Home > for fun, PTC > Tri-x chronicles: Volume III

Tri-x chronicles: Volume III

Back from the dead like a resurrection it’s the Tri-x chronicles volume III.  If you haven’t been following then you need to back up to the beginning for the full story.  Basically I’m only shooting Tri-x for the year of 2011.  The idea is to unlock its dark secrets and report my findings to anyone who wants to know.  If you need to go back in time and catch up do that.  Right now the saga continues.

A couple of posts back I made a promise.  Now the time has come to make good on that.  One of the best cameras I have ever owned is my Leica M6.  When it’s paired with a 50mm f1.5 Summarit the results are always extraordinary.  I’m sure it has something to do with the age of the lens.  It was made in a time when lens manufacturing was an art.  Not just computer aided design and mass production but an individual literally putting a piece of themselves into the product.  As usual I’m getting a little of topic here so time to get back on track.  I loaded my camera jumped in my car and took off.

Before I tell you about my experience this time I thought I would give you some more background.  It occurred to me one day that some people reading this might not understand what I’m trying to do.  I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who have been shooting Tri-x from day one sometime in the seventies thinking, “so what, I’ve been shooting Tri-x for forty years.”  Well that’s not me.  I’m in my mid thirties and happily shot film until dslrs like the Nikon D70 became affordable for everyone.  After years of shooting digitally and working in the industry I felt like the craft of photography was imperiled.  You ‘ go out around town without some fuck with a D700 giving you a business card and claiming their a pro.  What a bunch of bullshit.  Anyway I decided it was time to, “buckle down,” as you O.G.’s would say and get back to the craft of photography.  And why not do it with dirty ass Tri-x.  Again way off topic but I thought it was important.

My biggest problem right now is lack of interesting subject matter.  I live in suburban winter hell and there’s not shit happening here so you get stuck with trees again.  The form of a skeletal tree is really appealing to me and in some ways great for monochromatic images so I don’t feel to bad about it.  I’ve been stand developing in Kodak HC110 with better results than previous attempts with agitation.  Again all of these images are out of camera except for the vignette.  That’s my next project.  No vignette for 2012.

In a couple of the images I noticed a very faint horizontal line at the top of the frame.  I’m guessing this is in the developing but I’m not %100.  If anyone has a guess pipe up and leave some comments.

There it is.  volume III.  Hope this helps you in your daily life.  I won’t be writing volume IV until the weather changes   can shoot something other than snow and tress so it might be a while.  In the meantime take your camera out and push the button.  Stop measurbating to resolution charts and dp review.  And for fucks sake stay away from the zooms.  Oh yeah, Tri-x is starting to grow on me.  I must be getting old.

Big Juicy Kris

Categories: for fun, PTC Tags: , , ,
  1. March 3, 2011 at 2:53 am

    I’m at work, so the “Sonic Wall” crap filters out anything Flickr (Social Site?) hench- the red x’s for me.

    I’ll be home in a while (Like Pink Floyd says- Tear down the Wall!) so I can check out the pic’s.

  2. March 3, 2011 at 3:01 am

    Damn- forgot to add what I initially wanted to add!

    I did a post about the “Winter Doldrums” on my Blog:


    I decided to use the “down time” to prepare and “make ready” the necessary stuff for when the “SNIRT” (my daughters work for NYC Snow/Dirt) melts and the sun comes out.

  3. Chris
    March 3, 2011 at 6:48 am

    I’m sorry, but I honestly don’t know how in the world you are getting such grainy pictures. I use Tri-X a lot, and I have NEVER gotten grain like that before. But then, I actually develop darkroom prints, I don’t scan the negatives. So could it maybe be something going on with your scanner? Here’s a picture I took with Tri-X recently. Remember, this is actually a “2nd generation” image since first I developed a print, then I scanned the print to post it online.

    Tracks at the Mormon Rocks

    If you can’t go to the link, let me know and I’ll see if I can upload it on Photobucket or maybe email it to you. You should be getting MUCH sharper pictures with Tri-X than the examples you posted. True, Tri-X is a little bit more grainy than a 100 or 200 ISO film, but it shouldn’t be THAT grainy!

