HP5: Pushed, Pulled and Straight

Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@800, Ilfosol S
Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@800, Ilfosol S 1+14

Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@200, Tmax Dev
Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@200, Tmax Dev 1+9

Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@400,  Ilfosol S
Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@400, Ilfosol S 1+14

HP5 is plastic in the best sense of that word. If the digital camera manufacturers release some rogue virus that destroys every emulsion except for HP5, I could happily continue shooting B&W, but let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

BTW, you shouldn’t interpret that as meaning HP5 will be the only thing I’m shooting. I’ve souped my last roll of it for a while, and a pile of Delta 400 and TriX is waiting in the wings.

HP5 @ 200 + Ilfosol S

Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@200, Ilfosol S
Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@200, Ilfosol S
Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@200, Ilfosol S
Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@200, Ilfosol S

HP5 @ 200 in Ilfosol S for 5.5 minutes at 68 degrees looks something like Efke 400 with slightly better shadow detail. These took a bit more PS work to get here than HP5@200 in Tmax. The contrast was higher and the shadows fell apart easier. Hmm, interesting, but perhaps not a winning combination.

Scanning & Post-processing

City Hall, Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@320, Tmax Dev

City Hall, Columbus, IN | Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@320, Tmax Dev

Last week I wrote that I’m standardizing on one lens, one film, and one process until I learn something. The something to be learned is scanning and post-processing. I’ve always approached scanning like it was that part of the imaging chain represented by a cloud labeled magic. This approached demanded a processing regime geared towards producing low contrast negatives with well controlled highlights. For the most part it works, but I’m looking for improvements.
I chose HP5@320 in Tmax Dev at 68F for 6 mins because it’s produced some great photos for me, but it’s also resulted in some scans that were miserable failures. I’m hoping to trying to get the percentage of miserable failures downs and maybe make the great photos even better. Sticking to one lens is just for the sake on wanton asceticism.

With the film stock and process set, that leaves me free to experiment with various scanning and post processing techniques. I’ll be giving VueScan another look, and I’ll be investigating Colin’s work with ColorNeg. I’ll also be looking at improving my Photoshop skills (Did you know that the curves tool can be used to draw something other than an S curve; who’d have guessed?). Lightzone will also get another look, as I’m not sure that I approached it the right way initially. And if my old ScanDual IV happens to die anytime soon, I guess I’ll be looking at other scanners as well.

Garden Walkway, Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@320, Tmax Dev

Garden Walkway, Columbus, IN | Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5@320, Tmax Dev

When I’m done with all this, I might well go back to what I’ve been doing for the last couple of years, but I’m hoping I’ll have learned enough to deal with some of the problematic scans that come up on every roll. Along the way, it’s fairly likely that some of the images may not look quite right. I’m not quite starting over again, but it’s something near to that, so there’s likely to be some false starts. You’ve been warned.

Meyer May House, Detail (03910013)

MMHd, Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5, Diafine

This photo, the previous photo, and this one were all shot on HP5 rated at 800 and souped in Diafine. For a long time, Diafine was the only developer I used, often with TriX or Neopan 1600 (an oft overlooked combo). HP5 in Diafine looks a lot like TriX in Diafine but with one stop less speed. It’s an interesting look, and it’s dead simple to manage in processing and later on in scanning. With Diafine, highlights just don’t block up in the normal way, while shadows manage to retain some detail.