Cavendish: A Study in High Light.

High sun in June doesn’t offer the most flattering light. Straight up and down sun, with harsh contrast, and inky shadows conspire to make for difficult photos.

Last week, Paul Goewey and I waited at this rural grade crossing near Cavendish, Vermont for Vermont Rail System’s southward (eastward) freight 263. Slow orders and other delays resulted in a much longer than expected wait.

I had Fomapan 100 black & white film in the Leica 3A. I’ve been experimenting with this Czech-made film since October last year. Among its benefits is its exceptional ability to capture shadow detail.

To intensify this desirable characteristic, I processed the film with two-stage development. First I let the film soak at 68F in a water bath mixed with a drop of HC110 and Kodak Photoflo for about 3 minutes.

For the primary developer I used Ilford Perceptol Stock for 5 minutes 25 seconds at 69F with very gentle agitation every 60 seconds. Then stop bath, two bath fixer, 1st rinse, Permawash, 10 minute second rinse.

I scanned the negatives using an Epson Perfection V750 Pro flatbed scanner, then imported the negatives into Lightroom.

Ideally my chemical processing should yield negatives that don’t require work in post processing. But in this case I found I needed to make minor adjustments to contrast and exposure.

I’ve presented two examples; one is scaled but otherwise unaltered. The other has my exposure and contrast adjustments.

The unaltered image. This is scaled for internet presentation but not adjusted for contrast or exposure.
By making minor adjustments with Lightroom, I lightened the shadow areas to make better use of the detail captured by the film, softened the overall contrast, lowered the highlights, and used a digitally applied graduated filter to adjust highlights in the sky to make the clouds stand out better.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.

One thought on “Cavendish: A Study in High Light.”

  1. These wouldn’t be on “my favorite” list although I’m not the photography, even if though you weren’t asking for opinions. Much like noses, most folk have them. Just sayin’…..

    Is this the effect you were looking for? All of these photos seemed very grainy in certain areas like around the locomotive image (I thought it might be smoke) while the sky seemed clear or were they supposed to turn out that way?
    In fact, I thought it was snowing. The trees seemed to have snow on the branches but I’m pretty sure it has been 90ish in that area. Now I know what my friend who’s color blind sees?!

Comments are closed.