I need low contrast MF negs
I have an idea for some shots of light fixtures and light bulbs. You know, B&W graphic, abstract sort of close up stuff.
( I got the idea while bored and leaning way back in my chair in the cubicle of employment ... but, I digress.)
Anyway, it occurs to me that the contrast with the lights off will be very flat and uninteresting, while having the lights on will result in the actual tubes and bulbs themselves blown out.
Since I don't have sheet film, I am looking for suggestions in 120 (or even 35mm) that will give me really compressed contrast negs. I'm confident of being able to print any detail that is on the negative, but I don't want the light sources to completely block up on the neg! Then, there's nothing to print.
Film/developer/time suggestions - all welcome. Yes, I'm willing to experiment and test, but I need a starting point.
Thanks in advance.
You are not likely to get the negative you want if you want the details of the bulbs themselves to print. The best approach is with sheet film, exposing and developing for each area and then use a contrast mask.
However, you want something else, and to that end I recommend AXP 100 stand developed in Rodinal 1:150 for 40 minutes.
You might try an extreme compensating developer like POTA, which was designed to compress exposures with a 20 stop range, or SPUR, which is for normal contrast results with high contrast microfilm. There's a photograph in Adams' _The Negative_ of a light fixture where the filament and reflector are both visible in detail--a perfectly boring photograph, but a good demonstration of POTA.
if I were to want low contrast film, I would over expose the film by 2 or more stops and underdevelop the film by at least that much. I might be tempted to use Trix or Hp5 since those films are not as inherently as high in contrast as slower speed films might be. Several years ago I ran some tests with Microdol-x and Kodalk as a developing routine for lowering contrast build up due to recesiprocity failure. This was another way also to develop to N-3 or N-4. So this is the way I would head in the first round of tests. If that did not work, I would follow John Stafford's advice and use stand development. Pyrocat-hd and PMK might be better than Rodinal for stand and semi-stand development.
In Ansel Adam's book, "The Negative", page 234, there's a photo of a light bulb with plenty of detail showing. The neg was processed in one of the pyro devs. This dev agent is famous for not allowing the highlights to block up.
The above suggestions could be useful as well.
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Have you considered a multiple exposure technique - a longer exposure with the lights off combined with a shorter exposure with the lights on. It would be experimental, but that's quite in keeping with the source of inspiration - - -
Originally Posted by Jim Appleyard
That's the one I was thinking of. I don't have the book in front of me, but I'm fairly sure it was POTA (phenidone and sulfite), not Pyro.
I just opened The Negative to page 234, and it is definately a Pyrocatechin developer. Ansel mentions POTA further down the page...
I'm confident of being able to print any detail that is on the negative, but I don't want the light sources to completely block up on the neg!
You might not need to get to fancy with this. Two common films, T Max 400 and FP4, have very long scale response. TMax 400, in Xtol 1+2, gives you a straight line response over 13 stops, with a gentle shoulder after that.
The density of the negative is higher than we're used to printing. But with either Ansco 120, or (even better) Ansel Adams version of Ansco 130, you can probably shoot in 35mm and print normally on #1 or #2 MG FB. A diffusin enlarger would be a good idea.
Pyro Cat would be an excellent alternative, as would FX2. Both Catechol and Glycin are great for long scale scenes. But XTOL will make a very nice negative.
Good Luck !
"One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"
Thanks for the clarification, Andre.
Originally Posted by Andre R. de Avillez