Pyrocat HD #2

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I tested the initial Pyrocat HD 2-bath technique I wrote about earlier (read here!) on a few rolls of exposed Kodak Tri-X I had already shot with. The results were quite interesting. The first surprising thing was the grain sharpness, that is, each individual grain seemed to have enhanced edge sharpness. The overall effect of this is increased overall sharpness of the image.

The second second noticeable effect is a light brown stain the developer added to the base of the film. This stain adds density and density in negatives is a good thing. Density means image information. By adding extra ‘free’ information, the stain fills in the gaps between tonal gradations making a smooth transition between tones. The overall effect of this is to create beautiful smooth highlights.

The third thing that was apparent, and confirmed when scanned, was how compressed the negative was. This means it developed a very flat (low contrast) negative. This wasn’t surprising because this developing technique was specifically created to always arrest the highlight development and forgo any need to alter development to adjust final contrast as is done with Zone based developing, which if you’re unsure of what that is, read my past article on it here. Having the same developing method no matter what the scene contrast it has it’s benefits. If there are multiple scenes on a single roll of film, a one-size-fits-all approach can be beneficial. But it’s the creative benefits I’m most interested in.

I’m going to continue to test this method for I can see the visual appeal, not just the practical appeal. If nothing else, it’s another tool in my bag to create that final image and print,, which is all the viewer sees anyway.

Scott MansfieldComment