I decided to photograph Fremantle Bridge Pipes as a film test subject to experiment with film speed and contrast.
Film tests can be time-consuming. Generally bore me to tears, but every now and then they are a necessary evil. So to make it a little more interesting I tried to find some local subject matter that had some visual appeal.
Fremantle Bridge Pipes is quite industrial and not my regular subject matter, but was quite suitable for the test I had in mind. I found the silvery curve of the pipes created an intriguing juxtaposition against the background of formal straight lines.
The scene is high in contrast, from the deep shadows under the bridge to the brightness of the sunlit wall. To retain the bright detail in the far left wall I cut the development so that I did not have to perform darkroom gymnastics to obtain detail in the final print.
Normally with such a cut to development, I would increase the exposure to compensate for film speed loss, but I didn’t do this in this case. On inspection of the contact proof, the negative still held plenty of printable shadow detail, however in making the print it looked better when I printed these low values down further.
Footnote: I explain more fully how I determine a film’s speed or ISO rating to be exposed at, and how to achieve normal development in How to test Film speed without densitometer.