Black card technique???


fastfrag

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Oct 1, 2007
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#1
I was shooting at changi boardwalk when i saw this group of guys shooting sunset using GND filter and a black piece of plastic card

I think the Camera was set on long exposure, and when the shutter was open, they kept flicking the card on and off the lens...

Did a bit of research and found this Hanjié's Blog: Black card photography Part I

althought it uses the black card as well but not what i saw today ...

The guys were flicking the card in both fore ground and background... results came out quite good though

anyone seen it before?
 

devilry

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Feb 16, 2006
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#2
black cards are most often used by people to shoot fireworks though..
 

fastfrag

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#3
black cards are most often used by people to shoot fireworks though..
yeah i knew about the fireworks though... what i saw today was something new... at least for me lah
 

nitewalk

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May 31, 2010
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#6
devilry said:
black cards are most often used by people to shoot fireworks though..
Not really, there are many scenes which u could do black card. For me, i just find it is too tiring to use this. :bsmilie:

From what i understand, it has the similar effect as gnd filters. If you don't really wave it, it is somewhat like hard grad gnd.
 

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sunnycamera

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Dec 8, 2010
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#8
interesting, but I think it is easy just to take 2 shot at different exposure,

and then blend 2 shots in 2 layers with gradient masking in Photoshop or GIMP, or just masking to blend them together, easy to control in post in this digital days,
 

pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#9
I've read it was more common in Taiwan.
Not sure how accurate it is. (maybe no $$ to buy fancy GND in the past?)
But the results are impressive.

It works by prolonging exposure and then dangling a black card in front.
The card is moved constantly so its exposure time is controlled in this manner, resulting in a graduated effect.
Each portion of the brighter scene is also exposed differently in this way.
Eg.
30s exposure
Foreground - 30s
horizon > sky - 15s
upper sky -8s

So result is a graduated 2 stop difference between foreground and sky.

AFAIK, the main advantage of this technique is that it is not Post Processing and can be used competitions where PP is not allowed.



I recall some guy used it in the Landscapes section.
I've seen it used at Lower Pierce
 

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catchlights

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#10
this only work well the is little ambient light around you and your camera,
when the ambient light is bright enough, you are actually shooting the black card, since card is moving, you will not have a hard edge of the card, but resulting lower contrast on the dodging areas.
 

nitewalk

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#11
AFAIK, when you don't move the card much, you will get something similar to what you get from a GND hard and if you wave it quickly, what you will get is more graduated like that of a GND soft.

When the ambient light is bright, your exposure is likely to be shorter as well, so I think that is also another issue with using it. I've only tried it once and during sunset when the exposure is slightly longer and easier to work out roughly how long I need. I remember Scintillation using it some time back. I tried once and that's all because lazy lah need to keep waving. :bsmilie:

Black Card Technique - a set on Flickr
 

fastfrag

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Oct 1, 2007
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#12
I've read it was more common in Taiwan.
Not sure how accurate it is. (maybe no $$ to buy fancy GND in the past?)
But the results are impressive.

It works by prolonging exposure and then dangling a black card in front.
The card is moved constantly so its exposure time is controlled in this manner, resulting in a graduated effect.
Each portion of the brighter scene is also exposed differently in this way.
Eg.
30s exposure
Foreground - 30s
horizon > sky - 15s
upper sky -8s

So result is a graduated 2 stop difference between foreground and sky.

AFAIK, the main advantage of this technique is that it is not Post Processing and can be used competitions where PP is not allowed.



I recall some guy used it in the Landscapes section.
I've seen it used at Lower Pierce
i SEE...
think im going to try it out
i has a sneak peek at one of the pictures they took... machiam HDR
 

eleveninth

Senior Member
Jan 17, 2006
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#13
fastfrag said:
i SEE...
think im going to try it out
i has a sneak peek at one of the pictures they took... machiam HDR
lol then doing hdr will save u alot of time.
 

pinholecam

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Jul 23, 2007
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#14
i SEE...
think im going to try it out
i has a sneak peek at one of the pictures they took... machiam HDR
Yeah, no harm trying.
Maybe you will establish your own style.
IMO, often in sgp, we just want the simple route or use $ to solve the problem (eg. HDR software), so everyone takes the well worn path.

