How many rolls do you need to learn photography?

You know, I’m still dabbling in black and white film photography. And so I took the good old Leica M3 with me to the States, together with a few rolls of film (of which I used exactly one).
And I’m still struggling to get the look I want, i.e. more contrast. The film I used is Kodak TMax 100, together with a yellow filter.

And so the question of the day is: How many rolls of film did you need to get the look you wanted?

Mules on the way

Big Rock, Small People

Dead Wood

Just as a comparison, two shots I took at the same location, same day. One on film, the other on the M9 and then using a yellow filter in Silver Efx.
It illustrates quite well what I’m missing I think…


USA 2013 Vue 8


12 thoughts on “How many rolls do you need to learn photography?”

  1. Perhaps try an orange or red filter for more contrast but there will be a 2 stop reduction in light through the filter. It’s an endless game. I’ve been using Ilford HP5 recently.

      1. Der Effekt des Gelbfilter ist meistens recht subtil. Die Belichtung sollte sich bei einem normalen Gelbfilter um einen Stop verlängern. Die Silber Efex “Simulation” sieht dem Effekt eines dunkelroten Filters ähnlicher.

  2. Tmax 100 is rather flat. High contrast shoot tmax 400 or tri x at 800 and push develop 1 stop. Other than that you can adjust your contrast after you scan.

    1. thanks Derek.
      I like Tmax for its fine grain. I love TriX as well, but with its grainier structure I would need to shoot medium format. I still consider to do this one day, but I don’t have a camera (yet) 😉

  3. This is good, isn’t it?
    Do you develop your own film? If you do, try Kodak Tmax developer, it makes the T-max100 shine in all it’s glory!
    Then you always have to adjust the levels of the histogram when you are scanning, otherwise it will be really lousy contrast. But you know all that already, don’t you?
    The Tmax developer is also the cheapest, with around €16 for 1 litre = 5 litre stock solution = 60 rolls, not bad, huh?
    All the luck with it! 🙂

  4. One important thing to know is that you can get more contrast by developing longer and less contrast by developing shorter. But the very first thing is to find out the correct “normal” developing time. Best advice I can give is to read the standard literature – Bruce Barnbaum and Andreas Weidner are my favorites. If you are getting serious into film development you will find out that you have to accept compromises with 35mm film. For me the best compromise is a stand development in caffenol ( because you have all the tones and you can play around in Lightroom or Photoshop.
    In your picture above, you would have needed a red filter to darken the blue sky.

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