I’ve mentioned on this blog before how many people don’t realize just how dark it can get when photographing in the deep forest. Even on a bright and sunny day, the tree cover can get so incredibly thick that it feels like one is trying to make photographs at night. Or at the very least in the late evening.
I was experiencing that challenge when photographing this scene with my Hasselblad 500 C/M and a roll of Fomapan 400 speed film. Exposing the scene at f/2.8 and 1/15th of a second still left me a little underexposed forcing me to compensate a bit in the development process. I think I managed to pull it off, and thank goodness I have a fairly steady hand as I didn’t bring a tripod with me on this particular photoshoot.
I don’t work with Fomapan 400 speed film all that often because I do find it a bit too grainy for my taste. Plus, I don’t really think it is a true 400 speed film. When I work with it at box speed (or when I push it a little bit as was the case here) I feel like I get images that are a bit underexposed the vast majority of the time. Metering at ISO 320 would probably be more accurate but I don’t work with this stock enough to really do much experimenting. I’d rather stick with my tried and true Ilford HP5 or Kodak Tri-X.
Still, I consider both of these images a success. There is a nice amount of detail in the skin tones and though the background is incredibly dark, I think the effect works well here. The model was really the subject here, not so much the environment.