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  1. #101
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sherman View Post
    My experience tells me that Pyro developed negs do not like heavy exposure,
    I expose the hell out of 'em. I find that it's heavy development, leading to overall heavy density, that it really doesn't like. I rate TMax 400 at 200 and place my shadows on Zone IV (so some might say I'm really rating it at 100) but I'm very careful not to over-develop. Nothing's harder for me to print than an over-developed Pyrocat negative, especially one I've developed semi-stand. I get much better prints from ones which are a little too thin than I do from ones which are too dense.

    BTW, Tom Bertilsson: nice photograph!
    Jim

  2. #102

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sherman View Post
    Above quote is right on and may well offer some insight to why many are seeing a need to bump contrast filtration with Pyro negs.

    My experience tells me that Pyro developed negs do not like heavy exposure, this tends to move much of what we saw as dark tones in the original scene to move up onto the straight line and be impacted by development and in the case of pyro, increased stain. This is also the exact reason I do not redevelop pyro negs in used developer, the stain compromises mid tone / edge contrast and that is the single most difficult component of printing to get correct.

    For me personally, my pre pyro negs were heavy and required a lot of manipulation in the darkroom with graded paper to get the effect I was looking for.

    I find quite the opposite with Pyro negs and Multi Contrast paper, a well exposed, almost @ manufacturer's box speed and developed to a lower contrast index to yield some of the finest prints I have seen.

    I use exclusively Pyrocat HD, the first stuff Sandy formulated and find it works well with continuous agitation or with reduced agitation regimes. I mix it from powder (the most toxic as dust can cause respiratory problems), once in liquid form it is quite safe and extremely inexpensive.

    Sandy King has spend untold hours and research on formulating Pyrocat, I cannot understand the debate about developers!

    Go make some photographs!

    Cheers
    Thanks for the insight on this Steve. I may well try Pyrocat one day when I'm back to sheet film!

  3. #103
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    Me too. I try to rate tri x at 160 or even lower and drop process
    Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3 View Post
    I expose the hell out of 'em. I find that it's heavy development, leading to overall heavy density, that it really doesn't like. I rate TMax 400 at 200 and place my shadows on Zone IV (so some might say I'm really rating it at 100) but I'm very careful not to over-develop. Nothing's harder for me to print than an over-developed Pyrocat negative, especially one I've developed semi-stand. I get much better prints from ones which are a little too thin than I do from ones which are too dense.

    BTW, Tom Bertilsson: nice photograph!

  4. #104
    Guillaume Zuili's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=c6h6o3;1215934]I expose the hell out of 'em.

    Same for me too. For any developer but especially Pyro.

    Flight canceled :-(

  5. #105
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I too used Pyrocat while exposing FP4+ at 64 and Tri-X at 200. Super negatives to print.
    If you do extreme minimal agitation, you can expose at a higher exposure index, like box speed, because the longer developing time will bring back some of that shadow detail.

    But Steve is right. Go take some pictures! That's what I'll do, I think.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  6. #106
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3 View Post
    I expose the hell out of 'em.
    I get much better prints from ones which are a little too thin than I do from ones which are too dense.
    Is this an oxymoron ?

    Whatever it is, if you have problems getting negs to print easily you need to look no further than "Expose the hell out of them". Jim, you know as well as anyone that exposure and development are forever linked together, when one is wrong than the other has to be forsaken in favor of the first error, hence when one is wrong so is the other.

    Personally speaking, changing to a pyro based developer and VC paper caused a fundamental change in exposure and development for me, naturally this didn't come about in one or two adjustments, it took many ill advised exposure and development choices before the puzzle became clear.

    When you get to our stage Jim revelations don't come around that often. Back in the mid 90's switching to PMK was a revelation. Another revelation came in the form a phrase by a photog we both know and whose wife's work is much in line with our sensibilities.

    The phrase "you must anchor your low values" opened my eyes to why so many of my negs were difficult to print. Prior to that conversation in Pennsylvania I used to meter and place my important shadows on Z4 with film rated @ 1/2 box speed. Since then and with more consistent ease of printing I have rated film @ a tick under box speed and first find a Z2 tonality and then determine the relationship between that Z2 tonality and what I perceive to be important shadow values. So long as those values are within 2 zones of one another I have found my exposure value.

    Lastly, if you like the look you get from Reduced Agitation negatives you will best achieve that look by exposing accurately and developing to a lower contrast index and allowing the VC paper to do what it does best, lay down the most difficult part of the final print....mid tone micro contrast

    2 cents,

    Cheers
    Real Photographs are Born Wet !
    http://www.steve-sherman.com

  7. #107

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    Steve, great point on anchoring the shadows and thinner negs.

    For me though it also applies to non-pyro developers. Shadows and highlights come easily w/ understanding exposure and dev, but it took me years to discover how to begin to control midtones to put them where I wanted, and my first epiphany in that search was beginning to work w/ thinner negatives and, as you put it, anchoring the blacks.

    It's enlightening, if given the opportunity, to see what other photographers consider they're favorite negatives to print and resulting prints. Actually might be interesting thread.

  8. #108
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    @Steve: With TMax, which has a very long straight line portion to its characteristic curve and almost no shoulder, all exposure does is slide the density range up or down that straight line portion. My epiphany was in realizing that no matter where I put that image's density range on the curve, the paper I print on can't hold anywhere near the density range that the film can. What development does is lengthen or shorten that density range. In my experience, two separate parameters. Yes, you can expose a negative so much that you lose control in development and vice versa, but we're never that extreme.

    But now you've got me reexamining my working methods, because almost all of my negatives of late will only print at about Grade 2-1/2 (G3 Azo with water bath). I will try backing off on exposure a little and expanding development a little to see if I can't come closer to a Grade 2 standard.

    BTW, the last time I visited the photographer you mentioned I saw some of his new work and it was jaw dropping. I'd never seen finer prints. I asked him what his new secret was, because something had definitely changed and he said "thinner negatives". He was forced to slide the density range of his negatives down the curve and expand development a little because his film is so fogged. (Base fog around density .5). While his density range is the same as it has always been, the overall density is lower.
    Jim

  9. #109
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Sherman View Post

    first find a Z2 tonality and then determine the relationship between that Z2 tonality and what I perceive to be important shadow values. So long as those values are within 2 zones of one another I have found my exposure value.
    What do you do with a flat scene where there are no Z2 values? I've been encountering this a lot lately.
    Jim

  10. #110
    Steve Sherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3 View Post
    What do you do with a flat scene where there are no Z2 values? I've been encountering this a lot lately.
    Semi-Stand baby! No question!

    The print you like so much of mine was exposed with only three zones of tonality registering on the meter. Exposed lowest reading on Z 3 and let the the SS do the rest. Those negs were the first I'd ever developed that way, I exposed JC 200 @ 200, a 1:175 ratio of Pyrocat HD, an educated guess that worked perfectly and I went with a 60 minute total time in solution with one agitation cycle @ 30 M.

    BTW, the photog you mention, he actually saw those negs in person and to put it mildly was dumbstruck, you know the quote of his in the View Camera article.

    You don't suppose, nah, couldn't be, you think he made an adjustment after seeing my negs and prints?

    Next Friday, first Friday in Louisville, will miss ya, but will have one / two in your honor.

    Cheers!
    Real Photographs are Born Wet !
    http://www.steve-sherman.com



 

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