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Tuesday, October 25

Two-bath compensation

Here's a good example of the two-bath's* ability to hold detail in the highlights. Shooting straight into the sun can be a tricky problem as it's very difficult to stop blowing out the light source whilst retaining some detail in the shadows. Some film/developer combinations would have burned the highlights out but this Tri-X/two-bath effort did a good job. There's enough detail in the darker tones that I could have made it a little lighter but this lower key rendering has more drama to it. Like the pic in the previous post, this one was scanned on my Epson flatbed and had little done in Photoshop other than a levels adjustment and a slight darkening of the sky.

It was taken on Sunday with my Rolleiflex 2.8F, hand held, and with the focus on the wet sand highlight in the foreground. I love the old Rollei and have severe misgivings about taking it to the beach. Not long after this shot I felt a grating coming from the lens mount as I focused. The camera was just serviced a month or two back and I'm hoping it was no more than a tiny bit of sand that has since fallen out. It seemed to to have gone away by the end of the day. Of course, it might just have been crushed into a fine powder and spread around the guts of the camera...

I think I'll put an old and inexpensive 35mm outfit together just for forays like this. Fixing old Rolleis isn't a cheap business!

* The formula can be found at the bottom of the "Getting a good negative" article just below the header.


Anonymous said...

beautiful glow!

Bob said...

I'm going to have to try your 2 bath recipe. I'm partial to divided D76, and it works quite well for similar scenes - or just plain keeping highlights in check.

I really like your blog -- good stuff.



Thanks Bob. If you do give it a try please let me know how it goes for you. The only things you have to watch out for are uneven development and a lack of contrast if the original scene itself is flat. If you're troubled by uneven development than try a few inversions halfway through the second bath. Other than that you should be OK.

Efrain BG said...

Hi, Bruce!

I read your article about getting a better negative before and after a few re-reads about the two-bath development explanation (the one where you explain about exhausting the chemicals that actually develop the highlights) an idea got stuck in my mind... now that I read the comments on this post I realize it's not a new idea (as per Bob's comment)

I was wondering about using two different concentrations (dilutions) of the same developer and/or using different agitation schemes. Is it possible that the two different concentrations do the trick? has anyone tried it?

Is it too crazy (or dumb) to think the same developer will work differently on highlights/shadows on different concentarions? What about using two different developers (one that favors the highlights and another for the shadows)?

If you were to try this, what would be the logic behind it? would you use the "thicker" soup first or last? In the case of different developers, which one would you use first?