- have these photos in front of you or the scans on screen in front of you
- stand up (make sure chair is clear of body)
- close your eyes (NOT NOW )
- turn 180 degrees
- think and believe this : 'i have never seen a photograph in my life. i've never taken a photo in my life. i don't have a son. i've never seen a beautiful child in my life. i am alone'.
- open your eyes
- turn to the prints or screen
what is the first thing that you notice? your vertical lines are leaning. you foresaw the shot enough to include them as an internal frame, but they are leaning.
the expressions you captured are priceless. you did a fine job keeping an environmental/portrait photo uncluttered; not easy to do. it's good stuff that you posted. if that is indeed your son, he's quite the 'heart breaker' and these photos will bring joy and laughs for time to come (oooooooooooooh, i know this).
two things as mentioned: if you only ever want 4x5 prints, 400 speed is fine. the operative word is 'ever'. that's a mighty long time. if you shoot 100, you can enlarge 'til you are content and have some nice wall hangin' memories. also, tmax is.....eh. ya know what? do this: go to the same location and shoot ilford xp2. you see the white zones in the photos? see how they are just 'white' and don't have much texture? xp2 is much more controlled with white areas. shoot a roll of xp2; if you aren't happy, hell, i'll send you a roll of your choice. keep in mind that xp2 has to be developed at your local one hour lab (processed the same as color). the prints will come out with a nasty sepia tone as the film is truly meant to be printed on b&w paper. if you can't then have the negs printed on such paper, then shoot kodak tcn which goes through the same process, but prints fine on the paper from labs.
Not hard to catch that expression on his face ! He's almost always in trouble.
Thanks to all for the tips. I have wanted to try the Ilford XP2, have heard great things about it, but it's hard to find locally, and I'm waiting until I can have a big enough order to justify the extra shipping cost from B&H. The 400 was the only pro B&W in stock when the bug hit me to try some b&w.
Motcon, I have tried some C41 process b&w film before, and I always get a greenish cast. I wonder if sending them off to a 2-day lab, and requesting special printing on b&w paper would correct that?
In the USA Kodak has three C-41 B&W films. T400CM & Portra 400BW are marketed as pro films. IMO these should be printed on B&W paper for the best results. The third one is Black & White 400 and is designed to be printed on color paper.
Also, Ilford recommends that XP2 be printed on B&W paper.
the kodak tcn has a brownish tint to it that allows it to be printed on color paper. it should, of course, be printed on b&w paper for optimal results, but then again optimal would be a darkroom with conventional film, which you don't yet have.
question i forgot to ask: what type of metering system did you use for these shots?
I just used the TTL meter on my Rebel Ti, shooting some in Aperture Priority mode, and some in manual. I rated the film at ISO 320, just to experiment, based on some suggestions I had heard on another photography site.
I've been looking at spots, but haven't started actively putting money aside for one yet.
320 is what i recommend for that film as well. one thing to keep in mind; if you have a high contrast situation, rate it at 400. your lab develops the roll at 400 anyway, and while under rating it makes your shadows crisper, the over development will blow out your whites.
a spot would be a nice investment, but it really serves well when you can develop your own.