Tag Archives: 1250 ISO
When Kate and I got in line at the Guggenheim Monday morning at 10am I had my Nikon FM2n and 6 shots left on a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400. Luckily I had rated that roll at 1250 ISO for overcast winter days and early nightfalls. I find you can push Tri-X to 1600 or even 3200 and get usable images, but for 35mm I try to keep at 1250 or under. The grain is pronounced at 1250, but not quite overwhelming in a Xtol developer. Of course, if you used something like Rodinal, it would be grain city even at 800.
I hadn’t planned on taking any shots inside of the Maurizio Cattelan exhibit, just a shot of the Guggenheim facade.
That plan changed when I got inside. The exhibit is whimsical, and thanks to the unique design of the Guggenheim, totally engaging. As you climb or descend (we took the stairs to the top and went down) the view of the exhibit, which hangs from the ceiling into the atrium, is constantly changing. You see pieces from above, then at eye level, then from below. It wasn’t long before I joined the camera snapping hordes. The Guggenheim has a no photography policy, but guards and staff did not prevent people from taking pictures. Camera flashes, despite the total inability to light up something that far away, fired almost constantly. I was able to take these shots, sans flash of course, at f4 and 1/60th of a second. I think I was able to use 1/125th of a second on one of them and had to use f2.8 on another. Still I’m happy with how they turned out. I could have easily shot a roll or two of film to capture this exhibit, but I liked knowing that I had to be selective.
This was my favorite piece of the exhibit, but also the hardest to photograph. I knew I only had two exposures left and I wanted to save one for the facade on the way out. How do you expose for a huge, dark mass of soil against a white background? Very carefully… I love the bunnies on the grass.
All images developed in Xtol 1+1 solution at 68F for 11.5 minutes.
Growing up and shooting film, I was always frustrated by taking pictures at night. At the time I was stuck with consumer level point and shoot film cameras with maybe an 800 ISO color film. I didn’t know about pushing film or developing. Now as an adult with real equipment and pushable B&W film that I develop myself, shooting at night is a breeze.
To begin with, I rarely worry about my light meter readings at night, since the meter will usually try to compensate for the low light, always aiming (as it should) for a well exposed scene. There is one exception: if you are using a tripod, then the light meter will be your friend. You can trust that it will give you a nicely exposed scene and you won’t have to worry about a shutter speed that’s too low for a handheld shot.
If you are shooting handheld then the meter at night will usually suggest a shutter speed that you can’t physically hold still enough to avoid blur or shake. I do try to stick with the rule of keep your shutter speed equal to or greater than the focal length of the lens you are using. For example, don’t try to use a shutter speed of 1/30 for a 50mm lens. If you are using a 28mm lens though, you can get away with a 1/30 of a second exposure.
Couple at Night Walking Down Freeman’s Alley, Lower East Side
This was one of those instances where a light meter would be pretty useless. It would try to give you a fairly well lit scene and ask you to use a ridiculously low (for handheld anyway) shutter speed of like 1/8 of a second. I set the FM2n at 1/125 to account for the movement of the couple (1/60 would have been better, but they were walking) and used the fastest lens aperture of f1.4. I also wanted an inky black mass on the right hand side, rather than a weakly lit wall. If I would have used 1/60 or pushed it and tried to use 1/30 then that inky black would have been lighter and wouldn’t provide such a contrast to the couple walking towards the light.
Schillers Bar Sign, Lower East Side
There were people milling about in front of Schillers and I didn’t want to highlight them. I deliberately underexposed this shot, knowing it would cast the people in dark shadow while giving the neon sign more contrast and definition.
Kate Waiting to Cross Second Avenue, East Village
I used the widest aperture of the 50mm f1.4 Ai lens here to get nice bokeh from the traffic lights in the background. The shutter speed was 1/60 since Kate was standing still.
Kate Easting Chikalicious, East Village
Same settings here as the previous picture.
Alias Restaurant Facade, Lower East Side
In this one, I had to use a slower aperture of f2.8 to retain some detail at a distance. In order to compensate for the low light, I used a (probably too slow) slow shutter speed of 1/30, which breaks the shutter speed/focal length rule. It’s not tack sharp, but then again tack sharp is sometimes boring.
Man Reading Newspaper, Chinatown
The light here was very gentle and I intentionally underexposed the negative to give it a soft, diffused quality.
Kate in the Glow of Coke Machine, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Didn’t even pay attention to my light meter here. It would have given me a negative with a much too bright light from the coke machine. I just set the aperture to f1.8 and the shutter speed to 1/60 of a second, which is perfect for a 50mm lens.
All images were taken with a Nikon FM2n and a Nikkor 50mm f1.4 Ai lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 film exposed and developed at 1250 ISO in Xtol Developer for 8.5 minutes.
Today at lunch I meandered the few blocks to the Ground Zero/WTC site to see what the mood was like. I didn’t really plan on taking a lot of pictures, but grabbed my camera bag anyway. I had nine exposures left on a color roll in my Nikon F3 and four left on a black and white roll in my Nikon FM2n.
As a contrast to the party atmosphere last night, the mood was subdued. WTC workers still competed with tourists for lunchtime real estate. Sellers were hawking WTC wares. There were a lot of photographers and news crews. I took out my camera and shot the rest of my color roll first, then my black and white roll. This was what I ended up with. I offer these pictures without excess comment or judgement. It was a weird day.
Color film is the new Kodak Portra 400 in Nikon F3 with a 50mm f1.4 Ai lens
Family Holding Newspaper with Bin Laden Death Headline Across from WTC Site
WTC Construction Worker Resting by Statue
Man Selling WTC Programs
NYFD Leather Vest
Men holding up Papers with Bin Laden Headlines
Photographer Chimping Instead of Paying Attention
Business as Usual for these WTC Workers
Freedom Tower Rising
NYPD Hat and Flag
Black and white pictures are Nikon Fm2n and Nikkor 28mm f2.8 Ai-S lens on Kodak Tri-X 400 pushed to 1250 and developed in Xtol developer for 8.5 minutes
Young Guys Celebrating Across from WTC Site
Man with Bible and a Warning Across from WTC Site
Man Waving Flag from Mercedes Moon Roof
Men Exchanging Information Across from WTC Site