeys get you down.
    dr bob, Aug 26, 2003
  5. Hi Jan,

    I tend to shoot a lot of night cityscapes and I do it very differently.
    I use Plus-X at an EI of 80 and develop it in Crawley's FX-37 1:3 using
    the times recommended in Anchell and Troop, "Film Developing Cookbook".
    I will look up the time this evening if someone does not report it
    first. I find this combination substantially boosts shadow values so
    that shadow differentiation is excellent.

    I am afraid I cannot help you with the particular combination you are

    Francis A. Miniter
    Francis A. Miniter, Aug 26, 2003
  6. Jan T

    Daniel ROCHA Guest

    I loved to make night shoots with a 3200 ISO b&w film. But I do not use
    the ZS for that :)


    Daniel ROCHA, Aug 26, 2003
  7. Jan T

    Norman Worth Guest

    ZS may be difficult to apply at night. That's because previsualization can
    be difficult. Just what zones do you assign different objects to? It works
    differently than during daytime, unless you want your shots to look like
    daytime shots. Reciprocity may also have to be factored in. It will
    require extended exposure and compressed development (probably the reason
    someone suggested N-2). Consult the film manufacturer's recommendation on
    that. It could be interesting to experiment with ZS at night, but be aware
    that you will have to experiment to get it right. If you just want to get
    some shots, I'd recommend you start out by using the published rules of
    thumb (the Kodak Professional dataguide has a nice calculator, and charts
    for available light are available in a number of places), then bracket like
    Norman Worth, Aug 26, 2003
  8. TrŠs beau. Merci.


    Bogdan Karasek
    Montr‚al, Qu‚bec e-mail:

    "Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darber muss man schweigen"
    "What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence"
    Ludwig Wittgenstein
    Bogdan Karasek, Aug 27, 2003
  9. Jan T

    Jan T Guest


    I have some experience with the zone system: 5 saturday morning courses with
    theory and a lot of home testing, evaluation of the results with
    densitometer, and yes I use a dedicated spot meter.

    Since then I used the zone system on different kinds of photography with
    35mm and recently with 120 format too. But as any zone-system-user knows,
    developing a film of 12 to 36 exp. restricts you to 'N' development (unless
    you have 3 or 5 camera backs per type of film ;-))); hence I only use the
    zone system to evaluate light and contrast condition. And hope that maybe,
    .... one day ... 4x5" ...

    During that course we came to a standardisation of 1 film and 1 developer
    for N, N-1 and N+1, my combo was Agfa's APX-100 in Ilford ID-11.

    So here is my problem: in the meantime I moved up to 120 (FP-4 and TXP) and
    for 35mm I use Delta 400 and APX-100 in Amaloco AM-50. Byebye
    standardisation, 'cause I can't afford a densitometer.

    What I need now is just a guideline for N-2 dev. for the mentioned combo's.

    Thanks for your comments anyway, everybody!

    Jan T, Aug 27, 2003
  10. Jan T

    Jan T Guest

    Dr Bob,

    meanwhile I realise what you mean, I think I found the 'turkeys' in previous
    After some time of absence in this ng I felt like re-visiting a favorite
    café where the interior, the host, the familiar people and even my favorite
    beer had been replaced by something of another planet.

    Jan T, Aug 27, 2003
  11. I know I'm going to catch some flack for this, but whatever -
    I understand the zone system pretty well. I've even shot calibration
    rolls for
    my 35mm films a few times. Honestly, I don't use it.

    My preferred method for shooting evening/night scenes and keeping that
    or "dusk" feeling (as appropriate) is to meter with my built-in meter
    over the
    scene and knock off 1-2 stops of exposure (if it is conveniently in
    the range on
    my lens where I have 1/2 stops, so much the better - otherwise
    sometimes I throw
    in a neutral density filter).

    The goal is to darken things up "just enough" to preserve the mood -
    in many
    of my shots this is a black sky with a thin strip of light at the
    (and extending up a bit into the evening sky) and dark, but still
    visible landscape features and buildings in varying degrees of
    illumination (from a
    smokestack with strobes to a tower with half its offices still
    occupied), all of
    which need to be rendered visible against the sky (and me with my
    visceral dislike for digital (post)processing, it needs to be right on
    the film for me to print it onto the paper).

    As for film, I shoot Tri-X 35mm @ 400 and standard development with
    what I feel
    are excellent results - I usually manage to get what I want without
    having to go
    insane burning and dodging around outlines.
    If you are interested, I could email you an image from quite a while
    ago that I
    am actually revisiting now to try to enhance a bit.

    Good Luck
    Michael Graziano, Sep 7, 2003
  12. Why not try all of you the excellent exposition-developing-printing
    method created and used by the belgian photographer Gilbert
    Fastenaekens? No ZS at all, but excellent results! He is a
    world-renowned nighttime photographer. He explains his method in the
    november 95 Camera & Darkroom magazine. I do have for all of you a
    scan of this article. Regards. Eduardo Benavídez.
    Eduardo Benavidez, Sep 7, 2003
  13. Jan T

    Jan T Guest


    thanks for your to-the-point reply!

    Meanwhile we had a very nice evening shooting in town and I'm happy with the
    I used 35mm Delta 400 @ I.E. 160, developed in DDX 1+4 for 7 minutes (75% of
    the time recomended by Ilford for IE 500 which is 9'30") and on mf I shot
    Tri-X pro (320) at I.E. 120, developed it in D76 1+1 also for 75% of Kodak's
    recomended time.

    Light was measured on mid-gray tones; it was too dark for my spotmeter to
    measure the deep shadows.

    The negatives show just enough shadow detail and the contrast is OK for
    printing on #2 and #1,5.

    Have a look at an example on http://home.tiscali.be/jant/04090301_300dpi.jpg
    (367.111 bytes) smaller version on

    Jan Tieghem
    Jan T, Sep 8, 2003
  14. Good looking trawler...


    Dennis O'Connor, Sep 8, 2003
  15. Jan T

    xardoz Guest

    How can I get a copy of this scan?

    Remove the >><< from my email address if replying by email
    xardoz, Sep 10, 2003
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