Contact Sheet, Kodak VS ILFORD and Metering issues – Film never dies.

Recently, Late 2011, before the holidays,  iv’e been photographed Chris Orwig again.     He asked me to take his new headshoots and it was my pleasure and even flattering to me. really appreciated that.

Chris is a busy busy tutor, artist and most of it a family person (beyond all), we tried to make an actual setup date for the shoot but he never had time to being photographed (!) So i had a solution…as a saying from the bible: “If moses wil not go up to bring the writing scripts from Sinay mountain, we will bring the the mountain to him” – it meant to be anyway.

I talked to my buddy, Michael Shainblum, and decided to go and surprise Chris in his office just 7 minutes before his last class of the semester. Michael helped me a lot on this shoot. Thank you.

The contact sheet

The contact sheet allows you, your client, and other people to see the exposures of the negatives in a better way than the negatives by themselves. Than will guide and help to select the best images, expressions, exposures, and to mark off the blurred, over/under exposed  and non-usable images. the others will be scanned and printed at the proper size that you need.

Not always we have money to pay for a contact sheet, so what can i do instead? the best way is to build your own light table with tungsten or daylight bulbs and photograph the negatives, than to invert at photoshop and place them whenever you want, in your design. As well, to do brush strokes in the computer.

Thats only for digital use of course. if its for a client is more than recommend to pay the $6-8 and to have a contact sheet printed at the labs. Organized by the numbers etc.

Chris Orwig's Contact sheet © Benjo Arwas

Struggling without a light-meter, it’s not obvious at all.

I had no lightmeter so i just made a BDE 16 calculation from the brightest sun beam outside, through the open shade (-/+ F5.6), through the window and indoors (-/+ F2.8), and finally set it up +2 stops because i was shooting ISO 400. Ending up shooting all the time F5.6-F4 @ 125th-45th. I photographed him in the hallways of Brooks Institute at Santa Barbara, using only window lights, and had Michael pushing sometimes a reflector to open up a bit  the shadows.

Kodak TRIX 400 Vs ILFORD HP5 400 (Black and white film)

I was trying to do a comparison like that long time ago, but now had the opportunity to use it in a nice and proper way to actually show the examples. it will be short and direct so pay attention.

ILFORD HP5 is not in the same scale of the Kodak TriX. The Kodak is SHARP, the CONTRAST in the exposure is amazing, the TRANSITIONS between the highlights and shadows are great. Definitely my favorite Black and White film. i love the contrast, the sharpness and a lot of other stuff that i can already predict while im shooting, and know how to solve problem if i find any during the shoot. The kodak shoots with chris you can recognize by the black film boders on the contact sheet.

On the other side, The ILFORD HP5 is a low contrast film. i find a lot of issues with ILFORD. first of all, after developing, always noticing a licks around the boarder and smudge on the negatives… weird. as well, its obvious and the ILFORD images on the contact sheet you can notice by the gray-white-black film borders..which showing the low contrast and the lack of sharpness in the frame.

I will suggest ilford HP5 for more fine-art work, low contrast, “gray and white” work and what ever the blacks are not a bit issue. The kodak will be great for portraiture, contrast images and where the dynamic range, details and transitions are more important.

Chris recently came out with a new book – “People”, and he’s working on couple of projects. Click here for more details.

his new book “People”is only $9.99 on ebay(!) must check it out – Click here!

if you have anything to add or to suggest, please don’t hesitate to comment or contact me!

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