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  1. #31
    fhovie's Avatar
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    I just got out of the darkroom with a half dozen film packs from a walk through the woods. It was mid day and the scene contrast was at least 12 stops from shadow detail to highlights. I did the first half in pyrocat-pc with a 30 min semi stand and some of the negatives have a density range that is quite unruly - not working on grade 2 and muddy on VC grade 1 or 0. So I thought I would try split D23 on the other half due to its compensating action. The new negatives are slightly better - not fantastically better. There is a thing I observe with ultra contrasty scenes; If you try to get all the highlights and shadows to print - it will look flat. Many of AA's prints that he pulled to get a handle on scene contrast look flat to me. I guess for me the bottom line is that I would rather have very contrasty prints that may have some highlight blow out and some difficult shadows than have the whole print seem flat just to get both ends on the paper. I much prefer making prints from scenes that are flat and pushing them to make them contrasty. The results always seem better. Hence - magic hour - that first and last hour of the day when contrast can be managed.
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  2. #32

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    I agree. All these magic bullet chemical formulas may be great at compressing scene contrast to fit the film so that it fits the paper, but that doesn't mean anything in terms of aesthetic look of the print and as you say, it usually compresses areas of the subject which specifically don't want compressing because they look lifeless if you do. There are occasions where these magic bullet developers are useful where you are forced to make images from difficult subjects but pre editing your images by careful subject selection and choice of lighting conditions is a much better way of going about things if you want consistently high quality images. i.e. know what will work well and look for it.

  3. #33
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fhovie View Post
    It was mid day and the scene contrast was at least 12 stops from shadow detail to highlights. .
    In many ways Semi-stand dev. is a magic bullet, but make no mistake there is a reason books are titled "Quiet Light"
    Real Photographs are Born Wet !
    http://www.steve-sherman.com

  4. #34
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    Generally, such wide range scenes are two separable scenes because the range of reflectivity of natural materials is no greater than that of high quality photo paper. The illumination variation from one area to another is no problem for the eye because we only see a very small area at any look point and the near instantaneous adaptability of the eye tends to dodge and burn automatically. Clouds are another matter because they can be like a frosted light bulb. I seriously doubt that Adams made very many prints of wide range scenes without dodging. Now if we wanted to go dxxxxxl, we could have an automatic dodger built into the recording device.
    Gadget Gainer

  5. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by gainer View Post
    Generally, such wide range scenes are two separable scenes because the range of reflectivity of natural materials is no greater than that of high quality photo paper. The illumination variation from one area to another is no problem for the eye because we only see a very small area at any look point and the near instantaneous adaptability of the eye tends to dodge and burn automatically. Clouds are another matter because they can be like a frosted light bulb. I seriously doubt that Adams made very many prints of wide range scenes without dodging. Now if we wanted to go dxxxxxl, we could have an automatic dodger built into the recording device.
    Fuji do.

  6. #36
    fhovie's Avatar
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    There is an alternative - alternative processing - here is a print from a negative that was too contrasty on grade 2 but on cyanotype it is pretty good:
    Fp4 Pyrocat PC semi stand 30min


    this one was developed in D23 split and was fp4 sucking up 12 stops

    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Kehler View Post
    A question regarding exposures and developing, which while stemming from the Zone System, is not meant to mean that I am using that system. I recently borrowed several books from the library and have done some research on-line about negative development; a common suggestion is to overexpose to allow for shadow detail and then under-develop to save highlights. This should increase contrast and allow better prints; I also realize that all shots on a role of film would have to be exposed/developed the same amounts. My question is how to calculate these types of scenarios.

    I am using a Minolta Spotmeter (digital) so I am able to have very accurate measurements and can have 1/3 or 1/2 steps in ISO (i.e., I usually expose Velvia 50 at 40 as I like the colour and highlights better but I don't develop E-6 myself). I like using PanF, which is a 50 ISO, and then exposing at 25 ISO so there is an over-exposure already; however, looking at the development times (1:1 Perceptol), there is a 4:30 difference between 25 and 50 (I have been following recommended development times so far). HP5+ has a 3 minute difference in ID-11 between 400 and 800 ISO.

    So, how does one decide how long to leave the roll in the developer?
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    I understand that Ansel Adams learned to observe the development of the negative by eye and then dumped it into the stop bath when the density was "just right." Of course, he was developing large negs in a tray...

  8. #38

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    I used this procedure all the time back when I was shooting b&w many years ago. I overexposed and underdeveloped the negs then selenium toned them to increase contrast enough to print properly on Grade 3 Ilford Gallery. I then selenium toned the prints. I liked the results. This does precisely what you've read it does... opens the shadows while retaining the highlights.

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