Achieving high contrast.. need advise :)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Kim Catton, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    Hi

    I am shooting Ilford HP5 400 in both 35mm and 6x6 medium format. I am trying to find the best way to reach the look that I have in mind for the project that I am working on. I am looking for high contrast and grain is always appreciated :smile:. It is kind of hard trying to explain exactly what my thoughts are about. What I am looking for in contrast etc is somewhere in the area of this guys work: LINK

    I have read about some "high contrast developers". Could this be and option? I am not sure that the contrast can be achieved using just the enlargers magenta etc...

    Another thing that I tried once was to enlarge through sheets of bakingpaper. The result was interesting, with added textures and a bit more contrast.

    Well... I am having difficulties explaining myself, hehe. Hope it makes a bit of sense :smile:

    Kim
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Just use your normal dev but push process by one or two stops, see the Ilford site for dev times etc.

    So shoot at 800 or 1600 EI and increase the development somewhere between 30% -100% depending on the EI and developer used.

    Ian
     
  3. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    I think Ian's advice is correct, but also note the harshness of the lighting and use of flash in those photos.

    Jon
     
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    Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    OK... so using the film on 800 or 1600 would give me both grain and more contrast if I follow the Ilford developement chart? Could you go to the extend and shoot at 3200? By the way...when I shoot medium format I tend to spotmeter shadows and then adjust 2½ to get some detail in the shadow and then the rest tend to follow nicely. I am having trouble finding out whether or not I should use the same technique when shooting 35mm...any suggestions?

    Again, thanks a lot.

    Kim
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    If you push to far you lose control. Better to go to say 1600 and then you have a bit more flexibility at the printing stage.

    Ian
     
  6. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I think Jon is right, most of the contrast you see in that work is from the light itself. After that, I think the print grade is is giving some of that look. The grain actually looks fairly smooth to my eye, for the level of contrast. So I wonder what the format is and so forth.

    Ian is right that you want some flexibility at the print stage, so I'd not leap into push-processing before you know what other techniques can do. Foremost, how about learning to identify the dramatic lighting, learning how to control the print grade, perhaps try Se treatment of your negs or farmer's reducer on overexposed negs or such as a way to control the contrast index.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 14, 2009
  7. SamWeiss

    SamWeiss Member

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    His image #12 shows a digital set-up (of a girl in Odaiba being photographed.) That doesn't mean he was doing digital, but the setup obviously is using some sort of lighting that you don't have.

    On your question regarding spot metering with 35mm compared to MF, you may not realize it, but Olympus in their OM-3 and OM-4 cameras have a metering button to do exactly what you did with MF. The user meters a scene for shadows, then presses a button for "shadows" which adjusts the exposure by two stops. So yes, it is done for 35mm.

    I've not used HP5 (one of the few ISO 400 b&w that I've skipped), but having pushed film before I'm not encouraged that you can mimic Mr. Sobol's work simply by pushing film. Some of his images look like they have enhanced vignetting. Some of his Japanese work looks like it was accomplished through some sort of contrast enhancement, or the use of filters (some even look a bit IR-ish, I wonder if he used SFX?)
     
  8. BobNewYork

    BobNewYork Member

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    Don't forget "violent" agitation - that should enhance both grain and contrast.
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Lighting issues aside, I'd start with rating the film at box speed, then developing it to a 1 stop push. That will bump up the contrast and the grain, without loosing too much information. The rest can be handled with the proper choice of paper grade and printing exposure.
     
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    Kim Catton

    Kim Catton Member

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    SamWeiss...didn't know about the Olympus cameras, interesting though.. It should be possible then :smile: I too was wondering if IR could be the case. Whats SFX?

    Bob.. I seem to have heard about this before. I will give it a go.

    Fschifano... If I do try this. should I look at the HP5 chart and develope as though it was 800 instead of 400? I might have misunderstood the meaning of the word "stop" ?

    Best regards

    Kim
     
  11. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    Exactly.