August 17, A Test of Contrast

I love very high contrast photographs, I think that’s no secret. I love photographs with a wide tonal range as well, but there is a special place in my heart for very high contrast photos.

When I first got my old Kodak Hawkeye No. 2 folder, I was stunned by the super high contrast images that I got with my first roll of Rollei RPX 25. I know, trying a new film out as a way to test a new camera is probably not all that smart, but I never claimed to be a rocket scientist.

When subsequent rolls of RPX came out high contrast, but not that high contrast, I began to wonder why? Probably everyone is aware that when you start with an underexposed image and overdevelop it, the usual result is a very high contrast image. I guess I didn’t realize that’s what I had done with my first roll of RPX. I do recall the negatives being a little thin, and that’s about as much thought as I gave to it.

Today was a mostly cloudy, hazy day, it even drizzled a little earlier. I thought this might be a good day to see if I could intentionally get the super high contrast images that I’d gotten from that first roll of RPX.

My reasoning was that if I used the same aperture that I got with more normal exposures on a sunny day, I would get somewhat underexposed images on a cloudy day like today. Of course I could have stopped down the aperture, but I wanted to attempt to be a little bit scientific so I thought reducing the number of variables might be a good idea.

I used the same developer that I had used the first time I shot the Hawkeye Cinestill Df96 monobath, but I extended the development time just a little (about a minute), and it worked! I got super high contrast images again!

I’ve recently gone to scanning everything medium format with my flatbed scanner that’s not made to scan negatives, so I just place an artist’s light tablet over the negatives before I scan. This works pretty well. Today it finally dawned on me that I could control the brightness of the tablet and thus also have another means of controlling the contrast of my scans. Doh! Of course it took me forever to figure it out. Good thing it wasn’t a snake.

So to make a too long story not much longer, I wound up with two sets of scans from this roll. Today I’m posting a couple of the very high contrast scans, tomorrow (although I have to work late) I hope to post the less ultra high contrast scans. Whew! It seems like it took writing a book to explain this. Thanks for reading if you got this far!

Shaun’s. I wasn’t kidding when I said these were high contrast!
Apartment Side
Blue House Peak

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