Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beautiful weather in Valdosta - exploring Grand Bay and final T-Max 100 suggestions

Yesterday, after the rain had cleared, the weather in Valdosta was absolutely gorgeous. The temperature was just right, there wasn't much humidity, and all this on a Saturday I actually didn't have to work on! The only disappointment was a lack of clouds (despite the weather report predicting them all day).

I traversed deep into the hiking/hunting section of the Grand Bay WMA - turn right at the dead-end and you'll come to another parking area for this section, rather than the boardwalk area. I hiked the entire loop and snapped a roll and a half of photos.

For this outing a brought along the venerable Nikon F along with a 20mm f/2.8 AF lens, the 35mm f/2.8 Nikkor-S, my 55mm f/2.8 Micro AF, and finally the 105mm f/2.5 pre-AI (Gauss design) telephoto. All of these are small, relatively compact, and high-performing lenses. I will have to share a full review of the 35mm Nikkor-S lens soon, as I am consistently amazed what this little gem delivers - especially considering it's worth less than $50 on the used market (preview: it's the sharpest 35mm I own at typical taking apertures across the entire field).

Anyway - the important thing I want to emphasize is my final suggestions for using T-Max 100 film and T-Max developer in high dilutions (my article on this will be published by KEH on their blog late this month). I settled on a standard dilution of 1:25, with a suggested EI of about 40 or 50. I say suggested because it's clear that a stop or so deviation in either direction doesn't really affect it much, which is great news. This is of course for semi-stand development - 1 hour with agitation at the beginning and middle. For this strategy, the best way to use the film is simply meter your deepest shadows that you want to be open and full of detail and put them on Zone 3, and don't worry about the highlights. I suggest that in high-contrast scenes a dilution of 1:30 be used to exhaust the developer quicker and tame the highlights more, and for low-contrast scenes, a 1:20 dilution be used to expand slightly. But 1:25 will cover most brightness ranges up to 10-12 stops from my tests, making a somewhat flat negative that scans easily. Adjust curves to taste digitally.

Okay, that's it for the tech blabber, here's my favorite shots from the roll:




I hope the feeling of light came through with these. Stay tuned, as I still have some color rolls to develop today from the last few days.

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