On the importance of taking notes

The next stage in ‘getting ready’ is to dial in the required development times. Looking back at previous photographs, I can see I did have this spot on but, being the copious note taker, my records are a little ‘unclear’ on the exact timings I used.

In truth, I don’t think I ever recorded them – oops! It’s worth remembering at this point that I’m a trained scientist and exact notes are the cornerstone of our practice.

My first test shot of Joann and Daughter 1 was overdeveloped resulting in excessive contrast in the negative. This took a little work to bring back under control in the scanned image but I’m not happy with it. Typically, just as I took the shot, Daisy (that’s the dog) decided to jump up and start eating grass taking her partly out of the frame – never work with kids and animals!

Jo, Bel, and most of Daisy. Fomapan-100, Pyrocat-HD 16 mins @ 20 degrees

The second shot was then developed at half the time of the first image and the contrast in the negative is much better; a simple levels layer adjust from the raw scan actually resulted in more pleasing range of grey tones. A little tweaking with a curves layer was then done for finer contrast control.

Jo with tree trunk outgrowth – Fomapan 100, Pyrocat-HD, 8:30 @ 20 degrees

The images on this page is showing darker than on my calibrated monitor but hopefully you can see the improved contrast above.

Whilst far improved, I’m tempted to try another shot with a small increase in development time to around 10 mins.

I’ve already taken the portraits of a couple of neighbours and holding off developing these until I’m done testing – more on those photos later.

Both images also needed a little spot removal in Photoshop – one of the challenges with large format film is dust and it seems I have work to do to stop it getting onto the film sheets.


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