Which B&W film stock for a lush, eerie place?
Old 04-24-2018   #1
karateisland
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Which B&W film stock for a lush, eerie place?

I need a film stock for a specific place. Here's the rub.

My girlfriend's family goes to a house in the Adirondacks every year, deep, deep in the woods. The house has a ton of history, having served as part of a resort during the area's heyday, the visitor's quarters for a TB sanitorium, and a dorm for a religious order. This last chapter--where it serves as a quiet, eerie vacation spot, all alone on a lake--is coming to a close soon when NY State terminates all of its leases in the park and knocks down the buildings. As such, the house is in a state of some disrepair.

My visits to this house have coincided with my growing interest in photography, so I've made a longterm project out of documenting this place. Each year, I've returned with a different camera, and this year I'll be bringing my Rolleiflex.

I'd like to photograph the place with a 120 B&W film stock that will help me emphasize the lush, eerie feel. For what it's worth, I like rich mid tones and inky blacks.

I know it's a tall order, but does anyone here have a suggestion? I've only really shot Tri-X and HP5, so my experience with film stocks and developers is limited.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-24-2018   #2
narsuitus
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I looked back through my notes and here are the films that I liked for the subject matter:

Ilford Pan F+
Kodak Plus X
Ilford HP5 (ISO 400)

I do not know if all are still available.
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Old 04-24-2018   #3
gdi
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For eerie, maybe try one of the near IR films, like Rollei 400IR or maybe Ilford's SFX, but you'll need filtration to get the IR effect. I have gotten a beautiful, low contrast vintage look with Arista EDU, which is rebranded Foma, I am told. With your Rollei you'll get a nice look with just about any film.
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Old 04-24-2018   #4
sreed2006
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A Google search for black and white film comparisons might be helpful.

I found this one some time back. I was surprised at the differences between the films. https://www.thephoblographer.com/201...400-iso-films/
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Old 04-24-2018   #5
mpaniagua
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I would go for either an infrared film like Rollei Infrared 400 (eerie mood) or Ilford FP4+ for a classic mood film.

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Old 04-24-2018   #6
gdi
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Here are a couple of Rollei IR - but with an R72 filter, which may be a problem with you rolleiflex.



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Old 04-24-2018   #7
karateisland
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I think I could manage the filter with the fotodiox filter attachment for the Rollei (steps it up to a 43mm filter).
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Old 04-24-2018   #8
retinax
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How about a yellow or light green filter? It spreads out the greens over a longer tonal range by making the bluer greens darker.
Rich mid tones seems to be something that everyone defines differently and inky blacks are easily done by printing them down or setting the black point accordingly. I'd suggest you go with a film you know and that has enough speed, forests can be very dark.

Oh and the ultimate eerie feel for me would be with a pinhole camera, something to consider?
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Old 04-24-2018   #9
karateisland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
How about a yellow or light green filter? It spreads out the greens over a longer tonal range by making the bluer greens darker.
Rich mid tones seems to be something that everyone defines differently and inky blacks are easily done by printing them down or setting the black point accordingly. I'd suggest you go with a film you know and that has enough speed, forests can be very dark.

Oh and the ultimate eerie feel for me would be with a pinhole camera, something to consider?
This is excellent advice. I can darken as necessary when I process my scans, and I hadn't really considered filters, or even a pinhole. Perhaps a toy camera could be a good option, too. (Especially since one of my inspirations for this series is Sally Mann.)

Since it shouldn't be ALL darkness (there will be some sunlight), maybe it's best to bring my usual Tri-X alongside a slow film. Pan-F looks wonderful, and I'd love to try some infrared. Looks like I have some experimenting to do!
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Old 04-25-2018   #10
Pentode
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Experimenting never hurt anyone! (Not with B&W film, anyway!)

It's unlikely you'll do wrong with your Tri-X. It's a great film for what you're describing.

You may also find Foma 200 or 100 well suited for the task. While harder to find, Orwo N74 is a really rich-looking film that reminds me a lot of old-formula Tri-X.

Rollei Retro 400s, with it's extended red sensitivity could also get you nice results with an orange or red filter.

Yup.... time for some experimenting!
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Old 04-25-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pentode View Post
Experimenting never hurt anyone! (Not with B&W film, anyway!)

It's unlikely you'll do wrong with your Tri-X. It's a great film for what you're describing.

You may also find Foma 200 or 100 well suited for the task. While harder to find, Orwo N74 is a really rich-looking film that reminds me a lot of old-formula Tri-X.

Rollei Retro 400s, with it's extended red sensitivity could also get you nice results with an orange or red filter.

Yup.... time for some experimenting!
Thank you for the suggestions! I hadn't been able to articulate it before, but richness is what I'm looking for--I want the photographs I take to look romantic, and maybe a little haunted. Tall order, for sure. (And you're very right that Tri-X probably won't go wrong--from what I've seen, there's not much that Tri-X in a Rolleiflex can't handle with grace).
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Old 04-25-2018   #12
jim_jm
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I've been happy with similar results on Tri-X. Here's one in 35mm at an abandoned prison in Idaho:

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Old 04-25-2018   #13
bayernfan
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I think Acros 100 pushed to 200 or 400 would deliver some inky blacks while retaining a healthy amount of midtones.

A sample I found on Flickr:



FP4 can also pull it off, more Flickr samples (not my images):



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Old 04-25-2018   #14
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I like SFX with no people in the photo, and the eerie effect:

Untitled by John Carter, on Flickr

And Tmax100 for its very long tonal range, which is good for many shades for green.

img783 by John Carter, on Flickr

If you use either of these films or for that matter any film, you should find the development scheme and if filtration is used. I used a red filter on the first shot with my Rolleiflex.
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Old 04-25-2018   #15
lawrence
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sreed2006 View Post
A Google search for black and white film comparisons might be helpful.

I found this one some time back. I was surprised at the differences between the films. https://www.thephoblographer.com/201...400-iso-films/
I looked at the video but don't agree with his methodology at all:
  • To compare these films the results should be adjusted to give, as near as possible, the same contrast.
  • Rodinal is in my view a specialist developer and tends not to work well with Ilford films. A standard developer like D76 would have given a more realistic comparison.
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Old 04-25-2018   #16
rfaspen
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I don't know if its the best film for the project, but someone over on the Trio site is selling a stash of 120 size Technical Pan, frozen since new.

I remember playing with Tech Pan back in the day. Nail the exposure, and the developing, and daaaang! Rich tonality and no grain.

For me in general, eerie places that include buildings (or human-built structures) seem to want rich tonality in the darker tones. Films that give that? APX 25 certainly did. Silvermax is not available in 120
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Old 04-25-2018   #17
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Forgot to mention TMax 100. Seems like it would work well.

Sorry I have no ready examples of APX (25 or 100) -- that would be somewhere among the many binders of negatives.

But for TMax 100,
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Old 04-25-2018   #18
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I also like TMax 100 and 400, nice tonality and fine grain. This one is 400.

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Old 04-25-2018   #19
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Any black and white film can accomplish your goals. It is not about the film; it is about the light, and how you expose for it.
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Old 04-25-2018   #20
karateisland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
Any black and white film can accomplish your goals. It is not about the film; it is about the light, and how you expose for it.
True. Wanted to know what the forum-goers like for this kind of subject matter, and it looks like everyone has a favorite stock or two. Plus, and it's helpful to see what each film is capable of.
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