Can development help me to achieve 'this' without manipulation?

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by hique, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. I was able to achieve what I was looking for throught digital manipulation. The result is in the presented image. I wanted to know if it is possible to achieve this look by working with film development. The look would appear to be low key, with little shadow details and almost no highlight. I believe that Zone System proposal is to control this aspects (shadows, middle tones and highlights individualy) but I may be wrong. Can this be done with the the assistance of the Zone System, working mainly on development? I understand that the Zone System depends on the exposure also. I don't know if it would be possible, if it would depend on the Zone System or other resource, or if it can't be achieved at all. I hope somebody can enlighten me in this situation, even though the images are pretty dark :) Cheers.
  2. I think you can four ways; 1. overexpose
    2. High contrast Developer
    3. Graded paper
    4. Over develope
  3. Don't forget selective bleaching ala- Barnbaum. You could probably split grade print it also . Some people don't believe in split grade printing and some people do. I personally think that it is a great tool to have in you box when more standard techniques don't give you the result you are looking for.
  4. What exactly are you trying to do? Print it a bit flat and dark from a good negative? The image seems to have good shadow detail and the highlights aren't blocked up.
  5. Well, I want the negative to have this amount of shadows detail and this LACK of highlight areas. I don't know if it is a matter of printing or development. I would prefer if the negative would be already in this situation than to deal with printing and masking.

    I don't think overexposing alone would be a solution since the highlights would be too bright and I want the exact opposite; I want the highlights to be 'darkened' to a middle-gray/light-gray level.

    So. Zone System? Is it the answer?

    Can it be achieved with development techniques?
  6. The highlights aren't blocked up because there aren't any. I think using a faster film (ISO 400) developed normally, and flashing the paper a little could bring you something similar. By preflashing, you add a lot of exposure to the highlights, while only a little to the shadows. You have to experiment with the correct amount of flashing and main exposure. I'd try it with the room lights, or the enlarger without the negative carrier might be even better, as you can also control the aperture like that.
  7. >>I think you can four ways; 1. overexpose 2. High contrast Developer 3. Graded paper 4. Over develope

    Overdevelop? This is clearly a very low contrast image comprised almost entirely of shadows and midtones. Increasing development would increase desnity in the more highly-exposed areas, creating highlights where there were none previously. Not the sort of thing to duplicate the effect.

    But I do think paper can provide a solution. Printing down (more exposure) and a low number filter could help get the job done.

    In fact, Lowell, I'll save you the plug...

    I think Kentmere paper would be a nice fit for this sort of print! I do think it has a rich appearance when contrast is rather low.

    And you can get this paper most easily at FreeStyle.
  8. Lot of interesting suggestions and considerations. I will surely explore this options.

    But as I can notice, the options are all in the domain of printing technique. So I guess my assumption about the zone system is really wrong.

    Can't the Zone System be used to achieve the effect dealing with film development only? Like exposing normaly and extending or decreasing development time to get darker highlights?
  9. Through exposure and development of the negative, you can control the densities of two scene brightness values. Through exposure and development of the print, you can control the way two densities of the negative show on the print. These may or may not be the same points you set out to control when you exposed and developed the negative. Any othe values in the print will have to be controlled by manipulation.
  10. Over expose and under develop the negs that will give you lots of shadow detail but very little highlight brightness. If you would normaly shoot say TriX at EI 400 and develop in D76 1:1 for 9.5min then try TriX at 100 or 80 and develop for say 5 mins in D76 1:1 that will give you the low contrast negs that you seek. You could also try to print good negs on a low contrast grade of paper. Don't take my times literaly they are just to show how you would increase exposure and reduce development.
  11. "So I guess my assumption about the zone system is really wrong."

    since no one can give you a straight yes or no answer, no, your assumptions weren't wrong. The zone system can easily accomplish this.
  12. I think that unless you want exaggerated grain as part of the image that you might want to stick with films that have a known limitation of contrast range and then develop for those limitations. As such, slower films including Pan F and Tech Pan as well as the 100 speed tabular grained films can be used, and the suggestion to overexpose and then underdevelop seems like it could be part of the solution-- along with paper and paper developer choices-- you just have to decide WHICH shadows you want to have detail and which you will let fade into deeper black. These slower films should have the best qualities for what you want, the rest is experimentation to see which you personally prefer-- keeping in mind that the latitude of tabular silver film is a generally at least a bit less than "fat" silver films.

    Overdeveloping the prints will also add somberness to the image by deepening the blacks and fogging the highlights. This can be further controlled by additions to the paper developer, such as antifoggants which will either "warm" or "cool" the tones as well as reduce fogging.

  13. Great!

    Thanks you all for all the replys. I will look for access to some material to make some experimentation.

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