Originally Posted by retinax
Wow these are excellent. How did you meter? Average reading or spot for the highlights? I always wonder with subjects like this and people say "at ISO 4762", that could mean a lot of different things depending on how it was metered.
Thanks so much, really appreciated. And I agree with you that without some sort of context of how an exposure index was determined, a bare number is not very instructive.
In the case of the top image (Dave Faulkner, lead singer/guitarist of one of my favourite Australian bands, the Hoodoo Gurus) I had a spot meter with me and would have taken a shadow reading.
With the other image (Grammy-nominated New York singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega) I was travelling light and did not have a spot meter. I would have used the SRTs built in meter to take a light reading as best I could. I was using a 58mm Rokkor for that event, but fitting the 135mm MC Rokkor to the 101 narrows angle of view enabling me to be more selective about where I took a reading from, than with the faster, but wider, 58mm. Alternatively I have metered using 35mm Canon EOS with the "partial" metering option and a short tele zoom. I'll elaborate a little more later in my morning, but, thanks again.
Some more detail:
I normally meter with a Minolta incident light meter for general photography, but since it is not usually possible to get onto a stage and take a reading near the subject, incident readings won't usually be an option! Hence some sort of reflective metering method is needed. A spot meter can make life a bit easier, but as mentioned above a TTL camera fitted with a longer focal length will also help you to be more specific than with a normal lens.
I tend to not worry too much about highlights for this sort of imaging, because achieving a little detail in the shadows is always the bigger challenge. Not that I have unrealistic expectations about those, shooting film. If you happen to be using relatively modern equipment (even my mid-80s Canon I mentioned has a meter reasonably sensitive to low light) you could take a reading from the shadows, and key exposure to that as usual.
The SRTs are brilliant cameras today, I think, let alone when released in circa 1966, and their metering system was quite sophisticated for its day. But using CdS cells they read nowhere near the very low light values newer silicon cell types can. From experience it's all very well pointing one at your shadows, but if the stage is not brightly lit (as was the case on Suzanne's stage), the needle is likely to be on or near the stop—just not enough light, to wake it up! What to do?
From previous experience I've learned you first need to get a reliable reading from something, preferably a mid-tone (or something close to it). If you can get a reading that is accurate with your camera, at least you can then interpret it. From memory I used the 135mm lens to get a reading off the body of Suzanne's guitar, being light toned and shiny enough to actually bounce enough light for the 101 to pick it up. I then would have opened up at least two stops from that (three, if possible, it is a gloss surface, after all, and unusually reflective).
Having established how much (or how little) light I have to work with, obviously, Tri-X being used for the latter photo, its box speed of ISO 400 isn't going to cut it in such low light. Wanting to be able to maintain a shutter speed of 1/125 if possible, or 1/60 at worst, I set an Exposure Index for the film which enables me to run those shutter speeds, ideally with a one stop buffer if possible (which often won't be). In that case EI 3200 was the number which made 1/125 feasible. Obviously a 50mm or 58mm f/1.4 makes this easier to manage, than with the f/2.8 135mm I actually used for that shot, and the image was probably taken at 1/60 for that reason, carefully timed to when Suz was reasonably motionless for a second.
Getting the top image of Dave Faulkner was overall much easier, simply because the stage was lit more brightly and the lighting was dynamic. I took advantage of this by waiting for the moment when the lights were at their brightest and Dave wasn't moving too quickly and had an interesting pose.
The HP5 Plus used for the top image was also rated at EI 3200 and I processed it in HC-110 Dilution B for 22 minutes at 20C/68F. The Tri-X I developed in Ilford ID-11 diluted 1 + 1 for 16 minutes at 20C/68F.