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09-29-2008, 09:53 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by lithos Quote
It's the whole Group f64 and Zone System philosophy I can't stand, really. Control everything to the nth degree; only then may you press the shutter. Photography for accountants and actuaries. You know Group f64 outlawed filters, right?

Whether or not someone who's a fan of Ansel Adams can objectively judge my version of Adams' Photograph of Californian Mountain Number 1 457 213 is another matter .

Which brings me to my next point...shooting the same stuff as Adams would require me to somehow make it across the Pacific. Did he ever leave North America to shoot?

Well, it's just that when you place too much emphasis on technique, then the subject doesn't matter. Maybe that's why Ansel got away with a million interchangeable prints that have no narrative in them. Perhaps it's a lack of empathy on my part, in being able to see how carrying a goddamn checklist you must fill out every time you set up a shot:

Have you:

* Stopped the lens all the way down?
* Made sure your tripod's steady?
* Metered the dark shadows, the slightly less dark shadows, the shadows, the dark midtones, the midtones, the light midtones, the dark highlights, the highlights, the very bright highlights, plus the other two tonal areas you'll need to make this a total of eleven meterings?
* Have you wasted enough of this film to know how it looks with all the above meterings?


I'm not sure Ansel had to pay many bills, as his family was one of those New England blue-bloods.

I'm not sure "doing what everyone has done before" is something I'd be content with.

For a photog from this time, give me Frank Hurley - a man whose guts were only dwarfed by the size of his balls. If Ansel ever dived into a ship's sunken hold lying in freezing Antactic waters to retrieve his photographic plates, well, maybe the dude wasn't so bad after all. Not likely, considering if he lost a shot of a cliff face, he could always go back the next day.


I have to grin, particularly regarding the part of about being on the wrong side of the Pacific! I have a couple of Adam's books and what I took away from them was the importance of seeing the image in the mind's eye before attempting to render it to silver. It is not so much the capture as it is finding some way to coerce the film to see what you see. I guess that is where the technical part comes in. Then there is the issue of equipment. Ponderous gear tends to lead to ponderous process.

I for one lack the discipline to follow Adam's lead, though I do admire his results. I can't see myself dedicating a full shooting session to a particular development regimen or lugging an 8x10 view camera over 12,000' passes. My approach is closer to that of the totally bohemian and fairly haphazard Edward Weston.

Steve

(BTW...the Adams family fortunes were pretty much wiped out in the Panic of 1907...little or no "old money"...)

09-29-2008, 11:17 AM   #17
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Aye. His stuff's good to take under advisement. I just get a little riled when people post a photo for critique and say stuff like, "Do you think Ansel would've shot something like this?" Interpretation: I wanna be Ansel Adams! Forge your own path. When one person has the same style as someone famous, who do you think everyone's gonna remember? Same goes for Cartier-Bresson (The Man Who Sold A Million Leicas. So help me gods, if I hear one more person say "HCB used a Leica and so I got one"....arrrrgh!)

Basically, aping one bloke's style (or worse, gear) isn't something to aspire to. Granted, there's a very fine line between being inspired, and being uncreative. Although there are no solid lines in art (only ******s.) I guess I see "using the Zone System like Ansel" as the same as "I used a 35mm Summicron just like (insert photog's name) here" as if it's some sort of qualifier.

Besides, Ansel and Henri: they're dead.
09-29-2008, 12:04 PM   #18
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When it comes to checklists, when you're shooting with a view camera, the checklist is a great way you don't forget an important step. Pulling the darkslide with the shutter open is not a very fun mistake.

Regardless of style, I got a roll of Tmax 400 and Pro-x 125 and hope to have some pictures to show off later this week.
10-02-2008, 11:24 PM   #19
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Pro-x 125 appears to be some sort of dirtbike, clawhammer ...

To paraphrase Lowell, pushing film produces something no digital sensor can ever hope to do.

And to sort of visually quote Lowell, here's Tri-X pushed three stops, through the f1.2 50, in straight D-76:



10-03-2008, 03:35 AM   #20
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Control-freak everything is normally not possible with 35mm film, snce you have 24/36 exposures and some maybe controlled some may not.

