Yes, I was mistaken about the film and I sincerely thank you for correcting me. I agree about the Chicago prints.
It's hard to fathom how Michael can judge his negatives so well through the base plus fog that you allude to. He is simply very skilled and knowledgeable about his materials. If one has not had the opportunity to see his prints ( and those of Paula ) at a workshop or elsewhere, then one is missing an interesting and illuminating experience.