Pre Visualisation

Discussion in 'Talk About Anything Photography Related' started by Ian-Barber, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Administrator Staff Member

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    Pre Visualisation is certainly one of those buzz words we see appearing in lot's of books related to fine art photography.

    I am steadily wading through The Negative book for the fourth time and starting to pay more attention to what Ansel is talking about.

    There are many areas in the book where he talks about visualisation especially at the point of capture where he places important low values on a particular zone be it 3, 4 or in some cases 5. From this initial placement, he can quickly determine where the remaining zones fall.

    For your own work, how often do you practice the pre visualisation method and pay close attention to where all the zones in the image will fall after determining your base shadow zone.
     
  2. Stephen Batey

    Stephen Batey Well-Known Member

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    I just content myself with having decided how the print should look, and make sure I have sufficient shadow detail to achieve it. I've either been extremely lucky so far in my subjects or I severely underdevelop my negatives, because I've never yet had a failure that I could pin down to failing to adjust exposure and development to place the higher zones. Or I've never made a decent print. One of the three.
     
  3. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    I pretty much follow what Stephen does. I suppose that after 40 years of B&W photography that "pre-visualization" is kind of like breathing for me now. My primary goal when in the field is to consider how I might want a print of this scene to look, and then to ensure that technically I'm producing a negative that matches that vision. Is that pre-visualization? Honestly, I don't know.
     
  4. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Administrator Staff Member

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    So basically, you are just concentrating on shadow detail and not making notes as to where the rest of the tones fall on the zone scale ?
     
  5. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    I always make notes as to where various subject elements fall on the scale. But, where the "it depends" part comes in depends...well, on the SBR of the overall scene and how I wish to interpret it. For example, if the overall brightness range is SBR 5 I'm free to do as I wish with exposure. If, say, SBR 7 then I make a decision. Do I favor the shadow areas, the high value areas, or will I compensate during development. Also, what film and developer I'm using plays into these decisions.
     
  6. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Administrator Staff Member

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    With an SBR of say 7, would you ever use an ND filter or would you rather control that in development
     
  7. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    I rarely use filters so I'd control an SBR 7 during development, if needed. I'm qualifying there because if using a pyro developer, I wouldn't worry about it because I know that kind of negative can easily handle the upper end of the scale; which leads us back to making the exposure in the field. If my plan was to use a pyro developer, I'd consider the important shadow areas and expose accordingly not worrying about the upper end. Unless the "upper end" was something ridiculous, of course.
     
  8. Graham Patterson

    Graham Patterson Member

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    An ND filter won't bring an SBR down to 5 or 6 - it will just increase the exposure. The brightness range remains the same, just the levels are dropped.

    After a while experience is going to tell you if you have hit an exception to your normal process. Then you have to decide if you are prepared to sacrifice anything; then you consider what your options are in your technical arsenal.

    How far I am prepared to go in making a final decision about a print at the negative exposure stage, I am not sure. For me, the camera is mostly about the subject and the message. The print is more about the tone (forgive the inadvertent pun) of the message, and that may change. Let's say that pre-visualisation for me is more about being aware of the possibilities at the camera stage, and not so much the final result. But then I'm not Adams, or Minor White for that matter!
     
  9. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member

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    But, I'm willing to bet that even sub-consciously the end result plays into those decisions you make in the field.

    Lol...none of us are! :) :)
     
  10. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Administrator Staff Member

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    Sometimes I find this hard. The subject I find easy but when it comes to conveying a message, thats where I can struggle.
     
  11. alexmuir

    alexmuir Member

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    I have the same problem. I tend to pick subjects that I think (hope!) will make pleasing photographs. I'm not sure about the 'message', but perhaps it's as simple as trying to convey the feeling you had about the subject which lead you to make the photograph. Tonight I have been printing some of the large number of pictures I made on holiday. They are 35mm B&W negatives. I've been trying to edit them to produce prints that reflect the historic nature and architectural beauty of the towns and cities I visited. Some subjects are buildings, some small details, but all things I enjoyed seeing. In a way, I'm trying to recreate for myself, and others, the feelings I had at the time. It's probably best to enjoy making your photographs, and don't worry too much about the message. For me, I enjoy the whole process of making the image, whether it's a success or not. I could spend all day setting up and using my 4x5 camera. Apologies if I've drifted off the original topic!
    Alex.
     
  12. Ian-Barber

    Ian-Barber Administrator Staff Member

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    I could not have said this better myself. Not sure if it's simply because its a new medium to me but I find that having to engage the brain into making certain decisions before reaching for the cable release is a different way to making photographs to me but I thoroughly enjoy it.
     
  13. Graham Patterson

    Graham Patterson Member

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    If the message behind an image is 'I was having fun!', I'd say that is just as valid as some deep social comment. If, indeed, it is not itself a deep social comment!

    Ultimately the message has to come from what you feel about the subject, or the day. My wife is an artist, and for her certain colour combinations are actually pleasurable to look at - while I can analyse colour combinations, but rarely feel good or bad about them.

    Sometimes my motivations for making the exposure seem to reach the viewer of the final print. Not as often as I'd like, but sometimes. I ought to keep a record that tells me what i felt at the time of exposure - intrigued, amused, scared, angry, excited, ... Maybe then I could work it all out!
     
  14. KenS

    KenS Active Member

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    In my 'mind', pre-visualisation is not only about 'tone' but.... just as important.. one has to consider what is best 'left out' of the image frame. I.O.W... would a 'longer' lens give me the 'crop' I prefer... or should I look to moving closer.. should I apply some shift to eliminate or include 'something'. Should I apply some 'swing' or 'tilt' in order to achieve a better plane of focus? The advantages of the choice that 'most' of us large format camera users made when choosing the large format... other than 'just' the ability to expose the one (or two... just in case) larger negative that allows us the advantage of not having to wait to use up the remaining unexposed film before we are able to process our the few exposures we made 'to-day'.

    Ken
     

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