Color. This posting is about color.
Back in the day, Kodak used the term ‘Panchromatic’ to distinguish its latest black & white films from the older ‘orthochromatic’ emulsions.
Today, we might take for granted that a photographic medium will reproduce all the colors as we see them, but old black & white emulsions were really pretty limited and some colors were not reproduced accurately (or at all), leading to a variety of unusual imaging effects.
Orthochromatic plates were largely sensitive to blue light. Among other effects of this limited spectral sensitivity was the tendency to overexpose the sky in relation to the rest of the scene. So, instead of the appropriate shades of grey, sky-blue tended to appear white. This is why so many glass plate photos appear to have been made on cloudy days. It is also one reason why sunset ‘glint’ photos were much harder to expose.
FACT: There are very few 1900-era glint photos of 4-4-0s.
‘Panchromatic’ means a film with full-spectrum sensitivity. But, I’m using the term in regards to my Fujifilm X-T1 Digital Camera. This, of course isn’t a film-camera at all, despite being the only camera I’ve ever owned that had the world ‘film’ in printed bold letters on the view-finder.
One of the great things about the X-T1 is its built in color profiles that emulate Fuji’s classic film types: Provia, Velvia, Astia, and some color print films.
It also has several black & white pre-sets, that offer the effects of using green, yellow and red filters and the appropriate spectral response.
On May 24, 2015. I had the good fortune to arrive at the Boston & Maine Railroad bridge over the Connecticut River at East Deerfield shortly after freight POED (Portland to East Deerfield) paused here at a perfectly picturesque position on the span.
I used this opportunity to run through the gamut of color profiles and black & white settings on the X-T1. I also made a few panoramic composites, which could lead to the title for a posting ‘Panchromatic Pan Am Panorama,’ but I read somewhere that gratuitous alliteration is considered poor writing.
I realize that some pundits may argue about my application of ‘panchromatic’ to a digital image. So just for the record, I’d also exposed some Fuji Provia 35mm film at this same scenic setting. Satisfied? Super!
Stay tuned for more, tomorrow . . .
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