First posted 20 April 2009
I’ve just returned from a two week break in the West of Scotland shooting mainly 10×8 landscapes. I shot almost every day and now have a lot of sheets of film which need processing separately. I intend to use the two bath process as this gives me the most even development where there are large areas of even tone, such as skies.
When I first began processing 10×8 film in IDII, I was occasionally getting blotchy, uneven marks in the sky. The two bath process though longer, is superb for smooth tones and I have not found a high contrast situation yet where it couldn’t cope. When I need punchier images I either print on a hard grade from a two bath neg or, – (I hope you are sitting down) I occasionally process in Multigrade paper developer!
I know that many people are going to be horrified by that statement, but with such large negs, the grain increase is not noticable and the quality is actually really good. I will show some Images illustrating the differences in a later post.
When processing for salt printing or other alternative processes, the paper developer method is ideal. You get a bit more contrast and the slight grain increase is of no consequence with these processes. The only time I definitely wouldn’t use paper developer is in high contrast situations, as it tends to be quite vigorous.
I also took a 35mm kit with a few lenses and a digital compact with me on my trip. The 35mm didn’t get much use, but I did quite a bit on the compact. I used it for comparison shots to use in forthcoming magazine and blog articles and also to take pictures of what I could see on the focusing screen, as a sort of polaroid.