Favorite gray day films

Discussion in 'Black and White' started by tripanfal, Jun 23, 2008.

  1. What is your favorite "gray, cloudy day" film / developer combo? Mostly portrait. I'm thinking PanF with a flash for
    fill, but it may be a bit slow. Any favorites / examples out there?
  2. Definitely b/w film, cloudy skies look dull on color film. I personally don't mind a grainy look in b/w film, many times I pushed Ilford HP-5 or Tri-X 400 film to 1600 just to get that grainy and high-contrast look (I did not generally develop/print myself). Considering the PanF choice, I assume you are not looking for a grainy look though :)
    Unless the sky is fully white, I always like the effect of a red filter on a cloudy day, enhancing the contrast of the clouds and the sky itself. You might not like the white-ish look of the skin, though.
  3. TMY-2 EI 640/ 510-Pyro. This combination allows me to shoot handheld in low light and get brilliant, fine grained negatives to print. In fact, TMY-2/510-Pyro does just about everything I need.
  4. Nothing special really, and my favorite film depends upon how much light I have to work with. On particularly heavily overcast days, usually found during the winter months around these parts, I'm usually forced into using faster films like Tri-X. I rate it at box speed and add just a bit more development time to boost the middle and high values a bit to keep things from looking too flat. If the day is overcast, but not particularly dark, then a 100 - 125 speed film will work. Again, maybe I'll add a bit more development to boost contrast. This isn't usually necessary with slower films which generally have a steeper contrast curve than faster films. Good judgment developed from experience will tell you what to do. Filters don't do a thing for blank skies, Unless there is a specific reason for using them, I don't.
  5. Jay, I was also thinking TMY-2. I have some PMK Pyro. I'll have to try out that combo.
  6. Hi Christopher.

    TMY-2 and PMK should be a good combination, but I'd recommend you shoot at Box speed because PMK loses about 1/2 stop, so the slight push should boost the local contrast in the midtones enough for good separation. If you print on VC papers, there are some issues you should be aware of; issues that might frustrate your efforts to get brilliant negatives from flat light. If you print on graded paper no such issues exist. Good luck.
  7. HP5+ at 800 in Diafine.
  8. I am a "use one film, learn to use it anywhere, anytime" guy. My "one film" is Neopan 400. But one can use any film if they really learn how it works in various developers and various times. I shoot it at high noon with no clouds, on grey overcast days, and at night.

    It sure is nice not to ever have the "wrong film" with you or loaded in the camera.
  9. Neopan 400 & yellow filter. Adox ATM49 developer.
  10. Christopher,

    I agree with you - PanF+ is superb on an overcast day.

    Here is an example developed in Ilfotec-DD:


    No flash was used in either photo.

    and another developed in Rodinal 1:50

    http://www.photo.net/photo/3712100 (in this one the clouds were sporadic - one moment sunshine, the next overcast.)
  11. It's obvious you are a roll film user, and Pan F is one of my favorite films in rolls-- I wish it was available
    in sheets as well. Other good choices would be any of the Efke films since they tend to be a bit contrasty and
    thus good choices for cloudy days, and FP-4 is also a fine choice in my opinion but not as good as Pan F unless
    you need some extra speed. Keep in mind that since your lighting is flat that you will want to either give the
    film a bit of push or use a contrasty film/developer combination. Pan F film is a great start.

    Rodinal is a great choice for developer so long as you aren't in need of softer grain (it will give very sharp
    grain), and since since excess contrast is not an issue, using it at 1:25 or 1:50 is the best way to go. If you
    use any other developer, such as HC-110, D-76, XTOL, etc., avoid the higher dilutions for the same reasons-- as
    you dilute, there is inevitably some compensating effect and that is not an issue for cloudy days, especially if
    you use "fill flash". As I have noted in other threads, I like the liquid developers, and would recommend having
    at least Rodinal and either HC-110 or another long lasting liquid developer in your darkroom.

    HC-110 is a good
    choice for FP-4 if you decide to use that since at it's moderate dilutions it will only slightly soften the grain
    and still provide good sharpness as you punch up the contrast of the film (try shooting at E.I. 200 and develop
    in Dilution B to begin with, but if the resulting grain is too soft for your tastes then you'll have to
    experiment with higher dilutions such as Dilution D, E or even H-- see
    http://www.covingtoninnovations.com/hc110/ for some useful HC-110 guidelines). Because of HC-110's resulting
    contrast curve, you shouldn't have to worry about either the highlights blocking up or the shadows losing detail,
    and erring on the side of bit of overexposure will ensure more shadow detail if that is important.
  12. Interesting notes by DF Cardwell about Edwal 12. In particular, see his post about what he does on sunny days, cloudy days, etc.

  13. After years of experimenting with various films and developers, I'm content to use only a small handful of films and developers and adjust the exposure and development techniques to suit the exposure conditions.

    Pan F+ is a good film but didn't offer anything for my taste that TMX wasn't already doing better.
  14. I've found that I really like Plus-X rated at E.I. 200 developed in HC110 dil. B. I add 30 seconds to the time I use for box speed. Just a bit more contrast, but not so much that if the sun comes out that I would have a problem. Might go to one half grade less Polycontrast filter when printing the ones taken in sunlight.
  15. I like Tri-X in Rodinal, EI 250, on a gray day. We have a lot of those in Oregon.
  16. Thanks a lot for all the great info. I think I 'll shoot some PanF in 35mm and I have a few rolls of hp5 I'll shoot for Larry and soup in Diafine. :)

    I also need to try some TMY-2, I'm seeing some nice stuff out there.
  17. PlusX at 64 in HC-110h.
  18. Hey Bob:

    Nice Print,
    Can you post a link where to get pencils or whatnot you did that with?

  19. I'm with you, Lex.

    For shadowless light in color print film, I prefer Fujicolor 200, under expose one stop, pursh process one stop. For chrome under those conditions, Velvia, normal exposure and normal process.


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