Summer Slide Photos - beginner's Exposure tips?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by johncarvill, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. Hello all First post on this forum. I'm going to Dubrovnik in July and hoping to try taking some slides. I'm pretty much a total beginner at photography in general, and completely new to slides. I have a recently-purchased D70 which I'll take with me for general stuff, but I want to try using slide film when taking some landscape shots. I'll be using a Nikon F90X, I have a standard 50mm F1.6, a 70- 210 F4-5.6, a 35-70 F3.3-4.5, and depending on what my budget can stretch to on ebay, either a 20mm or 24mm. I've bought a few rolls of the new Velvia 100 (not the 'F' version), and will of course experiment with a roll before I go. Having said that, since I'm in the UK and having seen the weather in Summer in Dubrovnik before, it's unlikely I'll encounter similar light in which to test. My main concern is the reportedly narrow latitude offered by slide film in terms of correct exposure. As an amateur, I'd welcome any suggestions on how to avoid getting my exposure sufficiently off to ruin the photos. Dubrovnik in July is hot, very sunny, and provides plenty of opportunities. The old town, the landscape, clean blue-green sea etc. are pretty striking. See attached, taken last year with a humble Canon IXUS 430. I'm intending to use a polariser, both on the D70 and the F90X. Any comments on this in general, and on how a polariser might effect Velvia - would it maybe be too much? Thanks John
  2. Wellcome to Croatia. You are probably going to carry film with you from home, but If you plan to buy any pro slide film here, make sure you do it in Zagreb when you land ("Kodak centar" and "Fuji centar" are both good stores, and both are in the center of Zagreb), because I don't know if there is any pro-film in Dubrovnik. I always have to order from Zagreb for any pro film. You'll find every slide film in existance exept Kodachrome, so be warned of that if you plan on using Kodachrome.

    good luck
  3. If it's an important shot for you, I would bracket the shot around what the camera meter is giving you. Polarizers are great for midday/afternoon landscape shots.
  4. John,
    If your Nikon is a modern SLR design with built in light metering (I am a Canon man, not familiar with Nikon model specs), dont worry about it, your slides will come out great. A lot of people will probably post that you should avoid slides - they are only for the experts, narrow exposure latitude, etc.. Nonsense! You will have beutiful results, and then you will realize, as I did, the beauty that only slides can deliver.
  5. John

    That was one GREAT shot (you're just a beginner?)

    One piece of advise. Pack all the film you can fit in your suitcase and fire away like the Terminator.
  6. A small warning with the polarizer. You can easily turn water surfaces totally black under blue sky. You will not always note this in the viewfinder (the eye adapts so well). Black water does not look nice. Also, polarized sky in a wide angle picture has uneven darkness. This is because the amount of polarization is a function of the angle between the sun and the shooting direction. This is practically impossible to detect in the viewfinder if you don't know the phenomenon. The amount of polarization effect is maximized when the (usually white) mark on the edge of the filter is towards the sun.
  7. Thanks to everyone who replied to my original post. Sadly I wasn't able to take my Nikon D70 to Dubrovnik, but that meant I took a lot more slides, getting some great experience withn the new Fuji Velvia 100 film.

    Overall, I was massively encouraged by the results, I would recommend anyone in the same position as myself (ie. a rank amateur who's curious about slide photography) to have a go, whatever their worries about difficulties with getting the exposure right. I definitely had some problems with underexposure, but not too many photos were completely ruined. More importantly, when the results were good they were fantastic! It's immensley satisfying to get your slides back and hold them up to the light, the colours are amazing, and when projected they look terrific. I also used several 36 shot rolls of ordinary print film and these were far less satisfying - they will be the last print films I use.

    For anyone who's interested, either in the new Velvia 100, and/or in what a total beginner can achieve at a first attempt, here's one I uploaded:

    A few more can be viewed on smugmug:

    Just one technical note: if the filename is just a number, eg. 'File0321' that means that photo is shown exactly as it was scanned, for good or ill. However, I found the slides tended to scan a little darkly, certainly they looked a lot darker on screen than they do in slide form, so I've lightened some a touch, any which have 'brighter' or suchlike in the name, or have a letter appended to the filename (eg. 'File0322c.jpg'), have been brightened slightly.

    Hope they're of some interest. All comments welcome.


  8. Hi John-

    My wife and I were in Dubrovnik last July as well. Just coincidentally I shot my first roll of Velvia there as well. I mostly used print film but shot one roll of Velvia and I got hooked. Croatia is so colorful that Velvia is perfect. I'd like for you to check out my portfolio and see my shots from there and get your feedback. Let me know if you post more of your photos as well.

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