This photo was taken in Ceres last year about this time. I actually wrote down the date I processed the film, along with camera and lens info: Screw mount 28mm SMC Takumar on a modern Bessa SLR body using what has become my favorite B&W film — Ilford FP4+. I always develop my film within days of finishing the roll so this image is from the end of March last year.
Sure I like the early foliage of spring and the lush vegitation of high summer but I love photographing the ‘bones’ of the trees where all is revealed, especially on a sunny morning. FP4 has a wonderful tonal range and when developed in Diafine, yields negatives that are perfect for scanning.
I’ve been experimenting with a different post scanning workflow. I always scan 16 bit tiff files, then open in Picture Window Pro where I use curves to get the tonality and contrast where it needs to be. Then I convert the file to an 8 bit tiff and open it in Gimp for sharpening and final output.
Gimp can’t handle the 16 bit files essential for working with tonality and contrast but has better options for sharpening. I used ‘smart sharpening’ that uses layers and an edge mask combined with USM on this image. The process is a bit complex but can be automated using the Smart Sharpen (redux) GIMP plug-in.
The result of this (still new to me) workflow is a satisfying image with a full range of rich tones and textures, a workflow that helps realize the full potential of the Ilford FP4+. Enjoy.
Update (April 5, 2011): I posted a short tutorial showing how I worked with the tonal curve in this image.