I tried to follow AA advise but decided to settle in a more relaxed approach, shoot knowing that results will not be perfect, develop in a compensating developer (I give a &^%% about grain) and then print to match my mood (prints in different days are always different )

I used to shoot APX100 and develop in D76 clones, FG7, Rodinal, etc. with low agitation and increased dilutiuon.
Ilford HP and FP films were also my stand by-s and a few rolls of Kodak, Orwo, Fuji, Forte, etc showed up from time to time, I can not say I got brilliant results all the time but I got printable stuff and even got into some exhibits.
10-03-2008, 09:23 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
I tried to follow AA advise but decided to settle in a more relaxed approach, shoot knowing that results will not be perfect, develop in a compensating developer (I give a &^%% about grain) and then print to match my mood (prints in different days are always different )

I used to shoot APX100 and develop in D76 clones, FG7, Rodinal, etc. with low agitation and increased dilutiuon.
Ilford HP and FP films were also my stand by-s and a few rolls of Kodak, Orwo, Fuji, Forte, etc showed up from time to time, I can not say I got brilliant results all the time but I got printable stuff and even got into some exhibits.
That was always my approach (back in the day). I am considering getting back into B&W film, but am totally at a loss with the modern materials. I used to shoot Panatomix-X processed in FG7 1:15. I really like FG7 and since it is still available, I am curious as to whether anyone has any experience using it with modern emulsions? Any suggestions as to a good match?

Steve
10-06-2008, 04:23 AM   #22
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I used FG7 for the last time in 2001, with APX100 and FP4 it was brilliant, HP5 had nice tonality but needed some overexposure.

I think, however, that Ilford DDX and Xtol are really a step forward from such developer, specially for the Delta/Tmaxes/Neopans
Give them a try.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That was always my approach (back in the day). I am considering getting back into B&W film, but am totally at a loss with the modern materials. I used to shoot Panatomix-X processed in FG7 1:15. I really like FG7 and since it is still available, I am curious as to whether anyone has any experience using it with modern emulsions? Any suggestions as to a good match?

Steve
10-06-2008, 05:03 AM   #23
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I want to try these exotic devs, but there's nowhere to get them down here. I would even know where to get the raw chemicals for them. I shudder to think what'd happen if I started snooping around for them.

I'm trying to track down some DDX, but I'm not sure what I'd do if I found some; it's about $45 a bottle.

I've just devved some HP5+ at box speed in HC-110. Now, to wait for the results!

10-06-2008, 09:51 AM   #24
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My film should be dry enough now to scan. I'm eager to see how it turned out. I wasn't too pleased with the results from when I last used my HC-110, but I'm keeping an open mind.

I think I got one of the last 1-litre packets of D-76 in Australia, when I bought some last year. Now, it only comes in Yank gallons. So, to save it going off as it does when you store it for a while, I only mix it in one litre batches. You need 109 grams of powder to make a litre.

The HP5+ in HC-110 looks...alright. Satisfactory. Not bad. Acceptable.
10-15-2008, 08:47 PM   #25
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+1 for Ilford HP5

developed in ID-11

Pushed to ISO 1600





10-15-2008, 10:00 PM   #26
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were you the wedding photographer? and did you use only film? that'd take guyts
last photo is neat, looks like a T-S lens
10-19-2008, 06:52 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by sawtooth235 Quote
Clawhammer,

If you want fine grain you might want to steer towards Plus-X with an ASA rating of 125. It isn't as contrasty as 400 ASA Tri-X, but the grain is much tighter. Ilford FP4 Plus is also a good choice if tight grain is your goal. HP5 Plus is the Tri-X equivalent in the Ilford family. If yu can find it the Ilford Delta films come in 100, 400 and 3200 ASA.
I'm also looking for some B&W film to use for Architecture shooting. I guess it should be fine grained, for high resolution. I saw the Clark vision site :
Clarkvision: Film versus Digital Summary

where he was mentioning Tech Pan and TMX. I don't know about them, or if they can still be bought. But I guess I should be using Iso 100 or slower.


Great photos Lithos, and fun discussion. I've lately tried out Tri-X and been very impressed. I haven't bumped it up yet, though.
I love the third shot. Could you tell more about the film used ? What does T-grain film mean ?
10-20-2008, 12:35 AM   #28
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Sadly, Kodak don't make Tech Pan anymore. It was an insanely high-resolution film - had an "extended red sensitivity" which made it very sensitive to certain strains of near-infrared light some stars give out. Astrophotographer loved it. I think it was designed as a surveillance film. Recon film for aircraft. The bulk of the demand died for it when most militaries switched to digital.

So what the three major film companies did is tried to give us our cakes and let us eat 'em, too.

In 1983, Kodak created T-grain film. Initially they trialled it in their disc film cameras, which had negs about the same size as Minox negs. Tiny - about 8x11mm. T-grain film was handy for creating decently sized and grain-free prints from such a tiny negative. To get a 6x4" print from an 8x11mm negative (sorry for mixing measurements!) requires it to be enlarged 170 times. To get a 6x4 print from a 35mm neg requires only an enlargement factor of 17.

You've got two kinds of film. Cubic grain - Tri-X, HP5+, Plus-X, FP4+, Pan-F+ - and T-grain (or whatever the manufacturer calls it) - Kodak's Tmax series, Ilford's Delta Series, Fuji's Neopan.

The difference is in how the silver crystals are laid out on the emulsion.

