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Spot Metering and Hard Contrast and Pulling Film

I always find it useful to practice around the home metering scenes and trying new film/dev combos. I don’t have to go far! Everything I need is around me.

So it was a very bright sunny day. I thought I would try and use my Spot Meter and shoot scenes that were very bright and dark at the same time. Because most scenes I would be way off the latitude scale (5 stops) I shot a roll of Ilford Ortho 80 at 20 ISO. 2 Stops over Exposed and to compensate I would Pull the development. Normal development time was 10 minutes in Kodak XTOL. So I pulled the development by 15% per stop. That’s 30%. 7 Minutes. Pulling the film will give me a flatter, low contrast negative with fine grain. Perfect for the scenes I was shooting.

Here are the scenes and how I metered them. They were all scanned using my DSLR. In Photoshop I adjusted the levels slightly to boost the contrast.

  1. Spot meter on the Bright area. Spot on the shadow area. Shoot the average. F11 1/4s EXP

2. Spot meter on the Bright area. Spot on the shadow area. Shoot the average. F11 1/2s EXP

3. Spot Metered on a Grey Card in front of George. f4 1 Second EXP

4. Spot Metered on a Grey Card next to switch. f11 1/15th EXP.

5. Plant. Spot meter on the Bright area. Spot on the shadow area. Shoot the average. F5.6 1/2s EXP

6. SunBrolly. Gary Card placed next to brolly. f11 1/30th

7. Drain Pipe. Gray Card placed next to drain. f11 1/30th

Alley. Another tricky scene. I metered on the bright area and then a shadow area and took the average. F11 1/2s EXP

9. Fence and Sky. In this scene I spot metered on the fence. Meter returned f5.6 1/15th EXP. But of course that is middle grey. I didn’t want the fence to be middle grey so I stopped down 2 stops to f11. Did well.

10. Back Door. Again I spot metered on the back door and stopped down 2 stops to make it darker than middle grey.

11. Window. Spot meter on the Bright area. Spot on the shadow area. Shoot the average. F11 1/4s EXP

12. This time I spot metered on the curtain and stopped down 2 stops from what the meter said. F5.6 1/4s EXP. Didn’t do as well as averaging. The outside was blown out.

13. Bathroom. Spot meter on the Bright area. Spot on the shadow area. Shoot the average. F5.6 1/4s EXP

14. Bedroom. Spot metered on the headboard. Again, middle grey the meter gave me and I stopped down two stops f5.6 1/2s EXP.

15. This time I used a grey card to meter from. This time the meter read f11 1/2s. I found this interesting. Both look very similar despite 2 stops.

So these are the kind of things I play with when I’m bored or wondering about things. Had I shot this film at 80 ISO and developed normally some of these images would have looked for more contrasty losing detail in the shadow areas. By pulling the film I was able to stop the development building up too heavy in the shadow areas making life easier when scanning or in the darkroom making prints.

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