A Religious Experience

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A Religious Experience

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:57 pm

So I have been shooting a lot of film lately, mostly black and white... mostly Ilford. Trying to stay out of a winter funk. I started shooting 2 extremes... Fuji NeoPan 1600 and Ilford PANF 50 Plus. One very fast, very grainy film and one very slow with almost no grain.

Soon after I started shooting Ilford HP5 400 because it was cheap and accessible for me. I have also toyed around with some Ilford FP4 125 and have been developing everything in Ilfosol S.

I kept reading about the split between people who love HP5 and Kodak TRI-X, both 400 speed films. Like many things there doesn't seem to be a middle ground. You either love one or the other. I decided to order 5 rolls of TRI-X and give it a fair shot.

So far I've developed 2 rolls, both in Ilfosol 3 (the only developer I currently have access to) and as soon as I hung them up to dry I fell in love. The contrast was just jumping out at me. They are very grainy, some is probably attributed to me using the wrong developer but I personally find it pleasing to the eye. That's one reason I am shooting B&W film... for the texture.

Maybe not quite a religious experience, but I certainly am excited to finish the last 3 rolls.

Comments and criticism not only welcome, but encouraged.







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Re: A Religious Experience

Post by thirdfloorgirl on Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:54 am

Oh I really like those!!!!! Especially the third one... looks kinda scary!

I used to shoot with TRI-X and loved it... The guy that was developping my rolls of film didn't understand why I liked it so much... Oh well... ;-)

Well done... got more to show us?
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Re: A Religious Experience

Post by Nando on Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:13 pm

Did you shoot at 400 ISO? I have never used Ilfosol3 with Tri-X. When researching developers, I saw photos with similar grain. Very sharp but grainy. I found the Ilford developer closest to Kodak D-76 (or HC110) is Ilfotec HC. I haven't used Ilfotec HC either but that's the Ilford developer I would probably buy for use with Tri-X rated 200 and 400 ISO.

The 3rd one is very nice. 4th one is good. I'd probably try shooting that one at a lower angle to get more sky and bring the top of the fence closer to the building... I'm not sure.

I'm finishing up my last rolls of my older Tri-X stock before moving to APX and Fomapan. I do have 10 new rolls of of Tri-X (rebranded as Arista Premium 400) just in case I start to miss it. Tri-X does have a special look to it when shot in its usual way. I always found the tones very pleasing. Its a very flexible film. I use it mostly at 200ISO but it performs well from 100-1600 ISO and beyond. Also a very forgiving film with a wide exposure latitude. I don't have to worry about getting exposure right on when I'm shooting. If I'm off by a stop, I know that I'll still get a very usable negative.

If anyone wants to see Tri-X at its absolute best, look at Sebastião Salgado's work.
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Re: A Religious Experience

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Sat Jan 24, 2009 10:26 pm

I took a day trip to Sudbury today and went on a shopping spree at Henry's. I picked up a small bottle of HC-110 and 2 bottles of Rodinal. Not sure what I'm going to try next, but I planned on souping the PANF 50 with the Rodinal.

It wouldn't be hard for me to modify the composition of that last shot in Photoshop, if I wanted to. I shoot that building all the time, as you know Fernando (it's like a 2 minute walk from my house), and I'm sure I'll go back. I was able to get the fence top in the photo because the snowbanks are tall and hard enough to stand on.

I have lots more shots, but they're more of the same. No people, unfortunately.








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Re: A Religious Experience

Post by thirdfloorgirl on Sat Jan 24, 2009 11:47 pm

I really like the contrast and the grain in those shots... Makes me miss film...
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Re: A Religious Experience

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:00 am

thirdfloorgirl wrote:I really like the contrast and the grain in those shots... Makes me miss film...

It's like a bicycle. Just get back on and it and start riding... no matter how long since the last time you did Very Happy
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Re: A Religious Experience

Post by Nando on Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:38 am

I find you're second photo of the crane barge much better.

HC110 should give you nearly the same results as D76. This is what Tri-X @ 200ISO in D76 1:1 can look look like. The only post-processing I did was to set black and white points in levels and darken the photo a tad in curves. (and also add the warmer tone using curves - but that part is largely irrelevant)



Grain is tighter but always present. I find shooting at 200ISO gives better resolution, smoother tones and larger tonal range. Developing at 1:1 gives very nice exposure latitude in case I shoot a few frames one stop over or under. If I developed with D76 at full strength, grain would decrease but I think I would lose some exposure latitude. I think that this would hold true with HC110 as it is basically "liquid D76".

Rodinal will be very interesting to use. Very sensitive to agitation. Through the control of agitation, you can get the high-contrast Ralph Gibson look or you can get rich, ultra-smooth tonality. Diluted 1:100 with semi-stand development, one can get really beautiful results with Tri-X rated 1,600 ISO, 3,200 ISO or even higher.

Take look at this photo taken at 3,200 ISO:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24706160@N06/2957855265/

Here's one taken with Tri-X at an extreme 25,600 ISO:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/24706160@N06/3073199556/

I'm looking forward to the switch from D76 to Rodinal myself. I expect that it will take some time to experiment with development until I get a look that I like with Rodinal. More time than it took me with D76.

PanF and Rodinal have always been a good match.
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Re: A Religious Experience

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:51 pm

Thanks. I think I could crop and rotate that first crane shot and others into something better. These are pretty much fresh off the Epson scanner I have at home, not even on the Nikon scanner at work.

That first shot you linked to is already a favorite of mine on Flickr, along with the thread I found it on in the Flickr Rodinal group.

I only have one finished roll left to develop, I have gotten through my backlog. That means I gotta get out and shoot some more!
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Re: A Religious Experience

Post by Nando on Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:39 pm

I wouldn't bother messing around in photoshop if you are able to revisit the scene and take another photograph.

I have Tri-X in my IIIf and I rated it at 3200 ISO. I will be developing in Rodinal using semi-stand development and I hope to get similar results as P. Lynn Miller (linked above). I've been using my 35mm and 50mm Elmars with that camera and they're pretty slow (f/3.5). Hopefully I'll finish that roll this week and develop next weekend.
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Re: A Religious Experience

Post by Kenneth Armstrong on Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:00 pm

I'll be joining you shortly... I shot a roll at 1600 which I will attempt this week with the semi-stand and 2 more rolls rated at 400. That's the end of my TRI-X, not sure when I'll be making another order. I shot a roll of Kodachrome as well tonight, not sure when I'll get to the Ektar 100 I picked up.
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