Harvest in the Streets, Pushing Rollei Retro 400s to 1600 ( 11 Photos )

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The harvest makes its way to the streets of Anseong, South Korea.

These were shot on Rollei Retro 400s film which I pushed to ISO 1600 in the darkroom. Little did I know that this film doesn’t push well, at least not with the darkroom developer I nearly always use. I’ve heard that D76 isn’t the ideal developer for this film anyhow, but I find it fine to use, albeit yielding a little contrasty images, when I meter my shots at ISO 400. I do tend to get a ‘salty’ looking grain with Retro 400s as well, but I’m not sure why that happens even if I develop normally. If you know more about this particular film, I’d love to hear your comments. Anyhow, I guess I mistakenly assumed that most all 400 ISO black and white films could be pushed two or three stops. Films like Kodak Tri-X and Tmax 400 push particularly well, and are often shot at even ISO 3200. I’ve tried that out with some success, which reminds me that I should post some of those results. The pushed Retro 400s shots, however, might not be to everyone’s taste but I like them enough to share.

If I shoot Rollei Retro 400s  at ISO 400, I’ll develop it in D76 1:1 ratio with water, at 20 degrees Celsius, for 11 minutes. Not finding any information online about the development time when shot at ISO 1600, I took an educated guess and developed for about 20 minutes. Even then, the negatives came out pretty thin for most of the shots. Despite not working very well, I was pleased with the unique look of these photos. Most of them came out really contrasty – perfect for stark street photography. I can’t say for sure if I’ll try this again in the future since some of the photos were so under developed. Chances are, I’ll just load up and push some Tri-X the next time I go out to take some street photos.

I hope you’re enjoying my harvest series! I’ve been having fun putting it all together ^^ ©Patrick Bresnahan

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