View Full Version : HELP! HP5 4 stops over, need processing advice!

Michael Filler
23-Jul-2009, 14:14

I was doing a shoot this morning, nudes on the beach, with some lovely young models, and got about halfway through and decided then to do a couple of fuji-roids for their scrap book. It was then I discovered that I had overexposed the film by like 4 stops! I know if I process normal (for me that is in straight D76 for 8 minutes) I will have totally blocked up negatives. I really want to seperate the highest tones (I thought I was 1.5 stops under) and had planned to push the film to get better seperation in that region of the curve.

If anybody out there has a suggestion(s) on how to save these negatives I would be eternally grateful. I was thinking of doing water bath, a short dip and dunk, maybe a split process with a real weak D76 for 5 minutes followed by a kick at the end in straight for 30 seconds, or some other technique. I also have Microphen in my lab (a pretty hot speed developer) and was thinking maybe that would work if I use it for 30 seconds and then soak undesturbed in water for 5 minutes or something like that.

I shot like 60 sheets of 4x5 before I got wise, so I have lots of opportunity to try various approaches. Fortunately I figured it out before I burned through all the film (I shot an additional 75 sheets after I got a correct exposure on the fujiroid).

Also, I use a Pentax Spotmeter V, and checked the battery voltage with the little B button, and it was in range. Any ideas why the meter would have been so far off? I had the right ASA setting, and am just at a complete loss.

A little common sense would have gone a long way here. I should know better, after shooting for 40 years. The old "fun sun, f16, time = ASA" should have told me to shoot at 1/200th or so at f16. I was shooting at 1/15th at f16. OUCH!!

Thanks everyone in advance.

23-Jul-2009, 14:28
I did something similar with PanF+ roll film. I had NO way to experiment. Called for drastic measures.

Rodinal. 1:100. Normal agitation for the first 5 minutes. No agitation for 55 minutes. It worked better than I had a right to expect.

Since then I have come to believe that 1:200 and very gentle agitation for the first minute. Say 20 inversions in 1 minute. Then let sit for 2 hours.

Somewhere between the two approaches lies the answer.

You won't waste more than 2 sheets.

23-Jul-2009, 14:34
Interesting things happen to film when you massively overexpose. You actually get a reduction in contrast. You may actually get usable results, though the effects will be kind of strange in terms of the usual ratios of light to dark. I suggest you experiment a lot. You may get a usable result with normal development - though it will require a very long exposure in the enlarger. It may then make sense to reduce development and increase agitation to get better contrast. But I won't make any predictions.

Michael Filler
23-Jul-2009, 14:35
Thanks. Really, two hours! I guess without agitation the developer gets locally depleated. I'll give it a try. When this is all done I'll post the results of all the methods. It should be a valuable lesson for us all to remember some common sense.

23-Jul-2009, 14:36
Well at least you'll have plenty of detail in the shadows. :)
Pyrocat HD is a developer that would help keep the highlights from blocking up on you.

Michael Filler
23-Jul-2009, 14:39
Thanks. I'll try that method as well. With enough sheets shot incorrectly hopefully I can salvage something of this. The two women were beautiful and we had a great shoot at the beach, so if I can save one or two I am happy.

Ken Lee
23-Jul-2009, 14:44
Wait until you get all the feedback.

Over-expose some other negatives, and try your recommended techniques on them first.

Get an InfraRed viewing device (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/index.html#Monocular), and watch your film as it develops. Development by Inspection is always a good idea, but even more helpful when things go awry. Learn how a normal negative looks first. Then, you'll be able to judge when development is over.

Ron Marshall
23-Jul-2009, 15:21
As Ken recommended, since these are important negs, overexpose a few test sheets and try them with a few different development regimes.

24-Jul-2009, 10:24
I'm still trying to get my hear around the idea of shooting 135 sheets of 4x5 in one day....:eek:

24-Jul-2009, 10:36
I run HP5+ shot at ISO 50 in Microdol-X 1:1 for 9 1/2 minutes @ 68 with minimal agitation for the second half of the development time. Works great for extreme contrast scenes.

24-Jul-2009, 11:03
I'm still trying to get my hear around the idea of shooting 135 sheets of 4x5 in one day....:eek:

I can understand the volume of film. It's the naked women I can't understand. :eek:

Ken Lee
24-Jul-2009, 12:11
Fortunately, HP5+ has no "shoulder", so the film itself won't lose detail in the high values. You only need to figure out how much less development is appropriate. Skin tones, present in each image, will make this fairly easy.

If you have the time, go back the same location - when the time of day and lighting conditions are the same - and shoot 5 identical (over-exposed) test shots of human subjects. Make sure to get skin in the picture.

Make sure that the dilution and temperature of the developer, are such that the development time is at least 10 minutes.

Develop one sheet for the normal time (100%), another for 90%, another for 80%, another for 70%, another for 60%.

Follow your usual procedure for printing each one, either via a scan of the negative or a contact print made for the black film edge. It will become readily apparent, which development time is appropriate. You can always adjust development time +/- 5% to get the best results.

A long cable release will let you shoot yourself if you need to. :rolleyes:


Michael Filler
24-Jul-2009, 13:21
Thanks to all for the various suggestions. I think I have enough to go on now and will start trying methods.

I'll attach samples late next week when I should have a good idea of what worked.

I shoot a large number of sheets because a) I'm trying to catch some spontaneous moments of laughter (they were telling each other jokes the whole time); and I was there for several hours (I got very burned, as I'm "strawberry blonde").

I shoot a lot of dance on LF, and so have lots of holders. It is nice to have the freedom. I still set up like I'm shooting 1 sheet, doing the schleimflug thing, etc. as necessary, but will often shoot 20 sheets per setup and then re set the models and go through all the LF composition/plane of focus, optimal depth, etc. I have very good models that are also photographers, so they understand the need to spend five minutes getting things right, and for them to stay in frame and in plane.

The images are along the lines of Jock Sturges' work, but with a lot of laughter thrown in.

David Karp
24-Jul-2009, 13:27

Since you are going to experiment, another thing that might work is a two bath developer like Vestal's divided D76. There will be little development in the A bath because of the lack of an accelerator, and having only 50g/L of Sodium Sulfite in that bath. The B bath has only Borax and 50g/L of Sodium Sulfite. The developer will exhaust first in the highlights, and once all the developer is done, there is none to continue developing the negative.

This might be worth trying.

24-Jul-2009, 19:42
Some developers are speed losing where your film loses a stop or two. I gather some glycin developers fall into this category. If you use a developer that loses two stops, your film would only act two stops overexposed, relatively easy to deal with using reduced developing times. You might have a less compressed contrast range.

28-Jul-2009, 12:50
I'm still trying to get my hear around the idea of shooting 135 sheets of 4x5 in one day....:eek:

Motor Drive of course! :D

Ken Lee
28-Jul-2009, 12:58
So... How did it go ?

Inquiring minds want to know :cool:

Michael Filler
28-Jul-2009, 13:37
Well first we developed 36 sheets that were presumed OK, shot after I had run a fujiroid. Those were fine. Then we shortened the development of the ones shot way over, first (down from 8 mins) at 7, 6 and 5 minutes. All in straight D76. All yielded usable negatives, but 6 minutes seemed the best. In the end it all turned out OK, with excellent details in the shadows, yet still retained detail in the white sand. I am one lucky puppy. Scans to follow later this week.

Kirk Gittings
28-Jul-2009, 13:39
with excellent details in the shadows

I'll bet!