More first light 4×5

Our house with carHere’s another 4×5 image made with black and white film. Not as scenic as the shot of Mt. Rainer, but rather a test shot with some specific subject matter to see how well the camera performs technically.

The smooth tones of the car are rendered really well. The tone gradations are completely smooth, and the range of tones pretty much stretches from black to white. This is what I was hoping for with this equipment.

Technical note: the processing of this image is deliberately not high contrast, even though the scene itself is extremely high contrast. I have tweaked the tone curve in Photoshop like this:

  • Lowered contrast by using a ‘reverse’ tone curve–make the highlights dimmer, and make the dark portions lighter. This is done along a curve, so it’s gradual, and emphasizes the smooth and gradual tone changes on the car.
  • Lock down the central (mid) tones in the Curves tool by manually selection appropriate mid-low and mid-high tones.
  • Make the darkest darks a little darker, and the brightest lights a little brighter
  • That left the middle tones a little too muted, so I added control points corresponding the brightness oft he trim and the siding (they look representative of the range I wanted to alter, a judgment call). I then tweaked the middle range a little bit to increase that contrast slightly, which also brought out the detail in the sunlit grass.

Putting it another way, I quickly divided the tone range into chunks with somewhat arbitrary boundaries to lower overall contrast, and then I started to process more precisely for this particular image. I added contrast between specific features, and I tweaked contrast on some adjacent brightness levels.

I probably used the 90mm lens for this, which is a moderate wide-angle lens on a 4×5 camera. I have a 72mm Schnieder lens coming–a lens well know for being even sharper and smoother than this example. Plus, it’s wider, and should be great for landscapes.

Really happy with the way the new hardware is working out. 🙂 And, for what it’s worth, this is the true first light image: the very first negative with the new hardware.

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