Filters for Snow in B+W?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Dave, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Hello all,

    It would like to shoot snow covered mountains in B&W film. From what I
    understand, I can use yellow, orange and red filters to bring out the
    contrast in the cloudy sky. Will this same technique work for snow? If
    so, what colours would you recommend?

    Dave, Mar 5, 2004
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  2. Dave

    Nick Zentena Guest

    I'd suggest getting a colour wheel or whatever they are called. It shows
    the colours and the opposite colour.

    A yellow filter filters out blue. So if you have a sky with blue in it then
    the blue will darken. So will anything lit by blue light. Red will filter
    out blue and green. So all the blues and greens will darken. Orange is in
    between. Basically a filter reduces or even totally elimantes it's opposite

    I have no idea what effect you're trying for. Also all those filters
    [yellow,orange or red] come in various grades. Each is slightly different.
    Filtering different amounts of light. Some like the very light yellows [#3?]
    do very little. Some like the very dark reds may do too much.

    Personally I'd suggest avoiding the #25 red unless you really feel the
    need. Maybe consider a combination of a #21 orange and either a #12 or even
    a #15 yellow. But that's me. You need to figure out what you like and what
    fits your needs.

    BTW I don't mean use the filters together.

    Nick Zentena, Mar 5, 2004
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  3. Dave

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Snow is white so most of the time no filter will affect it. IN shadow areas
    it will be blue however and using a red filter there will increase contrast
    between the sunlit snow and the shadows - prehaps too much though, be sure
    to cover your shots.
    If the sky is cloudy the filters will have no affect on it either but a
    blue sky will be darkened by a red (or yellow) filter, which will give a lot
    of contrast with the mountain top. A polarizor combined with a red 29 can
    give you nearly black skies.
    Tony Spadaro, Mar 5, 2004
  4. Said Gollum.
    It sounds like you're trying to bring out the contrast is snow? If you
    think of yellow, orange, and red filters as negative blue, you'll get an
    idea of why they darken a blue sky. Now think of negative white. :->

    I really don't quite follow what you're trying to do with the snow,
    though. You're not trying to make it darker, right? If you want to increase
    the contrast between the snow and sky, the usual filters will work. If you
    want to increase the contrast between the snow and whatever is behind it
    (evergreens, granite?), use the negative of that color.
    Phil Stripling, Mar 5, 2004
  5. Dave

    Bob Hickey Guest

    If the sky is grey, and the snow is white, filters won't do much of anything
    but incerase the exposure necessary. To filter color, you need some color to
    start with. W/ a blue sky, stand with the sun to one side and use a
    polarizer. For a darker sky, use a red. For a black sky, put a rd on a
    polarizer. But for each step up, you get more contrast and lose more middle
    tones. Bear in mind that with a pol plus red, you working exposure index
    with 400 film is about 6. Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Mar 5, 2004
  6. I don't know what you are trying to achieve, but I agree that perfectly
    uniformly white show won't respond to filters. Most people, however, make
    the mistake of metering ON the snow, so your camera, in striving to make the
    snow come out 18 % gary (the standard value that all meters think you want
    to "see") will grossly underexpose other more important values. For
    example, in your instance, if you meter on the snow and not the gray rock
    side of the mountain, the meter will try to expose to produce medium gray
    snow, and the rock will be deep black. A few of suggestions:
    (1) spot meter on a medium tone in the picture, or on an 18% gray card.
    (2) meter on your caucasian hand and close down 1 stop
    (3) meter on sunny snow and OPEN 2 stops. This is confusing - most people
    think "close down so the snow wont be so bright", but remember that the
    camera is suggesting too little light for the rest of the scene based on the
    snow. The result will be a complete lack of detail in the snow, but the
    preservation of detail in darker ares. The exact amount of closure used may
    require some experimentation on your part.

    The same guidelines apply even if you are using a filter to darken the sky,
    for example so long as you are using TTL metering.
    Pieter Litchfield, Mar 5, 2004
  7. Dave

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Actually, metering a non-caucasian palm, or a caucasian palm, works just like
    metering 18% grey card. The back of the hand can vary quite a bit more, even on
    caucasian people. Almost all people have similar palm value based on a common
    grey scale, unless you forgot to wash up.
    Nice suggestions.


    Gordon Moat
    Alliance Graphique Studio
    Gordon Moat, Mar 5, 2004
  8. Dave

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    More like 25 to 50.
    Tony Spadaro, Mar 5, 2004
  9. Dave

    Alan Browne Guest, that's "open" a stop after metering your hand. It is lighter
    than 18% grey, so your meter tends to want to underexpose it. (Like
    your snow below, just one stop darker than snow).
    Alan Browne, Mar 5, 2004
  10. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. :)

    Dave, Mar 5, 2004
  11. Dave

    Bob Hickey Guest

    Tri-X or HP-5 @ 200 with a 25 Red makes it 50. Add a pol, and it becomes 6.
    Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Mar 5, 2004
  12. A white filter. The white filter will lighten the snow and darken everything else.
    Michael Scarpitti, Mar 5, 2004
  13. Dave

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    But since most of us dont shoot Tri-X at 200 it is more like 100 - and I've
    never had a pol use more than 2 stops.
    Tony Spadaro, Mar 5, 2004
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