Tim Layton Fine ArtTim Layton Fine Art

B&W Analog Film For Photographing Wild Horses

Ice Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim LaytonIce Princess 30x40 Silver Gelatin Fine Art Wild Horse Print by Tim Layton If you have been following me any length of time, then you already know that I specialize in black and white wild horse handmade prints in the darkroom. 

You can connect with me on my YouTube Channel and watch my latest wild horse darkroom videos and be part of the behind the scenes story with the wild horses via my Free Wild Horse Journal

Since the natural light varies greatly while photographing wild horses in their environment, I use a few different black and white films and developers based on the conditions of that specific time and my creative intentions. 

I photograph the Wild Horses of Shannon County, Missouri primarily using my Nikon F6 SLR camera and the Nikon F100 as my secondary/backup camera or my Nikon D4S if I need digital images.  I tend to shoot longer glass on the F6 and keep normal to a wider lens on the second camera for environmental types of images. 

Join Tim Layton on YouTubeJoin Tim Layton on YouTube I use Tri-X when I know I need to push the film to EI 3200 or even higher or when there is a lot of mixed lighting in the scene. 

I typically favor HP5 when I have a lot of contrast and less desirable light because this film helps tame down the contrast of the white horses in less desirable lighting conditions. 

I like to use T-Max 400 when I am working in optimal lower lighting conditions which are typical for early mornings, late evenings, and on cloudy days because this film at EI 250 has very little grain and is extremely sharp. If I know that I will be using a hybrid workflow, then T-Max is my film of choice. 

In the sections below, I list my personal development times for each film. I should note that after my development time is completed, I then follow my standard stop bath for 30 seconds, fixer (typically 10 min), and full wash in running water for 30 minutes. I then agitate the final film in Photo-flo for 1 minute before hanging it to dry overnight.  I don't call these steps out in the notes below because it would be too repetitive.

I then cut the film and place it in my archival storage sleeves where I document the date, time, film, and development method used.  I like to make a contact sheet on RC pearl paper and place this along with the film in my archival storage binder.   

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B&W WILD HORSE FILM DEVELOPMENT

Tri-X 400 (Forgiving in Mixed Lighting - Pushes Well With Stand Dev)

** Always use distilled water when mixing developer

Regular development times in HC-110(B) 1:31 dilution

Regular Development in Jobo CPE-2 Unit at Speed 1 (slower speed)

All development temperatures at 20C/68F

MIXING INSTRUCTIONS

Developer to Distilled Water Dilutions

300mm = 9ml dev + 291ml water (Dilution B 1:31)

500ml = 16ml dev + 484ml water (Dilution B 1:31)

JOBO ROTARY DEVELOPMENT TIMES

EI 200 - 5.5 min
EI 400 - 7.5 min
EI 800 - 8.5 min
EI 1600 - 16 min


TRI-X 400 STAND & SEMI-STAND DEVELOPMENT TIMES

I like to use a bigger tank to ensure you have enough volume of active developer in the tank with the film. I like to use a tank that will hold 1000ml, which ensures that 10ml of the developer is active, but the absolute mininum developer in the tank should be at least 5 ml which means you need a 500 ml tank.

As a general rule, you can use a double tank for a single roll of film and place the empty spool in the tank on the bottom. 

This semi-stand process is typically better with slower films like T-Max 100, FP4 125, etc., and for faster films like Tri-X, T-Max 400, HP5 the grain is much more noticeable, but I usually find it very acceptable.   

I have tested T-Max 100 at EI 50, EI 100, EI 200, and EI 400 and I found the normal film speed holds true and prints well at grades 2 or 2 1/2.  I would not hesitate to use T-Max 100 at EI 200 with a faster F2.8 lens for example in certain conditions.

HC-110 1+100 Semi-Stand at EI 200-400

MIX DEVELOPER

500 ml = 5 ml dev into 500 ml distilled water

1000 ml = 10 ml dev into 1000 ml distilled water

DEVELOP FILM

Pour into 2 reel tank, and slowly and gently invert for first 30 seconds

Set timer and let stand for 3 minutes, then slowly invert twice and tap on table to dislodge bubbles

Repeat every 3 minutes until 30 minutes

then stop, fix, and wash as usual

NOTES: You need to check the development of your negatives because your style and requirements maybe different than mine.  The 30 minutes that I use should either be perfect for you, or get you very close. 


