Shooting Film - Pyro Clarification And Notes
I have put a number of posts in the “shooting film” series. By a large margin the posts that have generated the most questions and correspondence have been the couple of films that I have posted so far that have been developed in pyro. If memory serves, I believe that the only two have been Ilford HP5 plus in PMK pyro and Kodak Plus-X also developed in PMK pyro. The Plus-X wasn’t even in the shooting film series - It was in the a random rant about “80% of what you read or hear is nonsense” post.
To answer a whole category of questions in one fell swoop - Yes I like pyro developers and have found PMK to be very consistent. Yes I do think that some pyro developers have some unique properties that act differently than other developers on a particular film. Yes I am will be glad to post some more films/pyro developer combinations. No I am not going to post specific development times/temps/agitations etc. Not because I am stingy, it just goes against my philosophy what is valuable and what is not. I will be glad to write a little bit more about some general findings regarding dilutions, etc.. If anyone is having an issue or has a very specific question regarding film development, email me and I will be glad to share specific experiences and opinions with you.
I guess I confused a lot of people with what appear to be contradictory posts regarding pyro based developers. In the post on Ilford HP5 plus and PMK pyro I said that the combination is one of my favorites and has some very special properties that make it useful and beautiful even though HP5 plus is not one of my favorite films overall. In fact it is not my favorite film for pyro development either. In the 80% of everything is nonsense post I used an example of two very different films in two very different developers, one being PMK pyro, both calibrated to show how similar the results were. Both sets of comments are absolutely true and completely independent. The point I was trying to make but came off looking like I did not thing PMK was worthwhile was that a lot of information and observations out there regarding a film/developer/etc. are anecdotal with no control over the variables. For instance person #1 uses film A and developer B, then tries something else completely. Different film, different developer, different scene, some random processing times/temps/methods and likes the result “better” than what he was getting before. Wow now there is some great and useful information (not). This is the kind of stuff that gets communicated most of the time. Even by professional photographers. Useless.
Hope that clears things up. Oh one other thing - Yes I shoot Tri-X, in fact Tri-X is probably my desert island film. I will get around to posting some experiences with it and some samples using various developers as well - that might take a few posts to the shooting film series.
On a final note just to reinforce that you need to try things on your own, make your own judgements. The images included in this post are probably one of the least likely combinations of film and film developer that you will find. I kind of remember a lot of people who “knew” what they were talking about recommending against it way back in the day. To be fair my first couple of tries and guesses were a disaster. I figured out what I thought went way wrong, made some corrections, tried again, lather, rinse, repeat. Long story short this is TMAX 3200P (TMZ) shot at ISO 3200 developed in PMK pyro. No shit.
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