Picking a film curve

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by pierods, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. pierods

    pierods Member

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    Hi,

    today I went out and photographed a friend of mine.

    I loaded up some tri-x. We went out to the designed place. I put a grey card to the side of his face and metered. Then I spot metered the middle of his left cheek - he is Japanese, a little dark - meter said half a stop difference - and I started shooting.

    The day was very overcast, almost "grey".

    Which curve do I pick? (See attached image).

    I thought, since the day was so overcast, I can probably go to 9 minutes and not blow any highlight. Correct?

    Thanks.
     
  2. pierods

    pierods Member

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    Here is the curve. trix.PNG
     
  3. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    If you print on multigrade paper, you can use a curve in the middle. If you find yourself printing on 00 or 5 frequently, you can adjust the negative development time for future rolls to give more or less contrast. I'd start with 7 minutes.
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I might go 7 then adjust with paper from there.

    With roll film I don't move too far from normal.

    When shooting sheets (1 & a spare) I still do the first sheet at my norm then decide about sheet 2.
     
  5. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    I'd err slightly to the low contrast side then selenium tone if more contrast is needed.
     
  6. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    I don't TMAX dev, I use D76 1+1 and the times are generally in the 9-10 (20c) mark but in this situation I'd opt for a tad more time for some snap.

    The only time I don't like TriX is when it's flat in flat light.
     
  7. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I would suggest that you ignore the curves and experiment with a film/dev/time/temperature that works for you.
     
  8. pierods

    pierods Member

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    I just realized I made a mistake - the meter said 1/2 a stop difference and I used a full stop.

    What's the best time then?
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I'm assuming you mean that you metered the gray card and opened up 1-stop instead of 1/2-stop, so 1/2-stop extra exposure.

    Exposure changes placement on the film curve. You will have more shadow detail on the film and each subject in the scene just slides up the film curve 1/2 a stop.

    No problem, no adjustment to development, your Tri-X has plenty of room (latitude) on the film curve for that error and more.

    All that that means is that when printing it will take a little bit more paper exposure in the enlarger to get the same print, nothing more.

    What actually happens for most photos we mortals take is that we rarely use all the info on the film in a straight print. That extra 1/2 stop of shadow detail on the film (in fact probably more than that) is simply printed as black on the paper.

    That's a choice not a given, remember that we gave the paper a bit more exposure, that extra exposure can be withheld in general but that changes the rest of the print, placing other subjects too light on the print, or you can dodge just the shadow areas.

    Your original assumption that extra development was called for because of that low contrast scene is good, only the degree is in question.

    Changing development, flattening the curve by using less development time would allow that extra 1/2-stop of detail to print. But, it also makes your print less contrasty, less snap. In your overcast situation it just makes your print look even flatter, lifeless. Probably not what you want.

    The take away here is that the film curve needs to match what's important in the scene and the paper in the enlarger, not necessarily the exposure you use.
     
  10. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    if uncertain:surprised:ver expose and under develop.
     
  11. pierods

    pierods Member

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    markbarendt: thanks!

    ralphlambrecht: thanks, but I am pretty certain that the weather was overcast
     
  12. chassis

    chassis Member

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    I would use the 6 minute processing time, and boost contrast (if necessary) in printing using variable contrast filters on multigrade paper.
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    then the 9 minutes might be a good start, just as you thought.
     
  14. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    So yesterday I developed a roll that I shot last week with a few shots under an overcast sky in Oregon. (Delta 400, not Tri-X but, so what? Same theory applies.)

    I metered using an equivalent method to yours pierods. (Incident metering, what I did, and pegging via a known tone, your grey card/subject's face in this case.) We both should have ended up at essentially the same camera setting. Easily within 1/2-stop.

    I developed the film normally, no extra development time. (Because I had shots on the roll that were taken under different conditions, not just under overcast)

    Did the proof print last evening, the "overcast" shots fell nicely "straight" onto my VC paper at grade 2. No adjustment required.

    This is the norm in my world, with my subjects and sensibility. It took me a long time to learn that lesson and stop chasing other people's sensibilities.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2012