Tri-X in HC-110 Stand Development (Push)

EI 1600 1+100 50 min
**Presoak in distilled water for 1 min
Continuous agitation first 1 min, 
then 10 seconds every 10 min until dev time is complete

EI 3200 1+100 120 min
**Presoak in distilled water for 1 min
Continuous agitation first 1 min, 
then 1 gentle inversion every 10 min until dev time is complete

EI 6400 Dilution B (1+31) 30 min
**Presoak in distilled water for 1 min
Continuous agitation first 1 min, 
then 2 gentle inversions every 10 min until dev time is complete

Tri-X in Rodinal Stand Development 

EI 1600 1+100 90 min
**Presoak in distilled water for 1 min
Continuous agitation first 1 min, 
then every 30 min for 10 seconds until dev time is complete

EI 3200 1+100 120 min 
Presoak in distilled water for 1 min
Continuous agitation first 1 min, 
then every 30 min for 10 seconds until dev time is complete

EI 6400 1+80 150 min Semi-Stand
**Presoak in distilled water for 1 min
Continuous agitation first 1 min, 
then leave undisturbed for remaining 149 min

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Tim Layton with Nikon F6 Film SLR - www.timlaytonfineart.comTim Layton with Nikon F6 Film SLR - www.timlaytonfineart.com Stand Development Test # 1: Rodinal 1:100 for 2 hours. I agitated for the first minute very gently and then let it stand for 30 minutes.  Then I did a very gentle agitation for 15 seconds every 30 minutes until two hours elapsed. Then normal stop, fixer, and wash.  I think pushing Tri-X and using the Rodinal stand development creates better-looking prints with less grain than Delta 3200 or Kodak P-3200.  While testing in your environment, I suggest bracketing your exposures and figuring out what works best for your creative vision. You will find the more accurate your exposure, the less grain you will have.  This is why it is important to take good notes during your exposure and development, so you can figure out what works best for you. 

NOTE: pushing film inherently creates more contrast and as you push more stops, the more difficult your management of contrast and grain becomes.  Pay close attention to your lighting conditions and try and relate this to your images. The high contrast look is part of my creative style with the white wild horses.

Also, white areas, in my case, the white cases can appear to "glow".  This is a halo effect that can happen when you push your film like this and use stand development.  This is more noticeable when using stand development with higher speed films like Tri-X, HP5, etc. I like this look and embrace it as part of my signature for my wild horse fine art silver gelatin prints.  In theory, you can typically tame this by using a semi-stand development process or using slower speed films.  In my case, I need the higher EI ratings to help me in poor lighting conditions.   

Tri-X is a classic grain film that has been around since the 1950's.  It was used extensively by the media industry because it is very forgiving with over-exposure errors.  You will have to decide if you like the grain in your prints or not.  You will either love it or hate it most likely.  I think a lot will depend on your genre and subject matter.  

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STAND & SEMI-STAND TESTING TIPS

One way to get a lot of mileage out of your testing process is to use very similar exposed film.  I like to take a 24 exposure roll and use my F6 to expose all 24 exposures in just 3 seconds (8 frames per second).  This way, the exposures should all be the same and then I cut the film into smaller strips in the dark tent and then use different development methods to figure out what I like the best. 

You can also mix and match films in your stand development tank too.  For example, you can stand develop your Tri-X and HP5 at the same time. 

Keep in mind, you need a minimum amount of developers in your developing solution.  I would not use less than 5ml of Rodinal per 500ml of distilled water.  I would encourage you to try different dilutions ranging from 5ml to 10ml in this example.  Even if you only need 300ml of developer for your tank, mix up 500ml and discard the 200ml of the developer. 

Be prepared for dense negatives.  It is usual for a stand-developed film to be bulletproof (thick). 