To me, HDR software works, but the tone mapping often is hard to control and the results can have a 'hard' look to it.

Do look at exposure blending too.
I find it looks more natural than HDR.

Personally, I gave up the idea of black card as I was at the mercy of my color casted Tianya ND filter to slow exposure.
It left a magenta cast that is uneven and I found it hard/pain to remove.

Gd luck :)
 

nitewalk

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#15
This thread really stir me to want to take my black card and use, the next time i go shoot! :bsmilie:
 

Dec 2, 2009
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#16
Use this technique for long exposure shot at Merlion.
Well, not really black card, just my lighter :)
A lot of ppl wonder what I'm doing, give me a weird look...
Result come out quite nice after a few try, save some pp time lol
 

wonglp

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Jul 20, 2007
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#17
Use black card quite a bit these days, when stack long exposure (ND 6-10 stops) with GND, the IQ does deteriorate (experience base on m43 sensor & Ricoh GXR sensor, haven't tried Pentax or other systems), but black card doesn't deteriorate IQ. Also, some GND (tianya, Cokin, & Hitech even gave cast when stacked with ND), Lee should be better but I haven't tried. The correct method is mentioned by pinholecam. Though, I do it slightly differently to achieve certain effect like moving clouds.

e.g.
if suppose to expose foreground 50s, sky 5 secs. I black card (cover brightest part+shake) every 10secs and then 1 sec expose fully, then continue till bulb time ends. If based on usual methods of 50 + 5, it will be difficult to get the moving clouds. There's much trial and error as well, though it may sound simple.

Here's one with Ricoh GXR+voigtlander 12mm/5.6, square cropped as there's some light leak on the left (some internal sensor issue)



Disadvantage? If you look at the orange tallest building, it's slighty darker on the top. Could have dodged on PP, but i'm lazy:bsmilie:
But also your hand can get tired. haha
Advantage: Single shot, minimal PP.
Hope that helps explain a little. I learn alot from scintillation earlier shots, he seldom use it these days I think.
 

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nitewalk

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#18
Hahah after I read this thread, I dig out my black card for fun this evening. Light was pretty strong so I used a 3-stop ND filter to prolong the exposure and then used the black card technique. There are some processing (not straight-out-of-camera) of course but not as much as exposure blending. But I figured the results using exposure blend could be something similar. I've also taken a shot using GND at an earlier timing for comparison but unfortunately I have forgotten which one was it. :bsmilie:

 

daredevil123

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Oct 25, 2005
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#19
I use black cards from time to time, especially when I am using my 14mm lens, which has a bulging front element so using filters is out of the question.

This is one I shot using the Samyang 14mm and a black card to lower the exposure on the brighter sky.

 

Scintillation

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Aug 30, 2008
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#20
I recall some guy used it in the Landscapes section.
I've seen it used at Lower Pierce
Haha, I think that was me! I used to do lots of black-carding in the past, way before I invested in a set of GNDs. Nowadays, I use my GNDs more, but still apply the black card technique for finer highlight control.

I used to do HDR in the past, but ever since I started applying the black card technique, I find that it works better in the way that it resolves the dynamic range issue in one exposure, and retains the natural look of the shot.

This was taken with a 0.6 GND soft and slight black-carding for highlight control:

Protrusions by Scintt, on Flickr​

This was taken with a Hoya ND400, 30s foreground/2s sky:

I miss doing pure black-card technique ever since I started using grads though. Should try it out again, haha!

Here's a Flickr group dedicated to the technique which I help moderate: http://www.flickr.com/groups/blackcard/pool/with/8354249780/#photo_8354249780

We are a small community though. Hopefully this technique picks up!
 

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