Suggestion for beginners: start with D76, skip the monobath

Started 7 months ago | Discussions thread
OP Kelvin L Regular Member • Posts: 444
Re: Why?

Steven Seven wrote:

Even after a ton of curve tweaking, it's basically pitch-black plus a bunch of grey. I hate this look:

HP5+ in DD-X stock

Hi Steven, I think that overall your photo looks pretty good and is what I would expect from this scenario. It’s a very high contrast setting, taken in full sunlight with a high sun. Some of the ‘flatness’ you dislike is probably subject-related, rather than processing-related (flat textureless ground and sky).

Ansel Adams might consider this situation an ‘N minus 2’ scenario whereby you open up the dynamic range of the film approximately 2 ‘zones’ by exposing a bit more, then holding back on your final development time. Then you might bring out a bit more shadow detail (the extra exposure) without that foreground guy’s white sweater and sneakers turning solid white (the silver isn’t depositing as much due to slower development).

My understanding is that DD-X is a high energy developer that was initially designed for push processing Delta, but functions reasonably well as a general purpose developer. This however might make it less suitable for contrast control (compensating) development, as it’s so active. I haven’t tried this personally, but you could try DD-X in higher dilutions to see if this does the trick, but Perceptol, HC110, or Rodinal in high dilution might be better.

HP5 isn’t a contrasty film, it’s very similar to Tri-X and will deal with extreme contrast well.

”Expose for the shadows, develop for the highlights”

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