Review your developed negatives closely, and you may see a variation in density on one side versus the other when stand developing.  I always shoot a little wider than necessary to do some cropping during printing if this happens. 

I have a Jobo TPE-20 tempering bath to hold my water bath at 20C.  This can help minimize any "strange" issues that may arise, like bromide drag.  You don't need a fancy tempering bath like mine.  You can get laboratory water bath units off eBay for cheap that also work great. 

If you are getting strange issues with your stand development, try a different agitation method. 

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T-Max 400 (lower contrast lighting)

** Always use distilled water when mixing developer

Development Times in HC-110(B) 1:31 dilution

Developed in Jobo CPE-2 Unit at Speed 1 (slower speed)

MIXING INSTRUCTIONS

300mm = 9ml dev + 291ml water 

500ml = 16ml dev + 484ml water

JOBO DEVELOPMENT TIMES

EI 400 - 5.5 min to 6 min based on lighting conditions and contrast desired 
EI 800 - 5.5 to 6 min based on lighting conditions and contrast desired 
EI 1600 - 7.5 to 8 min based on light conditions and contrast desired

T-Max provides excellent tonal separation with virtually no toe or shoulder in the H&D curve, providing a straight-line response from end to end. 

I find yellows to render a little lighter than classic grain films like Tri-X and blues a bit darker. 

It is almost like using a light yellow filter without using a filter.  This has to do with the custom dyes in the film.

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HP5 (for higher contrast lighting) 

** Always use distilled water when mixing developer

Development Times in HC-110(B) 1:31 dilution

Developed in Jobo CPE-2 Unit at Speed 1 (slower speed)

MIXING INSTRUCTIONS

300mm = 9ml dev + 291ml water 

500ml = 16ml dev + 484ml water

JOBO DEVELOPMENT TIMES

EI 200 - 8 min Dil H (1:63) @ 21C

EI 200 - 5 min Dil B (1:31) @ 20C (testing this now)

EI 400 - 5 min Dil B (1:31) @ 20C

EI 800 - 7.5 min DIl B (1:31) @ 20C

EI 1600 - 11 min DIl B (1:31) @ 20C
 

I love the rendering of HP5 with white horses in particular.  It can help lower the contrast when the light is not ideal with the white horses.   
HC-110 PDF
Unofficial HC-110 Resource Page

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FP4 (for greater detail/sharpness in good light) 

** Always use distilled water when mixing developer

Development Times in HC-110(B) 1:31 dilution

Developed in Jobo CPE-2 Unit at Speed 1 (slower speed)

MIXING INSTRUCTIONS

300mm = 9ml dev + 291ml water 

500ml = 16ml dev + 484ml water

JOBO DEVELOPMENT TIMES
EI 100 - 7 min Dil B (1:31) @ 21C

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STAND/SEMI-STAND DEV AT NORMAL EI RATINGS 

Rodinal Developer 
Bret Weston liked Rodinal 
Dilute 1+100 at 20C (10ml + 990ml to make 1000ml of dilute developer).  
Pour slowly into a double tank with a single roll of film and slowly invert for 30 seconds and tap to dislodge any bubbles.
Wait 30 min and very slowly invert twice and tap
Wait another 30 min and at the end of the hour, do the routine stop, fix, hypo clear, and wash as usual. 

Notes:
Use a bigger tank to ensure you have enough volume of active developer.  
Typically use a double tank for a single roll of film and place the empty spool in the tank on the bottom. 
I like to use a tank that will hold 1000ml, which ensures that 10ml of the developer is active. 
Typically suitable for slower speed films. 
For faster film like Tri-X, T-Max 400, HP5 the grain is much more noticable. 

Tested T-Max 100 at 50, 100, 200, 400. Found the normal film speed holds true and prints well at grades 2 or  2 1/2. 

For second test, tried HC-110 
Ansel used HC-110 

5ml into 1000ml of water 
Pour into 2 reel tank, and slowly invert for 30 seconds
Wait for 20 minutes, slowly invert twice and tap 
Wait another 25 minutes, then stop, fix, and wash as usual. 

Notes:
This test was for 45 min.  Can also try other times like 60 min, etc. 


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