Keith:

The two examples you show are both quite challenging - they may not be the best negatives to use when you are trying to fine tune your exposure and development.

Do you have any negatives where the scene is illuminated by less contrasty light, but still exhibits a wide range of tones? A scene where the illumination is high overcast, and the shadows are present, but illuminated would be a great target. The classic "light from a north facing window" can also be great.

If you can get your exposure and development dialled in for that sort of scene, adjustments for light that is either more or less harsh are relatively straightforward.