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  1. #11
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    George Papantoniou,

    Assume you like the look of your beautiful posted gallery photo, and want to obtain that look naturally, you are right to plan to "underexpose" and "overdevelop".

    But Dektol straight is going to be difficult to control.

    The day I did my tests for Dektol 1:9, I also did snip tests at 1:5 and made a note to myself that 1:5 is too difficult to control. I got densities over 2.0 in 5 minutes and really I don't want "black" negatives for Silver Gelatin printing on Grade 2 or 3 paper.

    At 9 minutes, I achieved a "normal" contrast for Tri-X 35mm with Dektol 1:9. This verifies the rule-of-thumb that PE told me about (1 minute per part of water). So keep that in mind.

    For higher contrast, develop longer or at higher concentration than I did. I'd guess a couple fewer parts of water or a couple more minutes.

    In general, developing film to high contrast requires MORE control if you want assured results. Mr. Ford, my high school print shop teacher (imagine John Wayne with librarian's half-glasses), used to look down on us and call us pinheads if we came to him for advice when we forgot to include a test strip in the camera shot. Because a bad shot with a test strip, is easy to count out the half f/stops to the correct exposure. But without a test strip, you (and the teacher) have no idea how far off you are.

    When shooting high-school newspaper pages, a test strip can be in every sheet of film. You just cover it up when making plates. But when taking photographs, you want all the film for your picture. That's why it's more practical to do tests on separate sheets of film.

    Test or not, it's up to you... I'd test... or put a grayscale in every picture.

  2. #12
    George Papantoniou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    don't go there. you are about to starting a trial and error game.this can take forever. start with a proper film test and get it right from the starthowever, this will take 6 sheets just for the test, I'm afraid. there are no short cuts to quality.
    Well, I guess that you're right about the quality issue, but this is a case of experimenting on doing some images with "marginal" or "strange" look, so I guess that I can give some slack to that direction...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    Thanks Simonh32,

    Ralph brings up the importance of testing. That referenced post, where I developed a roll in Dektol 1:9, leaves out details of the tests I performed that led me to choose 5 minutes. In January I had done a set of tests at different development times, which gave me time/contrast information.

    George Papantoniou,

    You could make normally exposed and processed negatives, and then use a lith process from a successful negative to get prints with the look you are going for.
    I would prefer images that don't have the "lith look", but rather an overall higher contrast. Lith prints show lower contrast in the highlights and ultra-high contrast in the shadows (and those dense, blocked blacks).

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinP View Post
    It may also be convenient to try a few exposures on the same sheet of 8x10, in a similar way to a printing test-strip. You will need a film-holder with a well fitting slide and probably shoot the test subject indoors with artificial light - both points in order to reduce the possibilities for light-leaks via the light-trap. Make multiple exposures, three is do-able, withdrawing the slide partially for each one and remembering the time is cumulative.

    Keeping a constant aperture, and having the longest exposure as the usual ISO rating (ie. assuming the relatively active developer gives a speed increase over ISO) a three-exposure, two-stop range might be something like 1/30s, 1/60s, 1/60s. The total exposure per strip in this example would be 1/15s, 1/30s and 1/60s. With a carefully selected/made test subject, you would be able to get a good idea of highlights and shadow details much more quickly/cheaply than developing three sheets.

    I tried this for pinhole testing, with longer exposures, but ran foul of the imprecision of reciprocity failure . . . too optimistic
    Although the procedure you're describing sounds a bit too complicated for me, this has given me the idea of how to save some sheets of film for the testing: I can shoot one sheet @800 and then cut it in 4 strips and develop each one in a tray using 4 different times (and temperature, maybe) ! Nice idea !! Thanks !!

    Quote Originally Posted by DannL. View Post
    For the occasions where I've developed film in Dektol 1:2, I've always developed for two minutes. Only once did I developed a roll of Tri-X 35mm in warm Dektol as I was in too big of a hurry to wait for it to cool. I produced my best portrait from that batch of negatives. Very grainy and contrasty. I don't know about 8x10 whether the graininess would be all that obvious, but the contrast difference should be quite noticeable.
    I also did some nice contrasty portraits some years ago, using ortho film ! They weren't grainy, since they were shot on 4x5... but the higher contrast gave them an interesting look... this time I hope to succeed in getting them even more contrasty !!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    George Papantoniou,

    Assume you like the look of your beautiful posted gallery photo, and want to obtain that look naturally, you are right to plan to "underexpose" and "overdevelop".

    But Dektol straight is going to be difficult to control.

    The day I did my tests for Dektol 1:9, I also did snip tests at 1:5 and made a note to myself that 1:5 is too difficult to control. I got densities over 2.0 in 5 minutes and really I don't want "black" negatives for Silver Gelatin printing on Grade 2 or 3 paper.

    At 9 minutes, I achieved a "normal" contrast for Tri-X 35mm with Dektol 1:9. This verifies the rule-of-thumb that PE told me about (1 minute per part of water). So keep that in mind.

    For higher contrast, develop longer or at higher concentration than I did. I'd guess a couple fewer parts of water or a couple more minutes.

    In general, developing film to high contrast requires MORE control if you want assured results. Mr. Ford, my high school print shop teacher (imagine John Wayne with librarian's half-glasses), used to look down on us and call us pinheads if we came to him for advice when we forgot to include a test strip in the camera shot. Because a bad shot with a test strip, is easy to count out the half f/stops to the correct exposure. But without a test strip, you (and the teacher) have no idea how far off you are.