    Also, I’m probably around the same age as you. I’m only 33. And I just learned how to develop my own film and prints a couple of years ago. If I can do it and get sharp pictures, then anyone can.

    • March 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm

      chris, whats your secret. your not old and your sample looked real nice. i’m using hc110 which is a much better “push” developer although i haven’t pushed tri-x yet. i suspect tri-x at 1600 in hc110 would be less grainy. you have inspired me to pick up a different developer to compare so thanks for that.

      • Chris
        March 4, 2011 at 8:03 am

        Hi, I read my post again and I just realized I came off sounding kinda rude. I’m sorry, I didn’t really mean that. I was just surprised that you were having trouble with Tri-X. I have never had the problems with grain that you’re getting.

        But anyway, I’m not really doing anything unusual. I shoot it at the box rating (400 ISO) and I develop it with D-76. You really don’t want to push the film because that will make it even more grainy.

        The only thing I can think of for what might be causing your problems with grain is that something could be going on with your scanner and maybe it’s not set up right or something. Like I said, I make darkroom prints and I’ve been able to enlarge my negatives from Tri-X a LOT and they still look sharp.

        The other possibility is maybe you could be overdeveloping? I remember one time I mixed up film developer wrong (I mis-read the water ratio) and it over developed the film. The negatives were really dense, and when I tried to develop pictures from them, they came out pretty grainy.

        But I’m thinking that the problem is probably more likely your scanner. If you have any negatives that you don’t care too much about, maybe you could send them to me and I’d be happy to try making darkroom prints from them. Maybe we could narrow down the problem a little bit and see whether it’s your scanner or something actually going on with your negatives.

  4. March 5, 2011 at 2:41 am

    Hi Kris,

    I really like your tri-x project and beautiful images created in your process. I too think there is lots to learn by sticking to a film to best understand its inherent qualities. Nice job… Nice undertaking… …and I appreciate the documentation.

    To my mind, however, I do think you’ve muddied the waters of your experiment using the Holga (one of my fave cameras for sure). …adds too much stochasticity if your objective is to hone in on the qualities of a film type. It’s just so wonky in how it produces end product. Your move to the Leica truly makes sense.

    Having said all of this, I do think you are coming to wrong conclusions in regards to Kodak Tri-X film and wonder if your grain problem is in function of your development process. I state this more based on anecdote than from experience; however, you might want to take a look results from others to compare to. Check out Zeb Andrew’s photostream on Flickr to see super results using Tri-X. Note that Zeb’s appears to be a tech at a camera shop in Oregon (i.e., Blue Moon Camera) and is clearly very adept with a camera, film and chemicals.

    A search on his stream using keyword “Tri-X”: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=tri-x&w=12355556%40N00

    Also, Ian Land almost exclusively uses Kodak Tri-X: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianland/. In fact, I feel that his stream show that the film is quite flexible via extensive pushing and pulling. Just brilliant photography using this film…

    My thoughts would be to have another set of eyes look at your development protocol to see if there is something there. You may be too close at this point and not see the obvious, you know? …and/or have a lab or a friend process an exposed roll for you to compare to. Just a couple of ideas…

    In terms of the grain in your images, I find it agreeable. True, I, too, would not all results to have such structure, but it’s really nice here, in particular with the Holga.

    It’s surely provocative to claim that Kodak Tri-X sucks (I get where you are going.); but I don’t believe it’s random that this film has been around so long. Once more, look at all of the great art created using this base. My 2 ¢ for whatever that is worth to you… Again, nice job with this fun stuff… Keep it up!


  5. Stephen Godfrey
    March 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I guess I am on the other side where I quite like the grain you are getting. It would be nice to hear exactly how you are developing. I have been developing with Rodinal and XTOL at 20 degreeC. I get some more grain with Rodinal in comparison to XTOL.

    • March 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm

      thanks for your comments all. i’ll document my development process in the next volume.

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