Film choices for High contrast beach light?
Old 06-14-2018   #1
Ccoppola82
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Film choices for High contrast beach light?

Hello, wondering if I could get some opinions on some stock/developer combos. we just booked a vacation to Cape Cod in august. When I went last time I noticed the light was quite a bit harder than we have in Buffalo, NY. We have overcast, or a lot of moisture in the atmosphere even on clear days here. There, the light seems "cleaner" with deep blues in the eastern sky. If I'm at the beach, I'd like a BW stock as well as a color stock that can handle the hard contrast. I'm leaning towards fp4+ with some sort of compensating developer. Maybe divided d23, pyrocst hd min agitation, or some sorta stand developer.

For color, because the focus is more on the kids than the landscape, I was considering portra 160 or provia? I'm admittedly not well versed in color film, but the colors on cape cod beg for color film. Any input or advice would be fantastic. I'd like to make an order from BH or freestyle soon and test whatever stock I choose before I go.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 06-15-2018   #2
Larry H-L
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I think you are on the right track. A slow color negative film such as Portra is a good choice.

FP-4 is a beautiful film, if it is sunny bright expose it generously at 50-64 ISO, and develop gently. I'd probably start with a clip test at about 75% of the recommended development time. Dialing in your time to me is much more important than any fancy development techniques, especially if those techniques are new to you.

I'm not a big fan of reduced agitation with anything showing clear skies, too much of a chance of streaking. Reducing time is better, IMHO.
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Old 06-15-2018   #3
lynnb
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I take a lot of pictures in hard Aussie beach light at lat. 34deg. ... FP4+ is a good choice, as is Portra 160. Ektar 100 also works well, if you don't mind playing around in post processing to get the look you want (eg. slight desaturation).

If you prefer a bit more of a grainy look, APX100 in Rodinal is good, and if you want a sharper look, TMAX100 in TMAX dev.
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Old 06-15-2018   #4
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I may sound a bit heretic, but I use "fast" iso 400 b&w films (sometimes at iso 200) for high contrast scenes (this is mostly happening here in Greece) and "slow" iso 100 for winter/low contrast scenes.
Fast films have more contrast latitude especially when shot at 200, regardless the developer. A ND filter may be necessary but I prefer this solution than using iso 100 film with exotic developers for the same tonal result. A bit more grainy of course, but grain is good
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Old 06-15-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EliasK View Post
I may sound a bit heretic, but I use "fast" iso 400 b&w films (sometimes at iso 200) for high contrast scenes (this is mostly happening here in Greece) and "slow" iso 100 for winter/low contrast scenes.
Fast films have more contrast latitude especially when shot at 200, regardless the developer. A ND filter may be necessary but I prefer this solution than using iso 100 film with exotic developers for the same tonal result. A bit more grainy of course, but grain is good
This, I believe, is a good approach. And HP-5 has noticeably softer contrast. I've used it before to tame the light on bright days. Cutting the exposure index to 250 or200 and reducing development is a valid thing to do. But don't overdo it! I have photographed in Cape Cod on Velvia 100 with good results.

Consider also Eastman 5222/Double-X. It has a good latitude, with good overexposure tolerance.
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Old 06-15-2018   #6
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I also recommend FP4, and when you are on vacation just reserve the first roll for testing if you're concerned. Expose similar scenes to catch the light on the test roll and develop that one first, maybe clipped in sections for experimentation if that's your way. In a situation like this I would expose iso80 and reduce development time in Ilfosol3, one of Ilford's recommended developers.

For color I'd avoid Provia unless you really want slides. Portra 160 is great in conditions like this.
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Old 06-15-2018   #7
lynnb
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EliasK View Post
I may sound a bit heretic, but I use "fast" iso 400 b&w films (sometimes at iso 200) for high contrast scenes (this is mostly happening here in Greece) and "slow" iso 100 for winter/low contrast scenes.
Fast films have more contrast latitude especially when shot at 200, regardless the developer. A ND filter may be necessary but I prefer this solution than using iso 100 film with exotic developers for the same tonal result. A bit more grainy of course, but grain is good
Elias makes a good point. I recently discovered this by accident when I exposed a roll of HP5+ @iso100 and developed in XTOL 1+1 for iso100:


HP5+ @iso100 CV21/4 LTM


HP5+ @iso100 M-Rokkor 40/2

Comparisons

Two examples of APX100 in Rodinal 1+50





Pan F 100 in XTOL 1+1



Two taken with TMAX100 in XTOL 1+1


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Old 06-15-2018   #8
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FP4+ in XTOL 1+1


XA FP4+ XTOL 1+1

Ektar 100



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Old 06-15-2018   #9
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Wow awesome examples! I didn’t even think of hp5. That makes sense though, plus I could even use an orange or yellow filter to cut some speed even further. That APX100 looks fantastic as well. Definitely going to try that. For Color I think I’m gonna go with portra 160. Seems to be almost immune to overexpose.
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Old 06-15-2018   #10
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I've used every film I normally use for full sun beach: 1. Trix, 2. Fuji 200, 3. Kodak Gold 100.

TriX HC-110h by John Carter, on Flickr

Fuji 200 by John Carter, on Flickr

Kodak Gold 100 by John Carter, on Flickr

Personally, I think you should use something that you know and bone up on how to expose for f22 @ 1/ISO scenes.
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Old 06-15-2018   #11
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FP4+ is an excellent B&W film for the beach. I always find the contrast to be very well-behaved. I don't do anything special when I develop it; just D-76 1:1.

The suggestion to use HP5+ at 200 or even 100 is also a very good one. Pulling just about any film will work to your advantage here.

For color you won't go wrong with either Portra 160 or Ektar 100. They're both pretty forgiving. Agfacolor Vista 200 is also nice in high-contrast situations, but I'm not sure what its availability is anymore. Easy enough to find on the auction site but I'm not sure about legit vendors.
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