    When shooting high-school newspaper pages, a test strip can be in every sheet of film. You just cover it up when making plates. But when taking photographs, you want all the film for your picture. That's why it's more practical to do tests on separate sheets of film.

    Test or not, it's up to you... I'd test... or put a grayscale in every picture.
    This is also some interesting advice, thanks !! I guess that it will be difficult to control !! But it might be worth giving it a try ! Using a grayscale in every picture won't be an option for this project (the prints will probably be contacts, so no cropping is possible) but I'll surely be using one for the test shooting !

    These days of October have been too busy for me so I've postponed the testing for the first couple of weeks of November... once I get there, I'll post about the results !

    As for the comment on the only picture I have ever posted in the Gallery, thanks for the compliment but the truth is that this one is not really representative of the work I usually do. Posting pictures in the Gallery was never something I liked to do though, because I dislike the look of my printed pictures on a backlit monitor. I always say that if I wanted that look, I would shoot slides, not negs (and show them in a projector)! On the other hand, receiving feedback and comments on my work is always nice and I never avoid it, I can say that even the worst comments I have ever received have helped me go on with what I do. So, I actually can't really decide whether it'll be good of bad to share my work on the internet, but I did take the decision to upload some older stuff somewhere, just in order to allow friends that are far away to glance and have a general idea of the things I've done. If you want you can also have a look in order (at least) to clear up the misunderstanding created by looking at the sole Gallery post that I have here...

    here's the link:

    https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/1...11129126563873

  3. #13

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    Why not keep things simple? Underexpose the film a few stops and way overdevelop - which will work with any general purpose film developer. You don't need Dektol to get high contrast.

  4. #14

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    hey george,

    good luck with your tests! i hope you post your results
    and info on time / temp / dev so others can do similar things ...

    one suggestion i might make is using developer that is not "fresh"
    you might get better control with it.
    i was also going to suggest making paper negatives, and contact printing the
    paper negatives onto film, but that would be too much work and not as much fun
    as using sheet film

    john
    im empty, good luck

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burk View Post
    George Papantoniou,

    Assume you like the look of your beautiful posted gallery photo, and want to obtain that look naturally, you are right to plan to "underexpose" and "overdevelop".

    But Dektol straight is going to be difficult to control.

    The day I did my tests for Dektol 1:9, I also did snip tests at 1:5 and made a note to myself that 1:5 is too difficult to control. I got densities over 2.0 in 5 minutes and really I don't want "black" negatives for Silver Gelatin printing on Grade 2 or 3 paper.

    At 9 minutes, I achieved a "normal" contrast for Tri-X 35mm with Dektol 1:9. This verifies the rule-of-thumb that PE told me about (1 minute per part of water). So keep that in mind.

    For higher contrast, develop longer or at higher concentration than I did. I'd guess a couple fewer parts of water or a couple more minutes.

    In general, developing film to high contrast requires MORE control if you want assured results. Mr. Ford, my high school print shop teacher (imagine John Wayne with librarian's half-glasses), used to look down on us and call us pinheads if we came to him for advice when we forgot to include a test strip in the camera shot. Because a bad shot with a test strip, is easy to count out the half f/stops to the correct exposure. But without a test strip, you (and the teacher) have no idea how far off you are.

    When shooting high-school newspaper pages, a test strip can be in every sheet of film. You just cover it up when making plates. But when taking photographs, you want all the film for your picture. That's why it's more practical to do tests on separate sheets of film.

    Test or not, it's up to you... I'd test... or put a grayscale in every picture.
    Bill, I am a bit curios what "difficult to control" means in this context. When I develop film in Dektol 1:2 for example, I invariably get the same results each time. That is, as long as the film, temp, time, agitation, and concentration of developer is a constant. I don't see wild and varying results with 1:2. Does "difficult to control" mean that Dektol when used "straight" (I gather that means stock) won't give you enough "time" to produce consistent results? Or does it mean the results differ wildly from sheet-to-sheet? etc. I ask because I have heard the phrase "difficult to control" used in the past, and I still don't grasp the meaning. I surely must be missing something.
    Last edited by DannL.; 10-31-2013 at 01:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #16
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannL. View Post
    ...I have heard the phrase "difficult to control" used in the past, and I still don't grasp the meaning. I surely must be missing something.
    You're right, I meant not enough time for me to work comfortably. I prefer to work with film development times over 4 minutes, and it was looking like 3 or 4 minutes might have been the time for a normal contrast. The phrase "difficult to control" was a note to myself, and the next action I took was to add more water.

  7. #17

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    hi bill ..

    my uncle is a commercial photographer and lab guy in his 90's i am guessing.
    i remember years ago we had a conversation about negatives or more specifically
    solarization and he used the expression "difficult to control" too and he suggested
    at that point using partially spent developer instead of fresh-stuff. all these years i have remembered that
    ( that was 25 years ago ! ) so whenever i hear that expression i automatically think "difficult to control means too much developer action"
    perfect move making it more dilute, i wonder, did you try the same thing adding some spent developer or using "used" developer to season
    your mix? dk50, harvey's 777 &c had/have wicked activity and are difficult to control until they are "seasoned" too ..
    kind of like taming a wild beast

    thanks for the memories
    john
    im empty, good luck

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