Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/05/13

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Noctlilux and filters
From: Mark Rabiner <>
Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 12:36:13 -0700
References: <>

John Collier wrote:
> The answer is yes and no.
> If you use a filter to alter the tone of a small part of your image,
> then the meter should average the whole scene and the tone will shift as
> desired. If, however, the tone you want to alter occupies a large part
> of your image then the meter will suggest an exposure that will render
> the tone as middle grey regardless of what filter you put on.
> For example if you have the sky as a large portion of your image, your
> meter will suggest a reading that will give you a middle grey sky. If
> you want to darken the sky in relation to other tones, you could put on
> a deep (red, yellow, green or orange) filter which will reduce the
> amount of the sky's blue light that reaches your film. If you then meter
> the sky with the filter in place, then you will still get a middle grey
> sky and the other tones will be overexposed. So if you meter on the sky
> with the filter in place you need to reduce the exposure to make the sky
> darker (maybe two stops? It depends on the B+W film you are using). You
> also can meter without the filter and apply the filter factor manually.
> That way the sky will be darker and the other tones will not be
> overexposed. As always, you have to think about what you want the image
> to look like and meter accordingly. The hard part is not the metering;
> that is easy, the hard part is imagining the image...
> John Collier

John if i may add on to this…
This example you give about the sky…
for me it's not just an example, it's what it's all about.
IN black and white Photography In most cases we are using filters so the
skies don't wash out. That is what its all about. Skies with tonality.
Even detail.
That subtle tonality and detail we'd have to under expose like crazy to
get filterlesss.
...we'd not get otherwise. Our film is UV hypersensitive.
Just about any filter other than a blue filter will improve this.
It's what it does to foliage and peoples faces which makes us pick a
certain filter in most cases.

I have mixed feelings by the way as to what yellow does the peoples skin tones
I think it's often detrimental. So I'll most often have a yellow green
(060) on my lens instead of a yellow if i know there's going to be
people in there.
But other reasons too. Yellow is OK though. Mellow.

I'm a-just mad about Saffron, 
She's just mad about me. 
They call me mellow yellow Quite rightly 

Mark Rabiner
Portland, Oregon USA
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In reply to: Message from John Collier <> (Re: [Leica] Noctlilux and filters)