Unexpected Results: My Third Experiment with Retropan.

It was a misty January day. I thought, what better time to expose another roll of Foma Retropan 320 black & white film!

I was working with four cameras that day, so these images were just a small portion of my day’s results, but for me by far the most interesting. I was feeling nostalgic and the atmosphere of the moment seemed to lend itself to classic black & white.

The day after I exposed my film, I processed it. Where previously, I’d hand processed Retropan in Paterson tanks, for this roll I used the Jobo (a semi-automatic processing machine).

The Jobo eases processing by keeping all chemistry at a consistent temperature, taking care of agitation by continuously rotating the processing-drum, while simplifying pouring the chemicals in and out of the drum. Also, it makes more efficient use of the chemistry.

With the hand-processed rolls, I had used Retro Special Developer straight (undiluted stock solution) with a 3 minutes 30 second development time. Prior to introducing the primary developer, I pre-soaked in a water bath with a drop of HC110.

For the Jobo-processed roll, I diluted Retro Special Developer 1:1 with water and increased the time to 4 minutes. I also had a pre-bath with a drop of HC110, but like the main developer, this was agitated continuously.

My results were not as I expected.

Misty tracks on the old Rutland near Arlington, Vermont. Exposed on Retropan 320 using a Nikon F3 with f1.8 105mm lens.

My earlier experiments with Retropan demonstrated a fine grain film with broad tonality. But this roll had much coarser grain, and yet even smoother tones. At first, I was shocked by the more intensive grain, but in retrospect I’ve decided it adds a quality to the photos that I may not have obtained through other media.

Exposed on Retropan 320 using a Nikon F3 with f1.4 50mm lens.
Exposed on Retropan 320 using a Nikon F3 with f1.4 50mm lens.
Exposed on Retropan 320 using a Nikon F3 with f1.4 50mm lens.
Exposed on Retropan 320 using a Nikon F3 with f1.4 50mm lens.

For my next experiments, I’ll return to hand-processing and I may skip the presoak bath with HC110.

Tracking the Light examines photography daily




3 comments on “Unexpected Results: My Third Experiment with Retropan.

  1. I like the graininess of the signal tower and the general effect of the bridge shot. Maybe I’ll get my SLR out of mothballs…

  2. Brian Jennison on said:

    Looks like you had a miasma, emanating from a morass…

  3. Michael Walsh on said:

    It’s fascinating to learn how many variables interpose between the image as recorded and the final print. Very technical!

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