Cubic-grained crystals are chunks of silver halide, of widely varying sizes, shapes and distribution. These are the grain in film.

T-grained crystals are more like slabs of silver halide. The "T" in T-grain stands for "tabular" - flat. Like...well, like a table. They're "grown" across the the emulsion, where as cubic-grain is what naturally occurs if you slather emulsion on anything. T-grains are more evenly sized and distributed. More importantly, they're flatter - a T-grain of a given size will capture more light than a cubic grain of the same size.

Thing of cubic-grain films as a gravel driveway, and T-grain films as a paved driveway.

So what Kodak could do with T-grain is make films that are as sensitive as, say, a 400 ISO film with crystals as big as the ones in a 200 ISO film (those are just examples, and not accurate.)

So with T-grain you get finer grain, and better sharpness, because the crystals fit togerther better.

However, there are advantages to cubic-grain film as well. If you take a look at some of Fuji's Super CCD technology, they mix large photosites with small ones, for increased dynamic range. They've actually gone backwards - because this is what decades old cubic-grain technology does. By accident, I suppose.

Because the crystals in cubic-grain film are of widely varying sizes, they've got more latitude. The small crystals can pick up bright highlights, and the larger crystals can pick up more shadow detail. You probably won't notice that, though. What you will notice is what Kodak says in its Tech Pub for Tri-X:

Because of [Tri-X's] exposure latitude, you can underexpose by one stop and use normal processing times.

The extra light-grabbing ability of Tri-X film means you can gain one stop of speed without any push-processing. You can underexpose.* I've heard people say you also get a longer tonal scale, because cubic-grains can pick up a wider range of light intensities - but that's just thing I put down as "personality" of a particular film. It's a bit more versatile.

T-grain, for whatever reason (one probably being to prevent brand confusion) is known by different names. Of course, Kodak calls it T-grain. Ilford calls it Delta, Fuji calls Sigma Crystal Technology and Super Uniform Fine-GrainTechnology (which no doubt sounds cooler and less clumsy in Japanese).

Now, Tri-X. Tri-X is one of the greatest pieces of artistic equipment to ever be created in the US in 1954 (the other being the Fender Stratocaster ), and was one of the first true high-speed and acceptably fine-grained black and white films; certainly, it became the most popular. Probably, most black and white shots from the Vietnam war were done on Tri-X. Well, it's what Eddie Adams used to capture the shot of the South Vietnamese general summarily executing the Vietcong insurgent. A lot of photo agencies had Tri-X as there stock film, along with Kodachrome and Ektachrome (which Tim Page used to trade for C4, apparently).

It's known for its "pop": its contrast, which is why I love it. Done right, it produces solid, none-more blacks, which is one of the main reasons to shoot film over digital - digital just doesn't seem to be that solid.

Tri-X's latitude is fantastic, and very, very handy. Only getting a shutter speed of 1/30 with a 50mm lens? Change it to 1/60 and you'll be fine.

But pushing it turns into very contrast, very crisp film. The shadows deepen, the midtones nearly disappear. The highlight brighten.

Keep in mind that Tri-X was born to be developed in D-76.

By no means is it a sharp film, not by today's standards. TMY (Tmax 400) claims to be the sharpest 400 ISO film out there, and that may be true, but I couldn't care less. I've never liked Tmax films - they're expensive. And more importantly, the tone seems...awful. Most every Tmax shot I've seen is muddy, dusty. Its spectral response curve seems to show that it's less sensitive to red light than Tri-X, which means skintones are rendered darker. Some shots seem so dusty, I get the urge to sneeze.

I use Ilford Delta or Fuji Neopan, instead, for T-grain film. Fuji Neopan 400 is just beautiful, and definitely my favourite.

But try Tmax, by all means. Try everything.

Anything else you need, Johnson, just ask!

*Interestingly, it's probably the opposite for Tri-X's nearest competitor, Ilford HP5+. HP was marketed, in the beginning, as a 200 ISO film, for no other reason than that light meters of the day weren't that accurate, and 200 ISO meant it had enough leeway for over- and underexposure. In the sixties Ilford simply changed the box speed (literally, just the box speed - the speed printed on the box) to 400 ISO, as they felt light meters had become accurate enough to nail the exposure. So HP5+ can probably handle one stop of underexposure as Tri-X can handle one of overexposure. Unless they changed the emulsion, which is likely.
10-20-2008, 06:44 AM   #29
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Neither here nor there maybe, but here's a quick example of the the use of Tri-X in historically important shots.

I was at Bill Eppridge's presentation last night about photographing the RFK 1966-68 presidential campaign and assassination; one of my friends took the picture linked above.
10-20-2008, 10:21 AM   #30
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Wow Lithos -- thanks for the education. I knew a lot about the qualities of modern B&W film in general terms, but why & how. THANKS!
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