if you are afraid of grain, do not look.

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91118 3200TMY R4M 25F4 Seattle 024 copyIt is Saturday morning. The skies are cloudy, with occasional showers. My camera is loaded with Kodak Tmax P3200 film. The camera I have is the Voigtlander R4M, with the 25mm F4 attached. I am going to zone focus. I set the distance between 4 and 5 feet and set the aperture to F11. I can tweak the settings if the need arises. My shutter speeds will be from 1/500th to1/2000th of a second. I walk the streets and just frame the situation as need be. I use the viewfinder for most of the shots. The results: 1. Because of using a wide-angle lens with a small aperture almost everything is in focus. 2. I look for stories but most of the time nothing is happening. I want to shoot the whole roll, so I shoot mainly street portraits. 3. Grain. Lots of Grain. I developed the roll in Rodinal (1:25 for 8 minutes @20C). Rodinal is good for sharpness but for that reason, it may enhance the grain.

I think next time I will use Ilford HP5+ and push it 2 stops to 1600. The grain in the Tmax is perhaps a bit too distracting.

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4 Replies to “if you are afraid of grain, do not look.”

  1. Thanks for taking these shots and sharing them Steven! Many aren’t brave or crazy enough to shoot P3200 in daylight, considering it only a low light necessity. However, it’s my approach to use grain as a stylistic element, texturizing smooth surfaces, emphasizing shape, smudging detail, creating, ideally, gravity.

    I usually use HC110b which is also a high acutance developer but I think a little crisper than Rodinal. A friend processed some of my work in Rodinal but my midtones were not as “rocky” as yours. My highlights are more punchy and clean, similar to your first and final shots here which I really like! Some of your images look underexposed. I’m surprised by how flat the second shot is for example.

    I have had, what I consider, good experience shooting this film in broad daylight. I think it loves contrast. With HC110b and levels adjustment, I get that black asphalt, grey gravel and bright white that I am looking for. This is an easier look to get out of Ilford Delta 3200. P3200 has more midway which I’m enjoying for concerts that are professionally lit.

    Admittedly though, for portraits, I do struggle a bit with controlling the amount of grain on faces if the face is not slightly overexposed and while I look for light cast on a face in a natural light portrait, the quality of that light isn’t always perfect to clean up the grain.

    Anyway, thanks again for shooting and posting, really enjoyed this! I’ll be posting some P3200 shots soon too, keep an eye out!


    1. Exposure is always a problem with the way I shoot. Things change in a moment. I also am going to use Delta 3200 next time to see how things work. Nothing is perfect and there will always be successes and failures but that is why it is so exciting to be on the street. There are no guarantees.

      Liked by 1 person

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