Advice On Photographing Woodland

Ian-Barber

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Do you have any advise of photographing with black and white film in the woodland which can be surrounded by a lot of greens, ferns and moss which most likely have very little separation in tonal values
 

Alan9940

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IMO, I wouldn't photograph in the woods on bright, sunny days because of extreme contrast; overcast or "cloudy bright" where the sky is acting like a large softbox is best. Of course, this depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you want, for example, a sun star as the light enters the forest behind trees, then, obviously, you'll need the sun.

Tonal separation might be handled in a couple of ways: 1) use filters to lighten/darken the foliage, and/or 2) depending on the tonal relationships between darker and lighter foliage, use plus development to expand contrast.
 

Ian-Barber

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IMO, I wouldn't photograph in the woods on bright, sunny days because of extreme contrast; overcast or "cloudy bright" where the sky is acting like a large softbox is best. Of course, this depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you want, for example, a sun star as the light enters the forest behind trees, then, obviously, you'll need the sun.

Tonal separation might be handled in a couple of ways: 1) use filters to lighten/darken the foliage, and/or 2) depending on the tonal relationships between darker and lighter foliage, use plus development to expand contrast.
Thanks Alan, I was thinking of using the green filter but never gave the extended development a thought
 

martin-f5

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I asked John if he uses filters and he said no. He bought one and lost it on the same day.

I think b&w films with 100 ASA have a high dynamic range so you could use again metering for shadows and develope for highlights. And yes advanced skills in the darkroom will be necessary for printing them.
Like splitgrade printing or very good paper like ILFORD FB classic or warmtone.
 

David M

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As you say, what looks to the eye like a very varied scene in a wood can emerge as a flat and disappointing grey print, particularly now, when the trees are in full leaf. I've found that bright points of light between the leaves can be even more trouble to print.
You could try bracketing with different filters but a better answer might be to look for directional light and a strong structure in the image. Something like one tree in shade and another in light, or patchy light where there's a hole in the canopy, for instance. Shooting earlier or later in the year gives better separation of leaf colour, but that's not really an answer to this question.
In Photoshop, Shadow/Highlight might help if applied over a narrow tonal range. It would need experiment... Advice on split-grade printing is outside my job description.
 

Ian Grant

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IMO, I wouldn't photograph in the woods on bright, sunny days because of extreme contrast; overcast or "cloudy bright" where the sky is acting like a large softbox is best. Of course, this depends on what you're trying to accomplish. If you want, for example, a sun star as the light enters the forest behind trees, then, obviously, you'll need the sun.

Tonal separation might be handled in a couple of ways: 1) use filters to lighten/darken the foliage, and/or 2) depending on the tonal relationships between darker and lighter foliage, use plus development to expand contrast.
The best time to shoot in woodland on a bright sunny day is often early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is lower and less intense.

I use a Green filter but not very often, only when it'll have the effects I want, At this time of year it will help separate the new light green foliage from the older darker green foliage, or help differentiate between brick, some stone etc and foliage. I've never needed to increase development I find the filter itself helps increase the contrast.

Ian
 

martin-f5

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when we have been to Whitby I made some 5x4 negs in woodlands and got really contrasty ones.
Printing them on paper need less contrast and dodging an burning, which I love to do in my darkroom.
For such special ones I do splitgrading, e. q. 7 sec. filter 00 and 4 sec. filter 4.

In summer it's always very interesting to catch shadows and hightlights:

 

Alan9940

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I think b&w films with 100 ASA have a high dynamic range so you could use again metering for shadows and develope for highlights. And yes advanced skills in the darkroom will be necessary for printing them.
Like splitgrade printing or very good paper like ILFORD FB classic or warmtone.
I agree. I never said it couldn't or shouldn't be done, but will you like the look of the results? Personally, I don't. No offense, Martin, the example you posted is lovely and very inviting. And, I agree with Ian G that early morning / late evening is probably the time to target when the sun is shining.

Take a look at John Sexton's Quiet Light work...that's what I'm talking about!
 
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